It’s only been two weeks since Megan received the news that her doctors were stopping her chemotherapy treatments. Although this experimental combination of chemotherapy drugs was working, as evidenced by her recent clear scans, the damage the toxic drugs were doing to her lungs made it too risky to continue with the treatments. Her oncologists had hoped to get her through 12 rounds (36 weeks) of treatment, but Megan’s body could only handle 8 rounds. Although you would think Megan would have been excited to know that she would not longer have to go through these toxic treatments, the reality was that stopping the treatments really scared her. Chemotherapy is brutal, but Megan knows that while she is getting these drugs, her cancer most likely will not return. Once she is off chemotherapy, she is understandably scared of a relapse, because she has experienced that three times before. Although she went through a couple tough days following this news, in typical Megan fashion, she bounced back quickly and decided it was time to make the most of her reprieve. Based on her clean scans, her doctors declared her officially in remission…just in time to regain her health for the holiday season.
Like all kids who go through the nightmare of chemotherapy, Megan’s body has been ravaged by 114 weeks of these toxic drugs. Her latest treatments really wreaked havoc on her…especially due to the damage to her lungs. Late in her treatment, Megan became so short of breath that just walking from the couch to the bathroom left her gasping for air. As a result, she was forced to be fairly sedentary, which led to her becoming physically weak. As we look back on it now, chemotherapy really had her trapped in a vicious cycle as she tried her best to get to the end of her 36 weeks of treatment. Once Megan’s lung test results came back, it was obvious that as much as she wanted to continue, her body was done with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, that is the plight that faces most all kids fighting this awful disease. Due to a serious and sad lack of attention to these brave kids, they are left with no other clinically proven option than these 30 year old toxic chemotherapy treatments that can literally cause as much damage as the cancer. That’s why Megan is continuing to fight so hard to raise awareness and funding so that other kids don’t have to endure what she has been through at the hands of these archaic drugs.
Since Megan got over the initial shock of learning that she would not be able to complete her 36 weeks of chemotherapy treatments, she has decided it was time to flip the switch and take back control of her life. She doesn’t have to go back for scans until mid-February, so until then, she is going to do her best to put childhood cancer on the back burner and continue on with her life. Now that she is a couple weeks post-chemotherapy, we can see her body slowly getting stronger. She is trying to slowly gain back her stamina by walking a little more. Even though she still needs an inhaler to help catch her breath, she is looking for opportunities to strengthen her legs and lungs by walking when she can. Just today, she woke up before 7 a.m. and said that she wanted to go grocery shopping with Deb and I. She needed her wheelchair to get around Wal-Mart and Aldi, but when we got to Walgreens, she said she wanted to walk. Two weeks ago, there is no way she could have walked through a store without assistance. She is also focusing on eating a healthier diet. When she was on chemotherapy, she also had to take a steroid to combat the side effects. That steroid caused her eating habits to alter, which is a natural occurrence with many such drugs. As a result, she said she didn’t feel good, but since she has focused on eating better, she claims to be doing much better. She is also taking advantage of her newly found freedom to reconnect with friends, which she did multiple times this week.
Early this week, Megan met Kim Scerine for lunch. Megan works at the dance studio that Kim owns, and they have become fast friends. Kim and all of the people at the Broadway Dance Studio have been so supportive of Megan, and we are very thankful they are a part of her life. Makenna Emerson also stopped by one day to take Megan to breakfast, which is always fun for her. As you can see, the two of them get a little goofy when they are together 🙂
On Friday, Deb and Megan went to the annual Central DuPage Hospital Oncology Clinic holiday party. I have mentioned it many times before, but I don’t know how we could ever properly thank all of the incredible medical professionals at CDH. We could not be happier with the care they have given Megan. All of them have become a part of our family, and Megan absolutely loves them. Here are a few pictures from Friday’s party.
On Saturday, we took Megan to Naperville to spend the day with her good friend, Caitlin Cannon. They took a trip to Starbucks, Mod Pizza, and went to see Frozen 2. They even found time to take Caitlin’s puppy to visit Santa. Megan ended up staying with Caitlin from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., which is a really long day for Megan. When she got home, she said she had a blast, but was really worn out.
Cancer has hit Megan with everything its got, but after five years of fighting back, Megan is as determined as ever to come away from this battle victorious. There is no way she is going to let cancer dampen her holiday spirit. She has big plans this holiday season, and there is just no room for cancer at the party. Until next week…