Journal

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Made my first solo trip to Duke this past Tuesday to get my scan and get prepped for radiation.

Started off bright and early at 7:30 but unfortunately didn’t get started with the CT mapping scan til 10:45 👎🏽 I just want to say I am so blessed to be at Duke! My doctor asked is there anything else I should know or you need to ask? And as I replied “well my symptoms are getting worse and it’s hard to sit again” he didn’t even blink and eye and said “Well let’s get started sooner than later”. 

So instead of waiting the normal 2 weeks I only have to wait one 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 

Sucks we’re pretty much back up where we started minus the weight loss and stomach pain. Add 2 cm of tumor growth bringing the size to about 8cm from 6cm originally. Harold definitely isn’t making this as easy journey! But done with parts 1 and 2 and on to part 3! Little less than 6 weeks and then it’s onto the grand finale!

❤️❤️

New blog! 
https://meghanlucia.wordpress.com/

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Weather in the south is so unpredictable. One minute it’s monsoon season and while I’m stuck in the doctors it’s a beautiful sunny day. Also Since it was national sweet tea day Monday and we got to swing in for bojangles tea and chicken before our arrival at Duke 🙌🏽🙌🏽 Too bad they gave me unsweetened 🤢

I’ll keep the update short simple and sweet.

Harold’s still an asshole and grown back and slightly bigger.

Not the news I was expecting to hear Tuesday after Monday’s scan but it doesn’t slow down the process and I’m still a candidate for surgery. Just means chemotherapy didn’t do as well as we had hoped. 

Blood work came back normal and thankfully no chemo this time. Got to meet with Dr.Czito and Dr.Hsu and after 6 weeks of radiation, 6 weeks of rest and one final surgery, Harold should be officially out of my body. If the plan goes according to plan 🤦🏽‍♀️😬 Next Tuesday we begin mapping and then hopefully in another week on to daily radiation!

As always thank you to everyone for continued prayers and to those who donate to the gofundme it is greatly appreciated ❤️❤️

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Well it’s safe to say grown men hate crying

My poor oncologist got a heavy dose of tears this past week as he informed me that surgery will still likely be end of September or beginning of October due to a mandatory 6 week waiting period. Dammit. I’m a grown woman I can say that word haha! Sorry mom.

Not much to update beside this awful tingling in my toes and face is about to drive me insane but thankfully it’s gone after about a week. This coming week on Monday afternoon we rescan once more and finally meet the radiation doctor on Tuesday to start planning my 5 weeks of treatment!

On the upside though still feeling good and eating pretty much anything I can get my hands on. Even got to grab lunch with some wonderful ladies this week at one of my favorite places in Charlotte, Chopt.

Thank you everyone for the continued prayers and encouragement ❤️ 

Also as I’ve heard from many of you that my writings make you laugh and sometimes cry, I’ve started blogging again so if you want to follow along I’ll post the link tonight on here!

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Its a cool 94 degrees in the city this weekend.

Last two weeks have been a roller coaster so this update was just a little behind 😬

Biggest concern was my platelet count being to low, but as Devin said “these are your best labs yet!” Which was was taken with a grain of salt as my momma says. As much as I did not want to move forward with chemo since I have a plan in play, we pushed forward with all 3 chemo drugs. 

Which is where it all went south 👎🏽 

I would like to say that my “last meal” so to speak on Monday night was delicious as Diane fixed a delicious spaghetti and strawberry for me and dad. We stayed with her and Jackson the pup this time and even got to catch a glimpse of her 4 feral kittens she has adopted. She even let it slip she put bison in the sauce which I giggled about because her husband is quite the hunter so I figured she had something up her sleeve when she said “now I can tell you what’s in it.” 

Next morning we arrived and after speaking with Dr.Hsu we decided it was best to keep moving forward with chemo but we would monitor it as again neuropathy is lasting much longer. Made it about halfway through chemo  before my body decided it wanted to give up and shut down. Poor Rocky and the nurses! I don’t think they had ever seen me so weak. Think stomach flu pain and with side of major dehydration and both feet and legs falling asleep. 


Long story short as dad would say, lost 3 lbs from not eating due to severe stomach pain and nausea for about 4 days and my good friend anxiety also decided to have a field day with my emotions.

These past 3 days though have been much better eating again but Tuesday we will begin the process all over again so prayers and good thoughts are needed friends! Trying to convince my doctors to move ahead with radiation and surgery ASAP but I’ve now been told surgery won’t be til September/October which is a big NO!

Being a hummingbird as momma calls me and to everyone who knows me I go 100 all the time so having to dial it down to 50 is driving me insane! If I had it my way we’d be doing radiation next week and surgery in July! But we want to do this right because the goal is to only have to do this once and get Harold out! As the line goes “slow and steady wins the race” so slow and steady it is as much as I protest! 

