It’s a well-known fact that life isn’t always going to be easy. There are going to be curve balls, roadblocks, speed bumps and the like that will throw us off course, knock us down, and make us feel like we are a complete and total failure, or that there is no light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
It’s bound to happen. The good news is, though, that you don’t have to walk alone in this journey.
When we are young, we tend to have a love/hate relationship with our best girlfriends. I giggle when my daughter, 11 years old, tells me she and her best friend are fighting. She’ll tell me that she doesn’t know why her friend is being so mean, or why her friend isn’t speaking to her anymore.
My response? “Give it a week. You’ll be friends again.”
Sure enough, they are inseparable again within a day or so, with no recollection as to why they were fighting in the first place. Truth is, I don’t know who they would be without one another.
Even at a young age, our friends help define us. They hold us up, they stand their ground when other kids pick a fight or poke fun, they agree when we say we are having a bad hair day but love us anyway. Friends are the family we get to choose, and when you find a good one, you better never let go.
My daughter’s best friend has been her rock when Marley’s world was falling down around her. Through the struggles of being a child of divorced parents, Marley has had to lean on her best friend a lot, and I’m so thankful she has one to lean on.
When I was 19 years old, my whole world crashed down around me when my father died unexpectedly. I am very blessed to have a strong support system who swooped in and surrounded both myself and my mother with complete and total sacrificial love and support, even for months and years afterward. Losing my father crushed me, and even with a great support system, I still allowed myself to go to a very dark place. But thankfully, I had a reason to come back – I knew I had people counting on me, depending on me, and loving me.
I can honestly say that my friends and family saved my life.
Do you have a lifesaver?
I want to introduce you to someone today who knows exactly what it means to have a lifesaver. Meet Heather and her awesome family. She’s here today to show you how important it is to have a support system, and how it can truly save your life.
My Cancer and LilyTo anyone who asks about my cancer, my 7-year-old daughter, without hesitation, explains that she saved my life. Most people may dismiss her declaration as a childhood fantasy however, I can testify to her importance in my battle with cancer.
After seven years of marriage, my husband Cameron and I started to think about having children. I was apprehensive because I was 35. However, after three months of trying, we felt so blessed to learn we were pregnant! Cameron and I would be parents! Of course, as a first time mother, I was nervous, happy and surprised all at the same time. What kind of mother would I be? All I knew was that I wanted to be a good mother.
My pregnancy was blissfully uneventful. Yet, at delivery, I had to undergo an emergency C-section because Lily was breech. Despite the delivery, I was overwhelmed by the wave of emotion I felt when I first held her. In one moment, she became the most important part of my life. Everything seemed so wondrous and joyous as I soaked up every detail of her. I had no idea what lurked around the corner.
When Lily was just 3-months-old, the earth fell beneath my feet with the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. I had cancer. I was told I needed to begin treatment right away or I may not have more than fifteen months to live. My husband listened to the doctor while I was utterly shocked by the thought of leaving behind Cameron and Lily. As I sat stunned, Cameron decided to seek the most aggressive treatment possible. We went to Boston to consult with one of the best mesothelioma doctorsin the world. I underwent a drastic surgery that removed my left lung as well as the linings of my diaphragm and my heart.
After eighteen days in the hospital and two weeks in an outpatient facility in Boston, I spent another 2 months in recovery at my parents’ house in South Dakota. Then, I endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments back home in Minnesota. Although I missed out on Lily’s 6-month birthday, I fought hard to be sure I could be there for her for many years to come. Knowing she needed me, gave me the strength to face a life-threatening procedure and treatments. Mesothelioma kills nearly 95 percent of those diagnosed. I beat the odds by concentrating on Lily, who did, indeed, save my life.
Heather Von St. James is a 44-year old mom to a quirkly little 7-year-old, Lily. She is Heather’s only child and her whole world. Her journey with cancer was terrifying and she would like to turn her pain into purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like her own. You can connect with Heather through her blog, on Facebook and Twitter.
Who do you have in your support system? Do they know how much you depend on them?
A sweet word from a dear friend can really boost their confidence! Spread the love!
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. see you next week!