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I was given just 15 months to live.

This is my story. Watch now.

 

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Timeline

Wedding to CamWedding to Cam

Wedding to Cam

April 1999
Pregnant with LilyPregnant with Lily

Pregnant with Lily

Summer 2005
Lily's BirthLily's Birth

Lily's Birth

August 2005
DiagnosisDiagnosis

Diagnosis

November 21, 2005
SurgerySurgery

Surgery

February 2, 2006
RecoveryRecovery

Recovery

2006
Lung Leavin' DayLung Leavin Day 2008

Lung Leavin' Day

February 2, 2008
Lung Leavin' DayLung Leavin Day 2009

Lung Leavin' Day

February 2, 2009
Lung Leavin' DayLung Leavin Day 2010

Lung Leavin' Day

February 2, 2010
Meso Awareness DayDay

Meso Awareness Day

September 26, 2011
Tattoo!Tattoo

Tattoo

October 2011
Lung Leavin' DayLung Leavin Day 2012

Lung Leavin' Day

February 2, 2012
ADAO ConferenceDay

ADAO Conference

March 2012
Reuters InterviewReuters Interview

Reuters Interview

May 2012
MARF SymposiumMARF Symposium

MARF Symposium

July 2012
Meso Awareness DayMeso Awareness Day

Meso Awareness Day

September 2012
Visit with Dr. SugarbakerDr. Sugarbaker

Visit with Dr. Sugarbaker

October 2012
Lung Leavin' Day 2013Lung Leavin' Day 2013

Lung Leavin' Day

February 2, 2013
MARF SymposiumMARF 2013

MARF Symposium

March 2013
ADAO ConferenceADAO Conference

ADAO Conference

ADAO 2013

My Bio

Heather's Family In 2005, at the age of 36, and only three months after giving birth to my beautiful daughter Lily Rose, I was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Upon learning of this life-altering diagnosis, my husband Cameron and I embarked upon a search to find the best mesothelioma treatment care available. Our search eventually led us to Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned mesothelioma surgeon at the Boston based Brigham and Women's hospital.
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My Blog
  • My Decade of Survivorship

    <img class="floatright" alt="Heather Von St. James" src="/images/blog/posts/hvsj_10years.jpg?maxwidth=150&amp;maxheight=150" /><p>Today is a day I was never meant to live, this year was one I wasn’t supposed to see, this life is one I wasn’t supposed to have.</p><p>No one ever prepares you to fight for your life. When your reality becomes just that, learning that your existence is not guaranteed, your world becomes something you could have never imagined. I always wanted to be a mother, and after marrying the most amazing man, I was ready to be a parent. We would be a new family. I would become a mother, and find a new kind of unconditional love. After giving birth to our daughter, I was overjoyed. That joy suddenly faded after losing weight and strength in my body, feeling that I could not physically breathe. I was concerned, but attributed the weight loss to my recent pregnancy. Finally feeling that something more was actually to blame, I saw a doctor, and was told I had mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. I was given 15 months to live. That was 10 years ago. Throughout the last ten years I have devoted my life to spreading awareness of the dangers of asbestos, sharing hope, and supporting others on their path towards a cancer-free life.</p> ...

  • Breathing New Life Into Lung Leavin' Day

    <img class="floatright" alt="Lung Leavin' Day 2015" src="/images/blog/posts/LLD2015_4.jpg?maxwidth=150&amp;maxheight=150" /><p>Every year following Lung Leavin’ Day, I write a recap of the evening. This year I wanted to do something a little different. I know the event has a huge effect on people, and in the last couple of years people have shared their feelings about the night with me. I thought I would ask a few friends about their thoughts on the tradition and share them with you.</p> ...

  • Reflecting on the "Firsts" of 2014

    <img class="floatright" alt="Von St. James family golfing" src="/images/blog/posts/HVSJ-Golf.jpg?maxwidth=150&amp;maxheight=150" /><p>As a society, we put a huge emphasis on our children’s “firsts”: baby’s first tooth, baby’s first steps. The first birthday, the first day of school. Oh my, how I remember that day with Lily! So many of her firsts were milestones simply for the fact that I was not supposed to be alive to see them. I treasured each of those firsts, and marked the occasions with pictures and videos. I even still have her first tooth somewhere.</p> ...

  • The Importance of Support for Cancer Patients

    <p>When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, I felt more isolated than I ever had in my life.. I was a mere 36 years young and told I had an incredibly rare cancer that, in most cases, was diagnosed in much older men. I felt utterly alone and defeated.</p> ...