❤️❤️❤️

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Update: I just got the tumor pun my aunt web pointed out. No idea I even I wrote a pun 🤦🏽‍♀️🤦🏽‍♀️ Chemo brain is real.

Arrived yesterday afternoon for my CT definitely was anxious leading up to it and slept barely any as I got into my head. It also didn’t help the young woman in the hotel room next to us decided to enjoy a telephone conversation at 12:35am so loud it sounded she was talking in our room 😑 

6:30 rolled around all to quick as I was up at 5am again browsing amazon must haves, and was walking over by 7:05 and settled in with my Starbucks in hand by 7:15.

Most of the nurses are the same every time and today as I walked into the lab my little nurse waves and greets me saying “I should call you smiley because you’re always smiling”

Afterwards I made my way up to 3-2 aka 3rd floor and proceed to make conversation with my normal check-in lady gabbing about nail polish colors, do I still like my new hair etc.

Then the string of familiar faces continue from Devin (introduced her to frosé) all the way into chemo where I see Stephanie, previous chemo nurses and my take home nurse Rocky, all smiling and waving and greeting me or in Rocky’s case “hey mom” which is her familiar greeting for her.

And then it hits me, this place has finally become just another part of my journey, another “home”.I use to dread this place knowing what was coming each and every time. But today as I walked in I  felt cool, calm and collected, like I was greeting an old friend.

Back to the update though! Harold’s still being a dick. Although I finally put a name to a face today as I got to see my actual CT. Not gonna lie it is one big ass tumor 😂 excuse my language. But they say the chemo is working, slowly but surely! Unfortunately continuing  with chemo #5 and only 2 drugs today due to my platelet count is falling. Also we might not get all 8 rounds of chemo in, I am at 157 today but  if I drop to 70 we can’t continue with chemo and will head straight into radiation.

I even gained a pound 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 I think Dr.Hsu was still not thrilled but he is pleased I’m not losing. You guys are my witnesses and know I have been eating! He also finally understands my immense hatred of my take home bag to which he laughed and said we can talk about switching to the pills for radiation. 

Well as this post has now taken me 2 hours to write I’ll wrap it up as it’s now time to place my lunch order with momma. Y’all know how I love my food 😂

Also Megan Volkening: best hug and wave of the week! Was so good to see all you ladies and definitely miss morning drop off chit chats!

❤️❤️❤️

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Well...

Victory was short lived. Neuropathy has set in almost instantly. But maybe this means it’s working quicker but I could do without the leg numbness and tingling or twitch in my face #positivity. 

Not a trip or bad day at duke. Halfway done  with chemo hooray!!!! No breakdown or tears this time in the car either which we were all thankful for haha! But still only gained a pound which meant no nutritionist visit this time but have to get my CT next visit. Which I despise immensely. 

I got a visit from Kylie the therapy dog today as she made her rounds and also got into chemo by 10:30am and we’re walking out just as we would normally be getting started. Which was a miracle 🙏🏽 

12 days til it will be officially 2 months down... 4 to go 🦋🦋

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Woke up yesterday at 5am and literally couldn’t go back to sleep. So at 9 am I finally hit the road to Charlotte! After what felt like a 4 hour endless drive I arrived and headed out after a quick wardrobe change and style session with my girl Lacey. 

This was the perfect week to come visit as not only is Lacey in town and off work the whole week but Ashland and Nicole are off as well ❤️ Which means girls days all week long! Started off yesterday with a trip to Hawkers in SouthEnd followed by ice cream at Jeni’s and then soaked up sun and some delicious sangria followed with an intense game of Uno at the Company Store. 

I could get use to days like this ☀️☀️☀️ 75 and sunny with zero humidity 👍🏼 

As I tell them constantly, my friends keep me going. From the encouragement to just saying hey via text or phone call they are literally the best medicine. 

Quick backstory and you’ll understand why   .. when we first moved into Novel last year we knew no one and since there were only 5 people in the building friends seemed unlikely. Then we met Lyndie, Vinnie and my fellow foodie Jerad and from there our “family” grew. These people, and you know who you are, are the best. When I first got diagnosed they didn’t hesitate to ask “what can we do, how can we help?”. They say everything happens for a reason and I truly believe we all met and became friends turned family for a purpose. I love you fam ❤️ And to everyone else I am blessed to have such wonderful friends new and old who have been so supportive as well, friends from high school, church, elementary school, you will never know how much you’re support and prayers mean. Thank you my friends 🙏🏽

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Definitely was dreading this weeks visit. Partly because I was terrified my white blood cell count wasn’t going to be good so I would have to stay another 3 days away from home and get a shot. 

Then mom sprung the surprise...

Dad was taking me this time. Now do not get me wrong I love my dad. But mom knows the routine, knows my signs, and knows what to go in general because she is mom.

So I did my best to accept this new information and we loaded into the car and we’re on our way for 3 out of 8 chemo sessions so close to half way! Of course dad was thrilled as we got to stop for fast food as he is like me and likes fried salty and sweet foods. 

