At the age of 14 I never thought I'd have to ever face what I would. I was a fun loving teenager playing competitive soccer, had tons of friends and loving life..... December 14th 1998 changed my life forever.
December of 1998 I couldn't get over being sick, I'd gone to the doctor 4 times and they had sent me home with various viruses and infections and of course the medicine to treat these. By the 5th time it was pretty apparent that it wasn't a virus or an infection, or if it was it was something nasty! I finally got in to see a real doctor (not a PA) and after poking at me for about 10 minutes he decided that he needed to take some x-rays to see what was going on in my lungs because they sounded pretty bad. I went back and had a few s-rays taken of my neck and then my chest...... I had no idea what was going on. About 45 minutes passes and the doctor came in and asked my sister (who had taken me to the doctor) to call and get my parents there as fast as possible. At this point I still didn't think anything was too wrong, I've since learned that anytime a doctor asks to have anyone called in it's not a good thing.
My parents showed up about half hour later and the doctor asked them to go into his office with me, he put the x-rays up on the light board and started to point out a bunch of big white things in my neck and chest. He kept saying something about Hodgkin's Disease, I of course had NO idea what the hell this Disease is but I knew it wasn't good. As soon as we left the doctors office I was full of questions to my parents. I knew I was going straight to the hospital for more tests but I still had no idea why. The next 48 hours were a blur, they were full of CT Scans, Gallium Scans, X-Rays, Ultra Sounds and Biopsy's. On December 14th, 1998 I found out that I had Cancer. My first thought was "how the hell do I have cancer? It's what old people get, not teenagers".
Trying to explain to a bunch of junior high kids that I had Cancer but that I'm going to be ok was pretty much impossible. They had to pull me out of school due to my immune system and it just seemed like none of my "friends" even cared. It was like they were too scared of getting it, or too scared of me dieing. That alone was devastating. I wanted them to support me so bad, I wanted them to come visit me at the hospital, I wanted them to call and see if I was ok, but they didn't know how to. On December 18th I had my first Chemo Therapy Session. I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that I would be getting 4 different drugs and that it would take about 8-10 hours to get all the medicine I needed and I'd probably go bald and get sick. Fun stuff huh? Well they weren't lieing at all. I got to the doctors about 7:30am and got my freshly inserted port accessed and the meds pumping. I knew I hated this already. I didn't want to be there. I wanted to be with my friends more than anything....but I couldn't. At this point my attitude sucked, my parents were trying everything they could to make it positive, my doctor was amazing and cute, so were my nurses but something inside of me just hated everything about it. I thought it had ruined my life forever.
About 2 months into the treatment somehow my attitude changed totally. My mom is a high school teacher and all of these "older, cooler" high school kids had totally adopted me as their best friends and were determined to make me happy. I would come home from Chemo and my bedroom would be full of pictures and posters and stuff hanging from my ceiling. I had a full wall that they created that they named "Meg's happy wall". My parents are beyond amazing, my mom had a theory that every day we had to do something to laugh, she didn't care what it was but we had to! I think still to this day my mom can recite lines from the movie "Dumb and Dumber", for some reason that movie made me laugh so she'd sit and watch it with me over and over.
I walked into my doctors office one day for Chemo, I put out my arm out and said "I'm ready" Something kicked in. I was ready to fight this, I knew it was going to be a bitch but I wanted to get over it and live life! I wanted to be a Survivor, I wasn't going to let this win!
After 8 months of Chemo it was time for Radiation. I had heard it was a breeze compared to Chemo so I wasn't too worried. I went through 2 months going every day of Radiation and then it was the moment of truth! It was time for the final scans and check up. It came back clean!!! My doctor had warned me not to get my hopes up in case I needed more treatments but it was GONE! The thought of only having to go to the doctor once a month was a dream come true! I didn't have to puke my guts out for 4 days every other week, my hair could start growing back that I'd lost. Life was good! We celebrated like crazy!
Chemo was over, life was supposed be getting back to normal...but it wasn't. I attempted to go back to school but had a few problems. My immune system had been so damaged by the Chemo I wasn't able to go anywhere without getting everything everyone around me had. Finally that all got worked out and life was supposed to go on. Anyone that has had cancer knows about the emotions you go through. I felt so lucky, but at the same time I was so upset for having to be so sick..... I didn't know how to feel!
Since then I've been lucky enough to only have a few scares and just have my thyroid fail. I look back at everything that happened and it still amazes me and scares me, it makes me proud to be a survivor but makes me ache for those who have lost family members due to this.
Right before my 10 year anniversary of being cancer free I decided it was time to get a tattoo that would forever remind me of the awesome thing it is to be a survivor.