2016 Review: My Scars are Beautiful

2016, you have taught me that my scars are beautiful! I started the year bald as Mr. Clean! Much of the year I battled accepting my “new” cancer look as every strand of hair left my body… and I mean every strand! I worked my way into February as I battled severe reactions to chemo, practically scaring my family half to death each time they would pump the poison through my port. I finished 12 rounds of chemo, then had my double mastectomy in April. Oh I almost forgot, my Tata to the tatas party! My hair slowly began to grown back and soon enough I looked like a chinchilla! My sister of course helped me through as her locks grew back after she shaved her head late last year, we battled the awkward stages together! I went through many painful expander fills then faced my next cancer hurdle of 30 rounds of intensive radiation! Now we cant forget our dear puppers Izzy beating cancer as well! He too went through two rounds of chemo and multiple major surgeries… we are both so blessed to be cancer free today!  I had begun battling many of the residual treatment side effects like fatigue, hot flashes, and pain, then I was forced to find a new job towards the end of summer because working in acute care was just too much for my damaged body. Luckily, I accepted my dream job working with kids come September! Finally, life was restarting! 

Now lets not just focus on the woooohs of 2016, John and I actually found time to do some trAveling! Thanks to our amazing family, we were able to go on a honeymoon cruise and it was so amazing to get away! We also visited Wildwood, NYC, and Canada! We went to multiple Pittsburgh based team games, and always found something fun to do together, with friends, and family! John was in two weddings, and I was in two different weddings, each was a celebration of love and we were so blessed to take part in those special days! Team SparkleOn even got to run in its very 1st 5K race in Pittsburgh, and I must say that my super hero cape from my alma mater Misericordia University just made the day unforgettable!Come Fall, I had the opportunity to attend Jamies Dream Team 2nd annual gala where I got to do my 1st major speech, and yes I cried through the whole thing! I even had the opportunity to return to Misericordia University, my alma mater and speak about breast cancer!I have kept up with my blog http://www.shesparkleson.com and have found myself becoming more and more of an advocate to other lovely survivors! 

I think the biggest thing that 2016 has taught me is that I am beautiful. I am beautiful from the inside out. Stripped of my hair, lashes, lipstick, and foundation… I am me! It doesnt matter how much makeup I wear, what designer shoes are on my feet, how my highlights look, or if Im wearing sweatpants in public… if someone doesnt take the time to know me before judging me from the outside, than they aren’t worth it! 2016 has taught me to be one tough cookie, and truthfully I dont think I would have ever become this Meghan without my cancer journey! I say it all the time, cancer has truly saved my life by making me a better ME!

I have an absolutely amazing husband! Like I cant even explain how freakin thankful I am to have you in my life! When I was bald you loved me, when I was swollen from steroids you loved me! Boobs or no boobs, you loved me! You have done research, have been to every appointment and surgery, you have lost hoursssss of sleep because you were worried about me being in pain so you would wake me up every few hours. Not to mention working, cleaning, cooking, and dealing with Izzy! I cant imagine my life without you, thank you and I love you! 

My parents, I am so blessed to have you two in my life. Now I’m not gonna say that we haven’t had our share of arguments, however I truly feel that this year tested our whole family, and I was given the opportunity to see first handedly how a parent would drop their life to be by my side. I have no idea how much money I even owe my dad for everything hes helped with this past year and weve done sooo many things together, the memories are truly unforgettable! And mom, you spent an entire month away from your life to help me when I was having cold sweats and nauseous from chemo! Oh, and thanks for the awkward shopping trips when weird old women would pray over my bald head… awkward! But truly, i could not have survived 2016 without the two of you! Thank you, and I love you!

To my little sister Jill, my rock and partner in crime! You have been there for me for every single part of this past year whether it be trying on wigs, yelling for the nurse to save me as I couldnt breath, or to wipe my tears before or after a surgery because I was scared or in pain. You drove all the way to Pittsburgh, soooo many times just to be with me, and it meant the world to me! Last year, when you shaved off your freakin hair just to help me through the hardest part of the cancer journey battling baldness, I still cant believe you did that! But, this year, you rocked that short hair and still help me daily to feel pretty in my new skin! Whether you were taking pictures of me or Izzy, you gave me memories I will have forever! Thank you, and I love you!

To my in laws and brother! Bet you would have never expected this past year to go the way it did after last years magical wedding! I am so thankful I am now part of your family! You have taught me to love with my entire heart, and you have loved me, accepted my family, and have been there to hold my hand throughout this entire journey! Thank you for the endless dinners you’ve paid for, and the countless memories and laughs! Thank you, and I love you!

My best friends, and a special shout out to my cousin Cindy, best friends Dustin, Amy, BFF Greg… thank you for standing by my side. If I had an appointment, surgery, or simply a bad day… you all in your own way loved me and my family and helped us to make it through some of the hardest times! I truly forever owe you thanks! