About

The fam
This was taken in Nov. 2012, a couple of weeks before my diagnosis. (Photo by Emily Noel Photography)

I’m Megan McKee and in Dec. 2012, I was diagnosed with stage IIIA breast cancer thanks to the large tumor deep in my breast that escaped my detection until I was breastfeeding.

I was in my early 30s and had two awesome kids, a 6.5-year-old son and a 10.5-month-old daughter.

My cancer was rated as grade 3 (super aggressive) and HER2+, hormone negative.  I had to start treatment immediately at Mass General Hospital, which I credit with saving my life and doing an amazing job with my surgeries and mental health, so I had to immediately wean my daughter.  It was tough.

I started chemo in Dec. 2012 and then had a modified radical mastectomy with immediate DIEP reconstruction on the affected breast in April 2013.  I followed that up with even more chemo and at the very end, had some radiation….because hey, why not?  Radiation wrapped up right before Christmas 2013 and that’s when I got to ring the “done with this shit” bell in the radiation ward.  But I still had more Herceptin to go, and I finished that in June 2014.  This drug is relatively new, only treats HER2+ peeps like me, has no side effects except potential heart damage (which I escaped!) and has been the reason my prognosis went from “Eh” to “Excellent.”  If I had been diagnosed a mere 5 years earlier (specifically, pre-Jan. 2008), chances are I’d be dead.  So let’s all give a big round of applause for Big Pharma! *clap, clap, clap*

Prior to my job as appointment-attender and procedure-getter, I was a regular freelancer for the Boston Globe.  I took time off for treatment, but as soon as I was done with radiation, I had to work to pay the mountain of debt that had accrued during treatment… because as a young’in with cancer, that’s what happens.  I highly recommend you visit the SAMFund if you’re struggling with the same issue.  They can help you out.

After stints working at the local hospital ER (blech) and part-time at a local boutique and also yoga studio (yay), I landed a job as news producer for bostonglobe.com (not to be confused with the Boston Globe’s former home on the web that is now a distinct and separate entity, boston.com). This part of my life exists on the web at megmckee.com.  I’m gearing up for grad school at my alma mater — Northeastern — in fall 2015, where I’m enrolled in a brand spankin’ new program, one that I have wished existed for years.  It’s called Media Innovation, is basically headed up by a genius, and teaches people who know how to write traditionally to tell web-native stories.

Things I looooove to do are yoga, drink coffee, hang out with people, read, hike and backpack.  I am a comedy enthusiast and think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Parks and Recreation, and Sasha Baron Cohen are brilliant gifts from God.  I also loooooooove to listen to public radio which is probably the nerdiest thing I could possibly write but it’s true.  Tom Ashbrook is my secret boyfriend and I bow down to Terry Gross.  This American Life beats out all programming– radio AND tv– as my favorite show ever.

Please drop me a line if you want to chat about cancer or other stuff.  I’m here to help!

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2 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi, Meg! I wanted to cheer you on as a fellow member of the bc club. I am fighting it a second time. First time was in 2008. My kids were 3 yrs old, and 9 months old. (I have three kids now–7, 5, and 2). I had also just finished breast feeding the little one when I realized an annoying lump wasn’t a clogged duct but a tumor. I was 32 and thought I had cancer’s butt kicked after surgery/chemo/radiation, but here I am at 37 repeating surgery/chemo/radiation for a pesky recurrence in my armpit. Surgery done, starting chemo repeat march 13. Like you, i am extremely lucky I have a supportive husband, and a great community of friends and doctors to help me get rid of it for good and return to my healthy self by summer. I also have lots of coping skills from the first time around the block with this damn disease, if you ever want to connect. I was referred to your blog by Patrice Smith. (I live in Cohasset and am a fellow joos enthusiast!) Anyway, it is always very inspiring to hear the voice of another young, strong mom survivor who understands how crucial it is to laugh in the face of these unwelcome unhealthy cells! Attitude is everything. Having young children was at once the best and the hardest part of the experience for me. They keep you going, they entertain you, force you to put on your game face, dont give you time to dwell on negative thoughts…. They also make your heart break when you can’t fully care for them at all times. I wanted you to know that you have company in all this. You are never alone. Wishing you boundless strength and peace from another south shore girl who never liked pink!

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