Any mother will tell you that having your first child is exciting and scary. I know that was true for me. Finally meeting my daughter, Lily, was indescribably wonderful, but the weeks after her birth still make me shudder. Yet those days were scary not because of a mom’s normal worries about her baby’s health, although such concerns certainly kept me awake when I was pregnant. Those days were frightening because of what happened to me, not Lily.
Lily was born healthy and happy on August 4, 2005. Like other moms, I was far more concerned with her welfare than my own. At first, things were much better than I expected. My worry that I would not lose my pregnancy weight proved completely unfounded. I dropped the pounds quickly, but I was not concerned about it, nor was my doctor. Between the two of us, we figured that eating well and breastfeeding Lily accounted for the rapid weight loss. Sure, some days I was unbelievably tired, but is there a new mom who isn’t? The fact that I went back to work after four weeks probably didn’t help either, or so I thought.
It was not long afterward that I began to sense something was wrong. I was tired all the time, and I came down with a fever every night. My chest felt very heavy, but I put off visiting the doctor, thinking that I would just get over it.
My life changed forever in November of 2005. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was doing a load of laundry and felt more fatigued than I had ever felt before. I was also short of breath going up and down the stairs, and I had to stop occasionally to rest while making those trips. Finally, I sat on couch while Lily was in her swing. I thought I would feel better if I could close my eyes for a few minutes. Those few minutes turned into two hours, and I knew I couldn’t avoid the tiredness and fevers any longer.
On November 21, 2005, my doctor told me why I was so exhausted and weak. “You have cancer,” he said.
Things got worse when I discovered the type of cancer I had — mesothelioma, an extremely rare cancer that affects the lining of the body’s organs. My prognosis wasn’t good, for 90–95 percent of those diagnosed with mesothelioma do not survive.
My fight began on November 21, 2005. Today, six years later, I have beat the odds and am cancer free.
Since that day, I have been driven to help others who are also fighting mesothelioma. I do this through my blog which contains my detailed account of being diagnosed with mesothelioma, fighting cancer, and the sacrifices my friends, my family and I have made along the way. I hope you will find it helpful and inspiring if you or someone you love is battling this disease. Together, we can make a stand against mesothelioma.