Duke went well, apparently lost another 2 lbs but I actually figured out they have been weighing me with my Ugg’s on. Which are heavy and Tuesday I took my shoes off and only work socks. So I think I’m okay! Plan is still the same but Dr. Hsu said if I continue to eat he would let me go 2 drugs 3 drug every other week! Which is good because the 2 drugs made me feel normal again! Unfortunately we didn’t get done til 6:30 so arrived home at 10:30 pm 😳 I was watching dad like a hawk because a.late night driving and b.other drivers at night. But at last we rolled in and we all hit the bed.

So far my diet has been getting better and cantaloupe, pho, apples and bloomin onions seem to sit well 😂 mango is a bit tricky so only a few pieces but I’ll take it! 

I also got to take fields trips by myself this week including target, oil change and the mall! 

And I finally did it.... I can’t bring myself to go bald although I’ll still probably lose it all so went with baby steps. It’s growing on me. I think the hair dresser was more in shock than me lol! If only I didn’t need 3 hair products to make it actually look good 😂 more work than my long hair! Seriously women’s hair struggle is real!

❤️❤️

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

So just kidding everyone I don’t really have cancer. I lost weight on purpose and I really go to Duke to play with the lemurs.

Man wouldn’t that be a joke. Not a funny one but somedays I feel like this is all a bad joke. Like someone is going to call and say “so we accidentally gave you the wrong results you don’t have cancer”. 

But back to reality. This weekend was actually a pleasant one. I went back to Charlotte and got to see friends and even got to see my nuggets! They have grown holy cow, been gone a month and they’ve shot up like weeds lol. 

Saturday was a long day as friends gathered together for the first time to visit since I left the city last month, but well worth it. I even walked 5 blocks! When you are so use to seeing your friends on weekends and during the week, you don’t realize how much you miss them until you don’t see them.

After the party got to go back to the house and grabbed some delicious pho 😍 Slept like a baby in the bed. It was like coming home from vacation from a hotel bed to your bed. Best feeling in the world!

Sunday I was like a kid at Christmas... got into my car, freshly cleaned and now locks (thank you honey) I felt 16 again hitting the road for the first time. Started small just driving down to the kids house and when I got there you’d have thought I had been gone for years. We talked about school, soccer, the new nanny’s hair lol it’s pink and purple, and a million other things. After we all ate lunch together I had to leave and that was a little sad since they still don’t understand why I can’t come back yet. Although Charlie made a comment to me saying “Meghan you look much better but you have shrank.” Which just goes to show kids really do see and hear everything 😂 

At last it was time to leave for good. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it was but once again my old friends sadness and anxiety showed up and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving joe, my friends, the city. So we went in and sat down and talked and cried and cried and cried some more lol. I swear I think I’m dehydrated from all the crying I do 😂 not from not drinking! But at last I said I’ve got to go, if I don’t go now I won’t go at all. So with tears pouring down my face I pulled away from the house and headed back to the mountains. It’s funny I always thought home was a the house I grew up in, or the new house in fletcher, but not I realize home isn’t a place. It’s where the ones you love are.

❤️❤️

Journal entry by Meghan McGinnis

Thank you to everyone for checking in with phone calls messages or dropping by for a visit! 

If you have any photos you’d like to share please feel free to send to my phone or email and I’ll upload them here. 

In times like this it helps to remember the good times and laughter created by friends.
Meghan’s Story

Site created on February 23, 2019

My beautiful daughter is 30 years old and she has colorectal cancer. She loves life, her family, her boyfriend, her job! She works out, pays her taxes, is kind to animals, and works very hard just as she was taught. These were some of the words that she tearfully said to me when she realized that she was indeed very ill and she was coming to the realization that she might possibly have cancer. What do you say to this wonderful lady that you so lovingly reared to love God and believe in what is good and right? Everything is not alright. Our world has gone very wrong!
This Caringbridge site will be penned by Meghan and me, her mama, Debbie. Our journey in the story of this horrid nightmare is just beginning. 
On February 15, 2019 Meghan was scheduled for a colonoscopy. This procedure was finally happening after about six weeks since the consultation with a GI. Being 30 years old, I'm not really sure that her symptoms were taken seriously by this specialist. The laborious pain grew and mounted within her, but she so hopefully and bravely yearned for this procedure to end the waiting and the pain with an answer that might give a glimmer of hope that everything would be okay after this grueling task was completed. Instead, the colonoscopy was aborted quickly as a tumor was blocking the scope's entry just beyond the rectum. She was met by medical staff with concerned faces relaying news that her brain processed, but that her heart could not fathom. Four days later, the words were spoken, CANCER. And she voiced the words, 'I'm 30 and I have cancer.' 
We are ready for the fight. That tumor has been dubbed 'Harold' and he is NOT welcome. Be gone, Harold!!!!

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