Breast Cancer, a Convertible, and a Zest for Life

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By Meg McCormick

When I learned I had a stage 4 breast cancer, I decided not let it rob me of the opportunities to enjoy my life. I still have a physically active, socially engaged lifestyle, and if you have metastatic breast cancer, so can you.

I was first diagnosed in 2004, and had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. I continued on hormonal medications for five years, and two years later, my cancer came back.

Meg McCormick, far right, with her “rocks.” Left to right are her nurse Jennifer McKenna, her sister Maura, and her wife Carla.

I consulted Eric Winer, MD, one of the leaders in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, and in January 2012, began treatment at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center [DF/BWCC]. Seeing a world-famous oncologist helped ease my mind. An added bonus was the chance to reconnect with nurse practitioner Jennifer McKenna, RN, MSN, AOCNP, who had provided my care eight years earlier, when I was treated at another Boston hospital. Jen had moved to DF/BWCC in 2008.

Jen is one of my three rocks. The other two are my wife, Carla Osberg, and my twin sister Maura, who moved from California to be near me.

I visit DF/BWCC regularly for hormonal therapy to combat the estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer that has spread to my bones. My treatment includes Letrozole, an aromatase inhibitor.

I have several fun ways of traveling the mile and a half from my house in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood to my appointments at DF/BWCC. I walk, bicycle, or drive my sporty black convertible with the top down. Even on a cold winter day, I just turn on the heat and warm the seats!

Between treatments Carla and I take trips, entertain friends, and enjoy athletic activities. We like to have fun. We visit Carla’s parents in California, and we frequently visit Provincetown and other Cape Cod havens.

I’m a union journeyman carpenter and I did have to leave my job as a home energy auditor. The physical demands were too intense. But I still offer home improvement advice to friends and family members.

Of course I have moments of apprehension but I am eager to embrace the chance for a quick laugh or a new adventure. If you’re always down in the dumps, always woe-is-me, it’s not going to help you. You have to have a good attitude.

17 Comments:

  1. Love your story!! Four years ago I had stage 2 Melanoma. Six month later breast cancer. DCIS. My Dad just passed away from Lung cancer. I am the youngest in my family 48 and the first to have breast cancer. Since then, a cousin and 2 Aunts have had it. I come from MA but live in Louisiana. I was not able to take tamoxifen. I had tumors last year which led to a total hysterectomy. I will be praying for you. I know I got in survival mode each time. It’s awesome to have wonderful people behind you. I too have had awesome friends and family. I am a teacher. So it’s nice to have the whole school praying for me. Then all of us doing the first Susan Komen walk in Alexandria together as a school. We surround ourselves with positive and we’ll be positive. Good LUCK!! God has a plan.

    • Hi Sue- thanks for the message. Not sure
      What’s up in LA but Boston is still great. I am
      really doing well, especially cuz I have a good
      attitude. My car is Tudie!
      Best, Meg

  2. You are inspirational. Your situation is similar to mine. My cancer decided to spread to spine ect. But, I’m still here and able to make the most of life. My wonderful husband and 3 boys are my motivators. DF/BW and Faulkner have been awesome. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Great story. When my wife finished her cancer treatments we went and got her a car she had always dreamed of too. 109K miles later they are both going strong.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Curtiss

  4. Your story is very inspirational. Breast cancer has lots of treatment today, the only thing is we have to be strong to face cancer.

  5. Thanks for sharing! Your story is inspiring, as I was recently dx with stage 4 BC with bone mets at age 32. I am not giving up with out at fight, whatever it takes. I’m in NH on the seacoast but also have fantastic physicians at DF. My husband came up with a motto for us Moore Fight Moore Strong!

    • Hi Jessica-
      You are way to young but I believe you have
      fight in you to. There is to much still to do, right!
      Living on the seashore is awesome for the soul
      I think, I could never not be near the water.
      Best of luck to you, keep in touch if you would
      like, just remind me by just saying NH Seashore
      Jessica!! Be well Stay Strong, as you are.
      Meg

  6. Meg is my rock my best friend and my inspiration! So proud of you Meg ROCK ON!
    me

  7. I love your positive outlook! I was first diagnosed with ER+ PR+ HER2+ breast cancer at the age of 36 in 2010. I had 6 months of chemo, 2 lumpectomies and radiation. In June 2013 I found out that the cancer had spread to my sternum and one rib.

    I am traveling from Maine to Dana Farber every 3 weeks for treatment with Herceptin and Zometa. I have a great network of friends and family that are a great support for me.

    I am trying to stay positive and not let this diagnosis get me down, although sometimes it does get the best of me. I am continuing to live my life as I always have and try to look at it as managing cancer, just as I would if I had diabetes or some other chronic condition.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Jenny

    • Hi Jennifer-
      Thanks for sharing your story as well. I to try
      To live my life as normal as possible too.
      We have to stay strong and positive. I want to
      Be around for a long time. If I am tiyad I take
      a nap, ya know. Try not to over do it but..
      My best to you and yours, Meg

  8. you’re an inspiration to many women! I am a 4 year survivor of an aggressive invasive form of Breast Cancer who is always looking over her shoulder…I hope to one day stop looking there. It’s interesting to hear from Jennifer (message above)that DF is using Zometa, my Dr. had discontinued using it for me saying that it was no longer used for breast cancer…against my wishes as I am willing to do whatever it takes to prevent it from ever coming back. All the best to you, your rocks, and all the other women on here who are dealing with BC!

    • Terry-
      Be strong, don’t look over your shoulder. Live
      your life

      • Sorry got cut off- keep up what you are doing
        to have a Good Life. We deserve it. As far as
        Zometa, who knows why they use it for one
        and not the other. I find it makes me more
        Dense, bones that is.
        Be well, Meg

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