Real life with the Big C


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 5.5-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 returned to work.

After stints working at the local hospital ER and part-time at a local boutique and also yoga studio, I was a news producer for bostonglobe.com and earned a master’s degree in Media Innovation at my alma mater, Northeastern University.

My favorite activities are yoga, hiking, and backpacking. I am an enthusiast of comedy, horror films, and Japanese splatter core.

Feel free to drop me a line if you want to chat about cancer, treatment, or anything else.

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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