Survivor Insight Series | Megan H.
We are excited when people express that they belong to our community. So many mesothelioma patients aren’t sure where to turn to for support and information.
We are happy to have run into Megan H. on our Facebook page. After reaching out to her, she shared some of her experiences with a unique form of mesothelioma. All of us would like to thank her for connecting with us and the community. Her last name is being withheld over privacy concerns.
What were the events that led up to your diagnosis?
Here is a (quick) synopsis of what I have been battling for the last 7 years. Back in 2005, I started developing pain in my abdomen. In June, it was decided that I would have a laparoscopic surgery to check my appendix and determine if I had endometriosis. I went in for outpatient surgery July 9th. While I was in recovery, the doctor came in and said they found nothing, but they did remove three tumors from the lining of my abdomen.
She assured my father that these tumors were not a big deal, but would be biopsied just to be on the safe side. I went in for my appointment on July 30th and got my stitches out. My gynecologist said everything was healing up fine and I did wonderful during surgery. As I was getting ready to leave the room, her assistant pointed out that my tumors were sent off to Johns Hopkins to be looked at. She then proceeded to tell me that they were very rare looking, and she and four other surgeons at the hospital had never seen anything of this rarity before.
She assured me that it was not a big deal, I would be fine and she was going to do some research and call me the next day. I went into panic mode. I was not expecting anything to come out of that appointment except my stitches! The next day, my doctor called me and said she was referring me to an oncologist through University of Louisville Hospital.
On August 9th, both of my parents attended this “precautionary” appointment with me. Dr. Scoggins came in, and all of a sudden started speaking about freezing my eggs, what they were going to do to remove the cancer and so on. It was a huge curve ball thrown my way. It was then that he realized that my parents and I had no idea this was even cancer to begin with. He took a few steps back and said that I had been diagnosed with well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma of the peritoneum (WDPMP), a form of mesothelioma that is not caused by asbestos.
Tell us about how you felt while waiting for your diagnosis.
I had no idea that the tumors removed during my surgery in July were even cancerous, so I didn’t know that I was going to be diagnosed the day I went into the doctor’s on August 9th. I have always been a very positive person, and wasn’t too worried about anything. I have strong faith in the Lord, and I laid all of my worries and anxieties at his feet. I think that if I would have had an inkling that it was cancer my anxiety level would have been a lot higher. But since I was told that I had nothing to worry about, that’s what I did. Not worry.
Do you have any words of advice for other patients dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis?
The only words of advice I have to anyone fighting cancer of any kind is to keep hope, stay strong and positive and express your feelings. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and call your doctor’s medical assistant every day if you have to. You have to learn to laugh, and keep your humor.
You may be going through a rough spot now, but life could always be worse. There is always someone out there that has it 100 times worse than how you think you do. I see this every day in the funeral business. I truly believe that my profession has also helped me deal with my diagnosis more than say an accountant would. My faith in God has grown stronger, and he has blessed me and carried me the whole way through this speed bump.
I have been lucky however, and my doctor found fewer tumors than what some other patients incur. My age and my otherwise good health have also helped. The number one thing I would say as advice would be to rely on God. He can and will carry you through anything life throws at you.