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!