Heather...

Breast cancer survivor, Heather MattisonCan this be happening to me? At 29 years old, I was being told that I had breast cancer five days after finding out I was pregnant with my second child. I had never imagined that the lump that I found was cancer. Sure, I knew that it was possible, but at my age it was definitely a shock. Somehow I knew that I would be fine. Remembering that I had to beat cancer for my husband, my son, Sam, and our unborn baby was all the motivation I needed.

My concern was always more about my baby. The doctors assured me that I could be treated and still have a healthy baby, but it all sounded unbelievable. After my mastectomy, I had my first ultrasound and saw that the heart was still beating. We made it through the surgery. I had an ultrasound before starting chemotherapy to confirm I was in my second trimester, and then had another one after two treatments to make sure things were fine. The baby was healthy, strong and was a boy.

Throughout my treatments my family and friends gave me the will to fight. My son, Sam, gave me his medicine which was hugs and kisses. My husband assured me that my hair would grow back unlike his hair, and he was always there to take care of me. My mother, sister and mother-in-law helped around the house and helped with Sam. Friends called me their hero, others commented on my strength and my niece called me an inspiration. Throughout it all, my unborn baby boy continued to kick and grow. We were fighting cancer together.

The doctors had warned me that premature birth was a possibility due to the stress on my body, but after finishing my chemotherapy I thought that I was in the clear. To my surprise, six weeks before my due date my water broke. Charlie was born with all of his fingers, toes and the same amount of hair as me. The joy of his birth turned into fear as he was sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Watching them work on my tiny baby was harder than anything that I had been through during the cancer treatments. After 11 stressful days, he came home from the hospital, and we were very relieved. All of my reconstruction and hormone treatments started about three months after his birth, which was almost a year after my diagnosis. I was a working mother of two who was balancing life along with surgeries, and hormone treatment.

Today it has been five years since my diagnosis, and Charlie is now 4-and-a-half years old. My whole family is healthy, and I am very thankful. Sometimes I look at Charlie and think about the miracle that we both were blessed with. My family, friends and God gave me the hope and strength to stay positive while beating cancer and being pregnant. This story is dedicated to them.

Heather Mattison

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