Too Young for Cancer?
A young woman tells us her amazing story of courage. And how she beat the odds.
My name is Meaghan Reidy. I was born & raised in Kansas City. I am currently living on the Plaza which has worked out great seeing as work is only a mile away. I work at St. Luke’s Child Care Center where I have been for just over 7 years. I do not have children of my own yet but I get plenty of love from my class & from my 2 nephews & 3 nieces.
In July of 2013, I started getting really bad pains in my right side. On Sunday July 28, I finally decided to get this checked out. I went to a walk in clinic because I didn’t think it was very serious. The doctor there informed me I would need to go to an ER so they could perform more tests & a CT scan. That’s when it hit me that it was something bigger than what I thought.
I left there & met up with a friend who drove me to the ER. I spent most of the afternoon hooked up to needles of some sort or another before finally getting my CT scan. After what seemed like years of waiting, a nurse finally came in & told me that I had “a softball size mass” & they were going to admit me to the hospital. I knew this mass shouldn’t be there but still really didn’t know what this all meant. I was told that the team of doctors/nurses were still trying to figure out what the mass was. Being part of the St Luke’s family, I felt confident that I was in the best care possible. I knew many of the doctors & nurses from having their kids. I spent the next day getting more tests…blood work, MRI, etc.
I don’t recall when they first told me it might be Cancer because I didn’t buy it at that point.
On July 31, I had surgery to remove what turned out to be a 3 pound tumor on my adrenal gland. The tumor, my adrenal gland & some fatty tissue were all removed & tested. I was told that by size it was stage 2 adrenal cortical carcinoma. Every thing else that was removed was not cancerous. I was very blessed & required no further treatment. I currently get scanned every 3 months to make sure nothing has grown back.
Around the time of my 15 month scan, I had noticed a weird spot on my face. It almost was like a colorless mole. I happen to babysit for one of the best dermatologist around & when I showed her she made me schedule an appointment to see her. I thought no way can it be anything serious, I’m 33 years old (at that time), skin cancer only happens to old people.
Well apparently it happens to old people & people like me who tanned in tanning beds & the sun all the time growing up, I even worked at a tanning salon! The biopsy cam back that in fact that spot was basal cell carcinoma. At 33 years old, I was diagnosed with my second Cancer?! Why? How?! Everyone wanting to tell me “oh you are fine, my grandpa/grandma had those all the time” or “my mom/dad gets those all the time. It’s no big deal.” Well excuse me for thinking differently. It is a big deal to me. Listen to what you are telling me. Your grandparents, your parents! They are twice my age. This shouldn’t happen to someone so young! That was the pill that I had the most trouble swallowing…33 years old and I had 2 cancers?
I had a very smooth, simple surgery on Wednesday January 7, 2015. I just got my stitches out on a Monday & am waiting for my steri strips to fall off.
After my first Cancer, I swore off tanning beds & even more so now. I will follow up with my dermatologist every three months to make sure no more spots appear on my face or else where. I wear SPF daily on my face, now an even stronger one. I can at this moment say
Reidy 2 Cancer 0.
We encourage all our clients to get your physical each year, see a dermatologist at least 1x per year more if you have been diagnosed with any abnormalities. Make sure you use a 30 sunscreen on you and your children year round. For more info: skincancer.org