Getting to Massachusetts

Before I tell you about my experience at Dana Farber and Brigham and Women’s you should hear about my terrible experience getting there. Don’t worry folks my story gets a bit more positive but I think it’s important to share the negative so that maybe others can do something to avoid it happening to them.

Let’s go back to Jupiter Medical Center for a minute. My OBGYN doctors insisted I should stay there. A friend and my former Nurse Practitioner (when I lived in Massachusetts) made some calls and got me into one of the best cancer facilities in the world, Dana Farber with one of the best gynecological oncologists, The director of Gynecological Oncology, Dr. Berkowitz. Immediately my mother started making calls to get me on a plane and up to Boston. This was an acute situation and I needed to start treatment immediately if there was any hope I would survive. My mother called Delta and spent (I kid you not) about six hours trying to get us a ticket. She told them it was a medical emergency, that I needed to get to Boston immediately and that I couldn’t have a layover. After hours of arguing and pleading she became understandably frustrated. This is when the man on the phone told her, in a heavy foreign accent, “Calm down mam why don’t you have a drink of water”. How could she calm down, what would a drink of water do for her, her daughter was lying in a hospital room dying! Her first born, vibrant 28 year old daughter had advanced cancer and kidney failure and her only hope lay in a hospital thousands of miles away! She needed someone to help her but all she got was a man in a foreign country telling her to calm down there was nothing he could do.

My mother was finally able to get us a flight but not a direct one. Even though I had to be highly drugged(Dilauded), wheeled in a chair and receive several blood transfusions prior to flying they couldn’t find me a direct flight! Keep in mind nothing was done to improve my health while I lay in bed for a week at Jupiter Medical Center. I still had hydronephrosis and atrophy in my kidneys and a huge tumor. The pain was excruciation even with the IV pain medication. Now I was going to have to be taken off the IV and take pills. The doctors told me that being taken off the IV pain medication and put on oral pain medication would mean the pain would increase but I had no other choice.

The next morning, after the blood transfusions, my very dear friend and my mother drove me to the airport. Specifically we went to Palm Beach International. My friend was driving and she pulled up to the curb to let us out. A wheel chair was requested as I could not walk. Mostly I remember the pain, it was beyond description but I knew my only hope required I endure it. As my friend was trying to say good bye she was screamed at by one of the officers who directs traffic. “Move, Move, Move” They had given us maybe a minute to get out of the car, get a wheel chair and our small amount of luggage. We couldn’t move fast enough. No goodbyes, no moving slowly! I understand and respect that after 911 there are safety measures that need to be taken but this was beyond what was necessary. My poor friend was crying, who knows this could be the last time she will see me. They wouldn’t even let her say goodbye, it was heartbreaking for both her and I.

My mother checked our bags and started wheeling me through the airport. We got to security and as we were trying to go through one of the security guards noticed there was a bottle of water in our carry on bag, I believe that my friend was trying to be helpful and put some treats and water in our bag for the trip. This security guard completely freaked out!! They pulled my mother to the side to search her and then they started to search me. I could barely see and certainly couldn’t stand. My poor mom was in tears trying to explain the situation but they wouldn’t let her talk. The woman began searching me. I had to stand. She patted me down which caused me horrible, horrible pain. In front of all the other people the woman searched me, patted me down. All the time I couldn’t see my mother and had no idea where she was. Again, I understand the security issue after 911 but this was a bit much and a moment in my life I will never forget!

After the security felt I was not a risk they allowed me and my mother to go on the plane, without the water. I don’t remember very much from the flight. However, I do remember when we got off the plane and the pilot asked what was wrong. When my mother told him he said, “You should have told the Delta representatives this was a medical emergency this young girl should not have to deal with a lay over” My mother then told him about how she had and how she was treated. This pilot then said, “Sometimes I am embarrassed to say who I work for and this is one of those times”.

I think I will leave you with that quote!

Power Bodies Workout...OUCH!

My boyfriend is a personal trainer and has a studio where he does his training, Powerbodies Today he started training me and OMG was it painful. It was also a rude awakening that this Cancer kicked my ass ! For the past year and a half I haven't been able to do much of anything. On the good days I am excited that I am able to drive and walk around. While I was in the hospital I had shots in my stomach and legs to prevent blood clots from lack of any type of exercise. Not only did the cancer cause me to lose fat it also took all my muscle! I had suffered from muscle atrophy and probably still do. I use to be a competitive dancer. Dance was a huge part of my life and I have to admit it gave me some great legs. No more great legs though just weak ones. But today is the first day of getting my muscles back. It is going to be a long journey but a great one!

Finally I go to the Emergency Room.....

