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Monday, February 4, 2013

Cancer has hit too close to home for many of us. I was recently contacted by a "courageous Mother, Wife, and Survivor of Mesothelioma" who is trying to spread awareness and connect with others who may use her journey as an inspiration. Follow her blog, The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog, at

Meanwhile, here is a glimpse into Heather's journey:

My Battle Against Cancer

The day I found out I had cancer, the world came to a screeching halt. I had just given birth to my daughter Lily three and a half months before, but it seems like I never recovered. I went back to work only a month after Lily was born, but I was still so lethargic and was losing an extreme amount of weight (5-7 lbs a week!) and it was hard to cope. I hoped maybe it was hormonal, but I felt like something was very wrong. The doctor took it seriously and ran a few tests. On that fateful day in November 2005, when he said the words “mesothelioma,” I couldn’t breathe. I knew it was cancer. I had cancer at 36 years old, and just 3 ½ months after the birth of my baby girl.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a kind of cancer in the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is most typically caused by exposure to asbestos. We eventually found out that I had been exposed to asbestos when I was a child.  If I refused treatment, he said, I had just fifteen months to live. That meant that my husband and I could not raise Lily together and I’d miss her kindergarten graduation and first dance and tears and laughter and love and … everything. Worse, she would miss having a mother and never know me, and my heart broke thinking of my husband as a single parent. I had to be strong for him and for Lily, and beat this cancer back and stay here with them.

My doctor laid out all kinds of treatment options from conservative to aggressive. It hardly took my husband more than a second to say “get us to Boston” which is where the most aggressive form of treatment would have to happen. My husband and I left Lily behind with my mom(who flew home with Lily to their house in South Dakota) and flew to Boston-my surgery was on Feb 2, 2006.  I underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery with one of the best mesothelioma doctors in the country. This surgery meant the removal of my entire left lung and all of the surrounding tissue. I spent 18 days in the hospital recovering from surgery, and another 2 months after that recovering more before going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

It was so hard to leave my baby during that time. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it, except that I had the love of my husband to lean on and the knowledge that I had to keep fighting. I was just so glad that she was in the best hands possible with my parents. Knowing that she was safe with them made it a lot easier for me to cope. I missed Lily so much, but because of my family’s support, I am able to hug her now and that makes every day more special than I could ever have imagined.

I am happy to say that as a family, we made it through this whole ordeal. I am now cancer free and I go back to Boston every 6 months for new scans. My cancer was bad--but along with it came a lot of good. We as a family now embrace everything that life throws our way-good or bad.

Heather and Family-Husband, Cameron and Daughter, Lily Rose

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

I had some extra time in the kitchen today and since we got invited to a Super Bowl/ joint birthday party this Sunday, I figured I would do some Super Bowl cookies. I really liked the cookies featured on the Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle--so cute

Here's what I came up with (the b-day boys will be 11 and 2)

HAPPY SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!   GO RAVENS! (I guess....I just liked The Blind Side; I know absolutely nothing about football-Ha!)