A Survivor's Story
Family Matters - Winter 2008
No Stopping and No Looking Back for Teen Cancer Survivor
Follow Megan Evans around for a week, and you may have trouble believing this 16-year-old spent a year of her life fighting cancer at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson.
Last year, Megan ran track and was a cheerleader on the freshmen squad. Over the summer, her job as a lifeguard sparked her interest to join the swimming team. When she isn’t swimming, she’s either at tumbling practice to prepare her for varsity cheerleader try-outs, or she’s attending confirmation classes at church. In addition, she’s doing what any 16-year-old is doing – learning to drive!
Megan, who attends St. Pius X High School, may be living the life of a normal teenager, but her diagnosis in 2000 put her face-to-face with a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. Megan’s tumor was found in her upper left arm, causing her to leave the tumbling mat behind and come to M. D. Anderson for treatment.
Although her mom uses words like “scary,” “devastating” and “overwhelming” to describe her feelings about Megan’s cancer diagnosis, she also is quick to assert that their M. D. Anderson experience was a positive one.
Megan remembers that she always had something fun to do, whether it was working a puzzle in the playroom or drawing pictures in art class for the Children’s Art Project. She particularly liked movie night on the inpatient floor when she felt well enough to go. During treatment, hats became a major accessory for her.
“Losing my hair really bothered me, which is why I started wearing a hat all the time,” says Megan. “They even made a “hat day” at school so that other kids could wear their hats like me. I’m proud of the long hair I have now because I was without it for so long.”
Megan said she doesn’t talk about her cancer these days, though she still remembers the lessons she learned through her experience.
“Just remember that you’re not alone because there are others going through what you are,” says Megan. “Plus, you should take your medicine and be patient for it to do its job.”