Over the past three years, cancer has taken so many opportunities and experiences away from Megan. She was one of the starting setters on her 7th grade volleyball team that played for the regional championship, but was forced to quit two weeks into her 8th grade season when she was first diagnosed. She missed the entire second semester of her 8th grade year, and even though home tutoring allowed her still graduate from 8th grade, she missed her 8th grade promotion ceremony. Even though she loved participating in the 8th grade musical performance, her treatments did not allow her to audition for the high school musical during her freshman year. She missed out on starting her freshman year with her classmates, and has been trying desperately to catch up both academically and socially ever since. She missed her first Homecoming dance because she was in the hospital receiving a chemo treatment. Being out of school for so long caused her to miss out on friendships, social events, activities, and so many other experiences that other students her age might take for granted as simply being a part of the “normal” teenage experience. That’s the way cancer works…it picks out a victim and then sets out to slowly and methodically destroy that person’s life both mentally and physically. The only way to survive is to display a steely determination that cancer will not win. You have to keep moving forward and show cancer that no matter how hard it tries, it cannot stop you from making the most of each and every day.
Even though Megan has completed her 90 weeks of chemotherapy and her latest round of proton radiation, her body is far from recovered. She still has many lingering physical effects from her brutal radiation, and her stamina is yet to recover. Although she always gives it her best shot, she tires very easily and doesn’t do well when an activity goes on for a prolonged period of time. Unless you have walked in her shoes, it is really impossible for any of us to understand the fatigue she experiences on a daily basis. Although she is getting stronger by the day, she still has a long ways to go to completely recover from her body being ravaged by cancer and its archaic treatments. However, as Megan showed this weekend, cancer will not stop her from living her life and pursuing her dreams.
Megan was so excited to land a role in the Coal City High School musical performance of “Les Miserable”, which was performed five times from March 8-11. Although the rehearsals required long hours, which was very tough on her, the result was a performance for the ages. I really cannot begin to explain the amazing quality of this musical performance. The creative team led by Jack Micetich and all of the incredibly talented kids put on a weekend of performances that no one will ever forget. It was such a pleasure to watch Megan get to take part in such a production. During their final bows today, I will admit to getting a little emotional seeing her up on stage, because three years ago I wasn’t sure if I would ever see this day. Here are some pictures from this weekend’s performances.
Now that the musical has ended, Megan will be gearing up for her first set of scans since she completed her proton radiation. Megan underwent these radiation treatments to eliminate two tumors that had shown up in her lower spine. On Friday, Megan will undergo both a PET and a CT scan, and then her doctors will also schedule an MRI for her soon after. These results will let us know if Megan is now officially in remission again. I cannot even imagine the anxiety Megan feels as she awaits these scans, but she is not letting it show. After the final performance today, Megan went to the cast party for a little bit, but she was pretty exhausted, so she came home early. She took a quick shower, and now she is relaxing on the couch watching American Idol with her kitten Willow. Life it good.
For the past three years life hasn’t been easy for Megan, but no matter how tough things get, her determination, her positive attitude, and her infectious smile have never wavered. Megan needs everyone on Team Megan to send positive thoughts to her starting at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning. Let’s hope next week’s post has good news to share!