“With Hope, the Odds Don’t Matter”: Heather’s Story of Thriving After Cancer


May 11, 2015 by Dr. Sana Keller

Meet Heather

Heather Von St. James: A wife, a mother, a daughter, and, along with many IMG_0060additional roles, an absolutely beautiful and thriving 9-year cancer survivor! Her story is inspiring and needs to be heard. It serves as a powerful reminder that one’s attitude, determination, hope, grit and courage can play major roles in long-term outcomes. I’ve only met Heather “virtually” at this point, after she reached out to connect with me after reading my blog, yet I look forward to meeting her in person in the future so that I can give her a big hug and experience her positive energy and joy first-hand.

Rose-colored Glasses

Heather hasn’t allowed a dismal disease-related prognosis to rob her of hope of surviving mesothelioma, a rare cancer where cancer cells form within the lining of the chest, abdomen or around the heart. Her sweet daughter, Lily, was only 3 months old when Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which came with a 15-month life expectancy. As she explains in her short video, living from a place of hope and living in the moment have been her “MO” (mode of operation). Oh, and keeping her rose-colored glasses on!  Heather continues to inspire many with her message that there is more hope now than there ever was before.

 rose glasses

National Women’s Health Week

May 10-16 is National Women’s Health Week, the perfect time for a post such as this, to reinforce the importance of building healthy lifestyle habits into our daily lives NOW…whether young, old or somewhere in between…whether pretty darn healthy (at least on the outside!) or going through a major health challenge…or whether you feel like you have time to do so or not.                                 nwhw

Our health is so precious–and sadly, it doesn’t “just happen” on its own. Granted, we may be able to skim by for a few years or so–eating what we want, telling ourselves we will exercise later, skimping on sleep and ignoring the signs of stress–but it does catch up with us–and the cost (both physically and financially) of trying to regain health once it is compromised can be overwhelming. Consider this your gentle reminder that IT’S TIME NOW to focus on YOUR health! 🙂

Familiar Excuses–We All Have Them!

Yeah, but…my life is already packed full–I don’t have time for my health!how do I know what to do to protect my health?it’s so hard to keep with an exercise or healthy eating planinsert your challenge here–we all have them!

I get it–focusing on our health sounds great, yet when?how?what?

Even you (yes, you!) can become proactive in maintaining your health by building simple healthy lifestyle measures into your daily routine. Small changes can lead to big (positive) results. A key part in the process is effective habit-formation…which involves more than just sticking to a new regime for 21 days. This is where health coaching can make a positive, long-term difference.

Enter Health Coaching

As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach, I observe the current situation from a holistic viewpoint, offer course corrections and evidence-backed suggestions, focusing on mindset and effective habit-building. Each of us are at different points in our health journey, making personalized coaching an effective tool.

As a Cancer Survivor Coach I work with each client individually, empowering them with effective measures to minimize cancer recurrence and manage the effects of cancer treatment. Equipping clients with evidence-backed recommendations tailored to their specific needs can play a major role in reducing fears and increasing hope.

A Glimpse of My Proactive Healthy Lifestyle

Part of my personal proactive routine for maintaining my health and the health of my family includes making most of our meals with real (fresh) food and, when we do eat out, choosing healthier restaurant options that start with real (fresh) food and actually prepare it from scratch (as opposed to the abundance of eating-out options that offer processed, pre-made foods ready to be warmed in a microwave or on the grill before serving).

I work on incorporating as many veggies into our meals as possible…but only greatpancakes tasting veggie dishes like Curried Sweet Potato Pancakes (I omit the brown sugar and use coconut oil in place of peanut oil) and Roasted Cauliflower. No mushy, boring veggies at our house! Seriously, it’s not hard to make great tasting vegetable dishes. Check out my Veggie Ideas Pinterest page for more simple ideas.


I have also incorporated HIIT routines into my workouts 2 to 3 times a week. A most-efficient, very effective workout! And Yoga! I look forward to my yoga time each week! Click here to check out some (23) of the reasons I make it a part of my weekly routine.

Thank you, Heather, for allowing me to share your story of hope and courage. May yourose continue to bring awareness and inspiration to thousands more who need to hear your story…and never take your rose-colored glasses off.

To Your Ever-Improving Health,

Sana Keller, PhD, RN, CNC        Health Unlimited LLC

Photo credits: huffingtonpost.co.uk, womenshealth.gov, cavsconnect.com, thehunt.com

One thought on ““With Hope, the Odds Don’t Matter”: Heather’s Story of Thriving After Cancer

  1. gmees says:

    the importance of support from the environment or people nearby is very important to cure someone other than the physician also plays an important role also for the healing of a person … therefore we should often holding of socialization or counseling about the dangers of asbestos for health for all of us … thank you very much previous


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