A little bit about you:
Name: Megan Muloin
City: Victoria, BC
What was/is your diagnosis?
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 2 bulky
What was your age at the time?
What is something you’ve done that you’re really proud of?
Beat cancer, had two kids.
What is a top item on your life to do list?
Finish writing my book on my cancer journey/life after cancer.
What are your hobbies?
Hanging out with my kids, baking, cooking, and writing.
What was your life like before your diagnosis?
Mom life with no limits, very outgoing, loved being around people.
How did you find out you were sick? What led to your diagnosis?
About four months after I had my firstborn son, I was having a lot of pain in my chest and my left arm. I thought maybe I was holding him in weird positions, or it was from feeding him. So I ended up in the ER with arm and chest pain.
After some tests, they did an X-ray of my chest. The next day, I got a call telling me I had to go in for a CT scan. After that was done, I was told they had found a 7.7 x 5 cm mediastinal mass beside my heart and lungs.
I was then referred to get thoracic surgery and a biopsy was done confirming the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, nodular sclerosing subtype. I also had a bone marrow biopsy done to confirm there was no cancer in my bones.
What were your first thoughts when diagnosed?
My first thought was, “How am I gonna get taken so soon when my son is only four months old? I haven’t been able to see him walk yet, or talk. He wont even be old enough to remember me.”
I love my husband, don’t get me wrong, ha, but Quinn was my first thought as a mother diagnosed with cancer. A lot of my other thoughts were mostly around “why” or “how could this be happening to me.” When you hear the words, “So we got the results back and it is cancer,” there are honestly so many thoughts that go on in your head. It’s very hard to remember, or most likely, your brain tries to forget.
In which hospital were you treated?
BC Cancer Agency
What did your treatment consist of?
Six months of ABVD chemo every second Friday.
What is your current medical status?
Life after cancer:
How is life different for you now post diagnosis?
Life after diagnosis has been a lot to handle even though its been almost five years since my last chemo. I find every year does get a bit easier, but the anxiety of it all never goes away. I find myself going into the doctor a lot to get scans and blood work done.
My body is like a train wreck; it’s gone through so much already, only being 24. I am lucky and thankful for my two beautiful children and my husband to keep me pushing every day.
I have only just started to seek help for everything I went through mentally and physically, and it’s been really nice to be able to talk to more people about my story and connect with others who have been through the same thing.
“It’s been really nice to be able to talk to more people about my story and connect with others who have been through the same thing.”
What is/was the toughest part about having cancer as a young adult?
Trying to be a young adult and mom with cancer was my hardest struggle. I was having to depend on my family to help raise my son because I was to weak and sick to do it myself.
What really helped/helps you to keep going while you were/are sick?
Being surrounded by my friends and family. My son, Quinn, really helped me during this time; even just cuddling with him and laying in bed would really brighten my mood.
What kept you/keeps you busy during treatment?
Having a baby really kept me going and busy during treatment, haha, and Netflix. My husband, Kevin, has also been my biggest supporter and always knew how to be there for me during chemo and keep me busy on my lowest of days.
How are you connected with Young Adult Cancer Canada? How did it happen?
After years and years of just blacking out my whole chemo/cancer life, I am finally ready to talk to others, share my story, and get help with a counsellor. My counsellor pointed me to the direction of Young Adult Cancer Canada.
Did anyone talk to you about fertility options before treatment? If so, how did that affect your decisions? If not, what do you wish you had known?
My doctor told me that the chemo I did shouldn’t have any affect on fertility issues, but after I was done chemo, I did have testing done and was told my progesterone levels were so low that I probably wouldn’t be able to have anymore kids. I saw a fertility doctor who put me on Clomid to help my levels come up. I got pregnant two times and had two miscarriages and a D&C. Finally, the third time we used Clomid, we got our daughter.
Has your cancer diagnosis affected any of the relationships in your life? If so, how, and how are you managing them?
I found personally during my cancer journey, I had a lot more people in my life then my after cancer life. I got a lot of messages, a lot of new friends. My family became a lot closer when I found out I had cancer. We were ”Elder Strong” ( my family’s last name). We all got tattoos before I started my chemo journey. For me personally, I find that I need/needed more support after my cancer journey more than when I was dealing with it. Life after cancer is a very hard mental struggle.
“Life after cancer is a very hard mental struggle.”
How has your cancer experience affected your body image, and your relationship to your body?
I gained a lot of weight during and after chemo; it’s the heaviest I have ever been in my life. When I first started chemo, I was around 140 lbs, so when I had shaved my head, I actually quite liked it (after getting use to it).
I will always remember the moment I shaved my head and held my son for the first time. He touched the top of my head and looked at me and smiled and that was probably the moment I knew I was still beautiful.
After a while of doing chemo, I started to gain a lot of weight and got up to around 220 — maybe even a bit more — so it really affected my confidence, especially with having no eyelashes or eyebrows either. You never really know when you first get diagnosed with cancer how much affect chemo has on your body until you go through it, and having to watch yourself deteriorate is really hard. Looking back at photos it really makes me feel thankful of where I am today, but I am still learning how to love myself and my body.
Resources and recommendations:
What would you add to a treatment-day playlist?
I’m definitely a country playlist kinda girl, but having any upbeat songs in your treatment play list would totally put you in that ”I’m here to kick cancer’s butt” mode.
Stay in touch:
What would you like to say to other young adults dealing with cancer who are reading this profile?
Talk it out, don’t stay silent about how you are feeling, and in the chemo room — even though I know it’s a crappy situation — try and smile, talk to other people in there, get up and walk, maybe even have a dance. You can’t let the word ”cancer” define who you are. Don’t let cancer win, because you are a fighter. You got this.
Are you interested in helping others facing cancer challenges? If so please let us know how you can be contacted.
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