February 2007 I arrived at Jupiter Medical Center around 5 pm. Needless to say when I got there I was in horrible pain, bleeding and without sleep for at least a week and a half, I WAS A MESS. When I sat down with the nurse who was doing intakes I told her my entire story. I wanted to make sure they had all the information necessary to help me. The response I got shocked me, “This is an Emergency Room not a place for diagnosis you really shouldn’t be here”. This is exactly why I hadn’t come to the ER weeks ago. Everyone told me I was just fine, don’t worry, relax, stop acting crazy. At this point I didn’t care if I was crazy, over-dramatic or whatever else people thought. Whatever the problem was I couldn’t take it anymore. I believed I was weak, a baby, overdramatic, all the things other people thought about me but I was no longer embarrassed about it.

Because of the type of pain I had described, sharp radiating pain on my left side that started right below my chest and went all the way down to my left toe, they had to do a CT scan. Needless to say the nurses and doctor were annoyed with me. Now I forgot to mention in my last blog that the OBGYN had prescribed me something called Metronidizol. This is a super strong antibiotic that is suppose to clear someone of almost anything, not cancer though. This Devil Juice was making me even more sick than I was before. I threw up all day long, couldn’t keep a thing down. So, I wasn’t shocked when I threw up all the chalk stuff I had to drink for the CT scan. I was in a room by myself, hooked up to some stuff. I knew I was going to throw up but couldn’t move and I called for a nurse who just ignored me. Too bad for them because I ended up throwing up all over the floor.

I was wheeled into the CT scan room. I was surprised when I heard someone say my name, “hey Meaghan is that you”. The man who was operating the CT was a good friend of my Ex’s. We said our weird hellos and how have you beens, couldn’t have been more awkward! When was I going to wake up from this fricking nightmare. When the CT was finally over I was brought back to my little room in the ER to await the results. I was told it would be about 45 minutes but three hours went by. The same doctor who told me he was not here to give me a diagnosis, “I shouldn’t be in the ER” (yes the nurse did first and then this doctor) began to tell me I was seriously ill. I remember that moment so well. My feelings were a mix of fear, sadness and triumph. I wanted to scream out: “I TOLD YOU SO I TOLD YOU SO I TOLD YOU SO” I wanted the entire world to hear me. But I couldn’t, all I could do was sit there and listen.

The doctor told me the CT scan showed a very large tumor. The tumor was crushing my ureters, both my kidneys had hydronephrosis in both my kidneys and atrophy in my left one (distention and dilation of the renal pelvis and calyces, usually caused by obstruction of the free flow of urine from the kidney, leading to progressive atrophy of the kidney). My left kidney had ripped and my abdomen was filled with the fluid that it was suppose to contain. This doctor was pretty sure I had very advanced cervical cancer. I was admitted immediately and my fabulous (sarcastic tone) OBGYN was called. By this time it was around 2 am.

I was given a bed in the ICU. I remember being so happy. Finally I wasn’t alone, finally someone believed me, and finally I was going to be fixed. This is when I was told for the first time, “no food or drink because we may need to operate”. My “doctors” at the OBGYN had ordered I be put on an IV of the Devil Juice. This made me so sick. No food, no water but I was still throwing up. All night, all the next day throwing up nothing but bile. My sister and friend came to the hospital when I was moved to a room. At this point I was on IV pain medication, Diloted. This helped my pain significantly! I was still throwing up though. When I was brought to have another ultra sound I through up on the elevator, in the hall it was continuous. I felt like I was dying, maybe because I was.

The hospital ultra sound was horrific. The woman was in way over her head. She couldn’t tell what she was seeing and left the device inside of me while she went off looking for a doctor. The pain was excruciating! Why the hell were they doing an ultra sound when they had already discovered I had a tumor? There was no mystery about that the CT was pretty clear. I was told my OBGYN doctors had ordered it!?! Finally the hospital doctor took control and had me taken off the Metronidizol and finally I stopped throwing up. My poor body was trying to keep me alive and all that devil juice was doing was making it harder. Did these doctors want me to die?? I distinctly remember the doctor saying, “I don’t know why these doctors have you on antibiotics but if you keep throwing up it’s going to kill you”. Remember, I couldn’t eat or drink because the doctors just didn’t know what to do or when they would need to do it. So, I had been throwing up constantly for almost 48 hours with no food or drink. Yes, I was on IV stuff to keep me alive but I was just throwing it all up.

I was in the Jupiter hospital for about a week. It was terrible and they didn’t do a thing to fix me. I was on pain medication but that was about it. My friends from law school all came to visit me and bring me cards, flowers and present to cheer me up. I was manic at this point. I talked and talked and talked, my friends must have thought I was crazy! My kidney issue had not been addressed, I had received no treatment for my advanced cancer nothing had changed except the pain medication. My mother came down from Mass. and was in the hospital as well. The doctors told her they were happy my friends came to visit because I didn’t have much time, something like that. They had me for dead! Fish hands was a nickname we gave for one of my OBGYN doctors. He was telling me, my family and friends that I was going to die and he couldn’t even give a decent handshake!

