Hi! I’m Meg and Cancer has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
In 1989, my mother, then in her early 40’s, was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. It was October. I was 5 and I was sent to live with my grandmother in Detroit.
A Florida girl born and raised, this was my first foray into fall and I was living for it. I dressed up as a cat complete with eye-liner whiskers and pretty much had not a care in the world.
All the while, my mother was undergoing life-threatening surgery to remove a tumor in her left lobe. Anticipating full paralysis on the left side, she was simply grateful to have the opportunity for some semblance of health again and to stay here on Earth….with me.
And so she did. Beat lung cancer, no paralysis, just the physical and emotional scar that cancer brings with it.
Problem is, we were never the same. She always had the cancer cloud looming over her head and I now knew that people could die. That things could change, that bad things could happen, that my life, my 5-year-old life, was as fragile as bubble…just waiting to POP.
In 2006 my mother died after a long battle with another cancer. The cloud continued to loom over her, and the years in between this diagnosis and the others (she also had a small breast cancer in her 50’s) were marred with waiting and wondering and wishing.
Now, I too am a cancer survivor. At 28 weeks pregnant, I noticed a small dimple on my left breast. 48 whirlwind hours later I was informed of my cancer while boarding a plane to head to my baby shower. I do not remember that flight. For 2.5 hours, I soared above the world and I experienced a grieving that resembled nothing but the gut-sinking feeling of losing my mom.
Picture the montage: diagnosed with breast cancer, testing, lumpectomy at 32 weeks, testing, inducing the birth of Baby Zack at 37 weeks, happy and healthy. 4 weeks of hormone-clouded maternal bliss and sleeplessness followed by 4 weeks of fertility treatments resulting in 8 now-frozen science babies, courtesy of me and my husband. And no, it isn’t easy to harvest eggs 4 weeks after just having a baby. We aren’t really built for that. Next step, chemo for 3 months then radiation.
On June 4th, 2019 I was told that there is no evidence of disease. More importantly, my oncologist said, “You are okay.” These were the 3 most powerful words spoken in that office that day.
For those of us whose lives have been touched by cancer, these things we know for sure:
- It’s a family disease. It effects each part of the family’s ecosystem and it takes focused work and attention to get through to the other side.
- Helping others helps. Sharing my voice, my story, my frustrations and my victories not only provides strength to others but, even more importantly, it gives meaning to my pain and fear.
Momsurvives.com is this idea come to life – cancer is bigger than each of us individually and even my story matters. Thank you for taking a peek and I hope you can feel my hope.