It’s been almost two months since Megan completed her final proton radiation treatment to address the tumor in her chest. Although her doctors cannot be absolutely sure without a biopsy, given Megan’s history, they are almost certain that the mass in her chest is a third relapse of her Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Due to the limited number of treatment options available for childhood cancer, Megan’s research-based chemotherapy options have been exhausted. Therefore, her doctors are attempting to manage this latest relapse with proton radiation, which has been effective for Megan in the past. It’s so hard to hear that your child is out of treatment options, but this is the reality many childhood cancer patients face due to a severe lack of funding along with a lack of national focus on childhood cancer. This is why Megan is still fighting so hard to raise awareness and funding for new and improved treatment options. As she so often says, she will not rest until no more kids have to experience what she has been through.
Megan’s last scan, which was about three months ago, showed that the tumor in her chest was starting to wrap itself around her aorta. Until that time, her doctors had been monitoring the mass, but once it started to grow around her aorta, they said it was time to take action. Megan has been finished with her radiation treatment for about two months, but she couldn’t have a scan during that time because the inflammation caused by the radiation could have resulted in a false positive scan reading. Instead, Megan got a two month reprieve while she waited for her body to heal from the harsh radiation treatments. Although Megan has been feeling very good over the past two months, I know the waiting is taking its toll on her mental state. The waiting also takes a toll on our family as we anxiously hope that the proton radiation did its job and that the upcoming scans show that her body is healthy. Her CT and PET scans are set for the morning of March 11, so Megan has one more week of peace before the awful “scanxiety” sets in.
I continue to marvel at how adept Megan is at living in the moment. Given all that is at stake for her, it would be perfectly understandable for her to be severely struggling, but she simply refuses to give cancer that pleasure. Instead, Megan continues to do her best to enjoy each day to the fullest. As I have mentioned in previous posts, she has completed all of her high school coursework through a special program at Joliet Junior College, which has allowed her some down time to focus on her mental and physical health. Although she has stayed busy with babysitting for a couple families and working at the dance studio twice a week, she has still been leading a much more relaxed lifestyle than she was forced to endure over the past four-plus years. It seems like every time I see her she is smiling, laughing or singing., which always brings a smile to my face. When you have seen your child in pain so many times over the past four years, you treasure the good times such as this. It’s remarkable how positive Megan remains in the face of such daunting adversity. So many of us could stand to adopt her positive outlook on life.
As everyone knows, Megan is continuing to work hard at raising money to support Dr. Walterhouse’s research at Luries Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Due to the severe lack of Federal funding coupled with the big pharmaceutical companies ignoring them, childhood cancer patients and their families have been forced to raise their own funds to support potential treatments that could save these kids. It’s really a sad state of affairs, but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for themselves, Megan and her friends have decided to take matters into their own hands. Thanks to the incredible generosity shown by so many people and organizations, Megan has now raised over $157,000 to support childhood cancer research!!! Her second partnership with Ivory Ella, where she designed a second set of childhood cancer awareness products, resulted in the company making a donation of $15,000 to her cause. Megan’s goal is to reach $200,000, and she is creeping closer and closer to her aim. If you are interested in supporting her efforts, you can still donate to her Circle of Friends fundraising page through Luries Children’s Hospital. I know she is so appreciative of everyone who has been supporting her efforts to end childhood cancer.
Speaking of Megan’s fundraising efforts, she just received a very nice letter from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. Lurie’s just completed the construction of a new facility that will house it’s Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The new facility is going to have a wall to recognize everyone who has contributed $100,000 or more to support research at the Manne Research Institute, which Megan has. As a result, “Team Megan Bugg” will be listed on this new donor wall, which is a tribute to everyone who has been supporting Megan’s mission to end childhood cancer. Thank you to everyone, because this recognition is for all of you. As Megan said in her speech a the Cal’s Angels Gala last week, “Mark my words…a change is coming!” It is because of the efforts of brave cancer warriors like Megan, her cancer fighting friends, and all of you generous people that childhood cancer will be defeated. It will be a glorious day when no more kids and no more families have to hear the words that stunned parents across the world hear every two minutes…”Your child has cancer.”
In the face of adversity, fear and doubt, Megan usually remains incredibly positive, but this next week and half will be a challenge for her. She will be anxiously awaiting her scans on March 11…and then comes the agony of waiting for the results. “Scanxiety” is real and it is awful…just ask any cancer survivor if you don’t believe me. Luckily, Megan has an exciting week planned…but I won’t ruin that surprise before next week’s post. In the meantime, whenever Megan starts to feel a little anxious or stressed, her beloved pets are always there for her.
Until next week…