Treatments to date (in Megan’s own words)

It all started when I had a fall back at a track and field event in early 2006. I fell during the 200m (how sad), and busted up my ribs. Months later it still didn’t seem to be healing properly, and I even started standing funny with my stomach kind of sticking out. My mom insisted that I get it checked out, so we started visiting numerous walk-in clinics. I’d had a couple other minor issues going on as well, but I assumed they were just everyday teenage fluctuating hormones. All the walk-in clinics were stumped as to what was wrong with me, until my mom recommended that I get some routine blood work to at least get some answers.

Turns out my hormones were way out of whack, and they referred me to an endocrinology clinic at BCCH, but that wasn’t for months. One call from my GP and we were off for a second opinion. He took one feel of my abdomen, and ordered a CT scan ASAP. Turns out, it wasn’t just my ribs, but instead a crapload of cancer. By the time they’d found it, it was Stage IV, with a tumor taking up around 3/4 of my abdomen and tumors in my liver and lungs as well.

Basically, I was a walking time bomb, and I wasn’t expected to make it through. My life instantly turned into medical world, – a biopsy was performed that week, along with a central line insertion and treatments. Turns out I have Adrenalcortical Carcinoma, an uber rare type of Adrenal cancer that around 1 in 5 million people get at my age. Whoopee, I’d won the crappy lottery. They also knew little to nothing about my type of cancer, and could only really guess if the treatments were going to work or not.

Battle #1:
From there I received VERY aggressive treatments (around 8 rounds of the big gun chemotherapies), oral chemotherapies, 6 weeks of radiation, 3 surgeries, and used  natural therapies as well. I went through possibly every complication you could think of, and fluctuated in weight from around 165 lbs (at my heaviest) to 85 lbs (at my lightest).Turns out, I finally kicked cancers ass, and the scans showed I had no residual disease.

Battle #2:
I went back to a semi-normal life until my next checkup… Unfortunately it was back, this time in my chest. During vacation the tumor had tripled in size (in a week!), and was now putting pressure on my windpipe, causing breathing problems. Again my life went straight back into medical world. I had come back to do a CT scan, and another 5 weeks of radiation was started the same day as the scan, along with more chemotherapy and natural treatments. I had another surgery, and another 6 rounds of chemo. Again I kicked cancers ass, and my scans showed I’d gotten it all…

Battle #3:
Until my next checkup, where they found more back in my abdomen. Back to more chemotherapy, more aggressive natural treatments, another 2 major abdominal surgeries (including a really tricky one with a kidney removal, lower rib removal, and aortic graft)… I nipped cancer in the butt yet again, and this time had a good feeling about it (confident enough to get a surgery to remove my central line).

I went for almost a year of awesome cancer-freeness (where I was on natural therapies as a preventative measure), until another scan showed it was back again… This time under my left armpit, and back in that stubborn spot in my abdomen (I tell ya, this cancer just doesn’t give up). This time the doctors told me that this cancer was quite stubborn, and that I had some decision making to do (aka the “quality of life” vs. “quantity of life” speech). Screw that! I wasn’t nearly done yet. I said no to surgery, and went ahead with the usual chemotherapy/natural treatment options. I also had another 6 1/2 weeks of radiation to the spot under my arm. My next scan was a big blow, and showed that it had migrated back into my liver again. Basically, I am at the stage where I will try anything and everything to get rid of this disease once and for all (as it seems to like me so much that it keeps coming back… It’s like an uber unhealthy relationship).

Long story short, these past almost 4 years have been anything but easy. The treatments have left me with numerous organ issues, and I deal with the complications every day. But you know what, I’m alive, and have a good feeling about my future. I’ve beaten this thing 4 times, I most definitely can do it again. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster, but eventually I’ll get off this ride. I obviously haven’t learned all that I need to quite yet, and when I do, I’ll be cancer free and doing a happy dance like there’s no tomorrow! That’s why I believe this song is so important. It doesn’t matter what your odds are, I believe as long as you have “the will to survive”, you can beat it no matter how low your chances may be. Cancer is pretty tough, but I like to think that the mind is 10 times more powerful.