One of the important lessons you learn when fighting cancer is to never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. In other words, you have to live in the moment, because you never know what tomorrow may bring. During Megan’s current chemotherapy protocol, she receives treatment for two weeks and then she gets a week off to recover. Since this is the end of her fourth three week cycle, we have started to learn what each week will bring. We know that after her week one treatment, she will feel okay for the first couple days following treatment, but then she will feel pretty exhausted with some stomach distress for the next three days. She will then have two pretty good days before her week two treatment; after which she will feel pretty tired for a couple days before the real issues start. For the next four days, she will be unable to do much of anything as she is so fatigued that even going up the stairs to go to bed leaves her gasping for air. On top of that, her GI issues become debilitating along with constant headaches and bloody noses. She also needs to receive a daily shot of Neupogen to increase her white blood cell counts, since after week two she is most susceptible to infection. She receives no treatment in week three to allow her body and blood counts a chance to recover before starting all over again. The beauty of week three is that by Thursday of that week, we know Megan will be feeling pretty good until she receives her week one treatment the next Tuesday. Since we now know how she will respond, we also know that if we are going to schedule anything, that five day window is really the only chance…and we try not to let it go to waste.
Megan and Kenzi are both huge fans of Broadway musicals. Both of them took advantage of our incredible music/drama program at Coal City High School by performing in the musical productions. Kenzi participated all four years of high school, but obviously, due to Megan’s treatment, she was limited. However, she was able to participate as an 8th grader and she also was in the high school show her sophomore and junior years. Since then, they both love to see musical performances whether they are at CCHS, Chicago, or best of all…on Broadway in New York City. Since we knew Megan should be able to travel this weekend, Deb planned a girls trip to NYC to see three different musical productions. Since Kenzi hasn’t started classes at UW yet, she was able to come home, which made the girls weekend complete.
Prior to them leaving early Friday morning, Megan had to go to CDH to make sure her blood counts were okay to travel. Kenzi accompanied us to the appointment, which made Megan happy. As always, Megan lit up the clinic with her laughter and positive attitude. Prior to getting there, she asked me to stop at the Morris Bakery so she could bring donuts to her nurses and doctors. It seems like every time she goes to the clinic, she has a gift for someone 🙂 We were all relieved to learn that her blood counts were good and Dr. Hayani gave her the all clear to travel.
The girls got to the airport on Friday morning and I am heading to the airport late tonight to pick them up. While they were there, Aunt Janet and Cousin Carly met them on Saturday for supper and two of the shows, which was a nice surprise. Here is their girls weekend in pictures.
After Waitress on Saturday night, the girls really wanted to try to meet Colleen Ballinger, so they hustled outside to where the performers exit the theater. Colleen has been a huge supporter of cancer survivors and cancer research as she does multiple fundraisers each year to support the cause. Megan always watches her online fundraisers and donates money each time. Getting the chance to see Colleen perform and the possibility of seeing her after the show was something the girls were really looking forward to. Believe it or not, after the show the girls actually connected with her!!! Deb sent me a video of Megan meeting her, and I could hear Kenzi in the background say, “Why am I crying, she’s talking to my sister.” 🙂 I think it was a really emotional moment to see Colleen show her support for Megan and take pictures with the girls. Another lesson we have learned during this journey is that there are so many kind people in this world.
Prior to Megan’s illness, these are the kinds of quick weekend trips where we would have decided to wait until summer, or over the winter break, but not anymore. Experiencing childhood cancer has taught us to seize the day, because you just never know what tomorrow might bring.
On Monday, Kenzi heads back to Madison, WI to start her junior year of college. We will miss her, but we know she is where she belongs right now, and we could not be prouder of her accomplishments. On Tuesday, Megan goes to CDH for her first treatment of Round #5. Following this three week round, Megan will receive another full set of scans, which will obviously cause her tremendous anxiety. However, until then, Megan will find a way to power through the next two weeks of treatment. I know she will also continue to make the most of every single day she feels good. Over the past nearly five years, she has developed a gift for living in the moment. She has learned that life is a lot better when you stop sweating the small stuff; when you are kind to others; and when you give more than you receive. Wouldn’t we all be a lot happier if we followed her lead?
Until next week…