Guest Blog: Megan Leto & Making the Most of your Time
Megan Leto has shared her trials, victories and greatest life lessons that she has experienced since being diagnosed with cancer. We're always so amazed at her strength most of all, but also because she does so with such a positive and inspirational spirit. Read below about her concept of time, and why you should always make the most of it! Thank you, Megan!
Going through cancer treatment took so much away from me I don't even know where to start. I could make a list longer than my hair (ha!) but the thing it took away from me that I value most was time. I lost 18 months of my life in between doctors and surgery and sleep and feeling sick. A double mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and follow up surgeries left me with 700+ doctor appointments within that 18 months. 700! I spent more time with my doctors or nurses than I did with my children. I was exhausted all day, and then spent the nights awake channel surfing because the steroids would kick in.
I missed Easter due to an infection that landed me a 5 night stay in the hospital. An infection due to being on too many antibiotics because chemotherapy left me neutropenic for 5 months.
Then I missed our regular week at the beach because I was due for radiation that entire month. So we rearranged vacation to July. Then I missed a day of that week in July because I had to come back "home" to the hospital for my last chemotherapy appointment that was 2 weeks late due to being neutropenic. You see, when you are neutropenic you cross your fingers you are ALLOWED to get chemotherapy and you aren't too sick. Strange, huh? You have cancer which means you are sick. So you get a "medicine" called chemo to make you better. But then that "medicine" makes you so sick that you have to take other medicine (antibiotics) to not get sick. Then that medicine makes you so sick you can't get chemo. And around and around and around. Later that year I missed Halloween and my sons birthday party because I was back in surgery for a hysterectomy to completely shut down my estrogen in order to hopefully avoid reoccurrence. Again, I could make a long list off all that I missed.
My children visiting me in the hospital after their Halloween Parade at school
My last day of chemo. My sister driving me 3 hours to the hospital leaving vacation at 5am.
But here is what cancer gave me. My cancer gave me a chance to live. I had a form of cancer that would likely be treated if we fought aggressively. I was "STAGE IIIC" breast cancer (do you know that most doctors don't classify cancer this way? Yah, I didn't either until I asked what stage I was). I was "THIS" close to not having a chance to fight it. Thousands of hours went in to the research that led to chemotherapy that led to me being here. My surgeons trained from the time they were 18 (probably even earlier!) and a freshman in college to make sure I was given life. My oncologist put in hours and hours studying my case to figure out the right concoction of drugs to keep me here. I was given life after I was handed a death sentence. I was given more Easters and more summer weeks at the beach. I was given more Halloween parades, more time to be tired and exhausted. More time. I was given more time. More time is not something we are guaranteed cancer or no cancer. Time should be our most valued thing in life.
Me visiting my college bestie - of course with my Boho Bandeau!
I am often asked "how do you do it all?". I volunteer as much as I can. I join in wherever I can. I say yes way too often and take on more than I should. But I have life now to do this, so it isn't that I have to do it... I CHOOSE TO. I don't have any more hours in my day than anyone else. I make time to volunteer. I make time to get to the beach or to the Halloween parade. It is important to me to be there. I had a point where my doctors and I truly didn't know if I would make it out of this dark place called cancer.
So what to take out of this mess of a blog? Go out there and MAKE the time. Make the time to get to your children's parade. Volunteer to coach or work at your schools store. Volunteer to help out at a 5K or animal shelter. Be active in your community. Attend Board of Education meetings because your children are worth it. Be part of your PTO because they want more for your children. Be present. Get chickens and experience what it is like to get breakfast from your backyard. Grow a garden even though it is so much work! Go for a run and get your health back even if you have to do it at 5am at a snails pace running laps around your yard. This world needs more from each of us.
My children and I celebrating radiation being done!