To make a long and painful story a bit shorter I received a couple pints of blood and was allowed to leave after about a week at the hospital in Jupiter. My mother flew with me back up to Mass. to meet with doctors at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Up to this point absolutely nothing had been done to help me! But once I arrived at Dana Farber things would change…..

My Poem

My malady makes me true

The honesty of my past flows through my blood and rings in my thoughts

It poisons my passions

Making them simple and raw

My malady makes me strong

The pain and anguish it has created stains my soul and dries my tears

It feeds my future

Making me fight for things stolen

My malady makes me whole

The lost pieces of my life replaced by hope and passion

It opens my eyes

Making me awake for the first time


Just wanted to let everyone know my PET scan is clear of cancer. There are some questions/issues regarding my left kidney but I am not too surprised about that. Next PET will be in December. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF :)


Yesterday was my PET scan, not fun at all. For those of you who have never had one, it sucks big time! Not only does having a PET scan mean something might be seriously wrong with you but the process is pretty lengthy and unpleasant. First, you cannot eat or drink anything six hours prior to the scan. This means I had to wake up Monday morning and NO COFFEE! I have to admit I am a coffee addict and not having a cup really pissed me off. I got to sit at my grandmothers and watch everyone enjoy D&D coffee, bagels and donuts. Of course they offered to skip their coffee and breakfast but I couldn’t make them suffer too, I’m not that bitter yet!

11:30 my mom and I were off to Dana Farber. First stop, the 9th floor for some Ativan (the best anti anxiety med ever). The Nurse Practitioner gave me my medication and put an IV in. I have had many of these but this one hurt. When I got to the Scan I was absolutely starving and could have murdered for a coffee. There was a man in the waiting room with a subway sandwich and all I could do was fantasize about eating it. Please, if you are ever in a waiting room where people can’t eat….don’t eat or bring food J

12:45 I am brought into a tiny room. The nurse walks me in and looks at my IV, “Wow they decided to use the large one on you huh” So that’s why it hurt so much. Of course the IV wouldn’t work so they had to take it out and try again on the other arm, this time with a much smaller one. Once the IV was in the doctor opens a metal door and takes out a metal container that contains and needle with god knows what inside. As he is injecting me with this needle he asks me what I am doing after the PET scan, “I am flying back to Florida” I tell him. “Oh then you are going to need a letter for the airport”. A WHAT?? That’s right folks I was radio active and would set off alarms.

1:00 I have been injective with radioactive stuff and get to sit for an hour while it makes its way throughout my body. Last time I had to sit in the dark with no music, no reading and no tv. This time I was allowed to watch TV and got the toasty warm blankets so it wasn’t that bad.

1:30 the PET scan finally begins and I get to lie down in a machine with my arms over my head for thirty minutes while they search for cancer. Thank god for the Ativan because otherwise I don’t think I could have taken all the anxiety and stress, never mind how uncomfortable it is to have your arms over your head for a half hour.

So that is a PET scan in a nut shell. Now I just wait. I wait to hear if I can continue law school, go to the beach, visit friends, live life. This one test determines the course of my life. So, I humbly ask you all to keep me in your prayers. As soon as I get the results I will post them.

Why I started this blog

It's been a year since my PET scan came back clear....GOOD BYE CANCER! As some of you know I am back in Western Mass. for some medical fun and another PET scan. It has been a tough journey for me, my family and friends. I needed some R&R so I came out to Western Mass with my sister and my baby niece. While here I had lunch with my wonderful, funny, beautiful, smart friend Shakenfruit. She asked me if I had read her blog, "no, what blog, how does that work" I cannot believe that ME, a person who uses the internet on a daily basis, has never read a blog. So I read her blog. It was the smartest funniest thing I have ever read! Shakenfruit's blog both inspired and intimidated me. This is how and why I am starting my blog. I want to share my journey with all my friends and family, as well as, those who may share some of my experiences.

While I always appreciate people asking how I am or what is new it does get tiring. This seems like the best way to let everyone know what is going on with me and to keep a journal of what has happened. While some people would like to forget the cancer that has plagued them I do not. I want to remember everything, pain, taste, fear, excitement, hope....all of it. This is the best way to do that because all memories fade with time, good and bad.

I will start writing my story in a chronological order and do my best to catch up to the present. I may, probably will, interrupt with new stuff but I am sure you all won't mind. While the main point of this blog is to deal with my former cancer I will write about other things in my life because my cancer does not run my life. I am not defined by what happened to me. It is part of my life, part of who I am but it will never be WHO I AM!!! So you will also hear about the great things going on in my life, my little baby niece, my travels, boyfriend, friends, family etc...