On August 4, 2005, my first and only daughter came into the world. Less than four months later, my life turned upside down as I began fighting for my life against a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs. Around 30 years before, I had been unknowinglyexposed to asbestos, and suddenly, I was battling just to live long enough to raise my baby girl.
There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to rely on others. This was my time. Because the prognosis was so grim, my husband and I decided to choose the most aggressive treatment available. We flew to Boston where I would have my left lung removed in a procedure called anextrapleural pneumonectomy, while our daughter went to stay with my parents, who would care for her during my recuperation at the hospital.
During the days that followed, many people from my past surrounded my parents and Lily to care for and comfort them. Girls I had babysat when I was a teenager now came to watch Lily while my parents worked. Friends from church and other places in town helped in a myriad of ways.
In Boston, new acquaintances surrounded me with support. My mother would send photos of Lily’s development to my husband via email. He then printed them and brought them to me. The nurses would gather around my bed to “ooh” and “ah” over my little girl as we all blinked back the tears. I watched my baby learn to eat solid food and begin to scoot around on her own through those grainy black-and-white pictures. Even though I knew she was in the best hands possible, I missed her very much.
Now that I am reunited with my family and victorious in my fight against cancer, I can see how much good came of that fight. Lily developed a lasting bond with her grandparents. I developed a deeper appreciation for life. No matter what life brings me now, I know to embrace it fully. If something good can come of cancer, something good can come of anything.