STORY OF HOPE: Heather Lawhorn

Breast cancer survivor Heather Lawhorn started her PartyLite business this year, is a Consultant in the Can’t Snuff This!! Region and lives in Harbor Beach, Michigan. She shares her story during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

At age 34, I was diagnosed with stage 4 multi-invasive intraductal carcinoma – a form of breast cancer. I wasn’t the typical case that doctors normal see. Cancer hadn’t run in my family on either side. I was younger than most had seen and the kicker to it all was I was 5 months pregnant.

At that point, my case became crucial not only for me, but my baby as well. After seeing doctor after doctor and doctor after doctor, someone would finally take me to treat. Most doctors wanted me to deliver and receive treatment.

I opted NOT to deliver. I started treatments with baby in utero while I was 7 months pregnant. I delivered my baby early anyway after having to be induced. He became breech and they had to do an immediate C-section. The doctors prepped me for the surgery. It seemed like it was only a matter of seconds before I remember them pushing with a scalpel on my stomach and myself waking up to the doctors telling me I had a baby boy and he was in the NICU! He was having some difficulties breathing and holding his temperature up. We stayed in the hospital 11 days.

I was able to go home with him after 12 days. I had a break from treatments, but doctor visits then resumed. I had the month of May off. In June, treatments began all over. I had to make the 225-mile trip one way to get treatment. It took me about 2 1/2 hours to get my medicine and then drive home.

In July, my then husband filed for a divorce from a marriage of then 9 years. I moved myself and the three kids back home to my parents’ house. I finished my chemo treatment in September and then surgery was scheduled for October. I opted for a lumpectomy with double reconstructive surgery at that time.

Doctors felt good about everything. I was healing well from the C-section. I was managing treatments fairly well. The surgeons were confident I had enough strength to handle surgery.

So for Halloween of 2012, I got new boobs! After almost a year of appointments and doctor visits, I felt like I was out of the woods. Then doctors felt I needed to proceed with 8 weeks of radiation 5-6 days a week. Radiation started in December.

Almost a whole year later and I was still contending with it all. I was developing cysts, and other issues. The doctor took biopsies that were questionable. I made the choice to have a complete hysterectomy in July 2013.

I am almost to three full years as a survivor. I have a unique story. Each and every patient that you come across has a unique story. I only hope that my story will help someone else win the fight. Thank you for your time.

Since 1997, the PartyLite family of Consultants, Customers and employees has raised nearly $15 million for the American Cancer Society through personal donations, our Change the World™ program where everyone can “round up” their sales total to the nearest penny or up to $10, and through the sale of our GloStrong™ by PartyLite Scented Jar Candle where a portion of each sale is donated to the American Cancer Society. Thank you for participating and donating through any of these convenient methods.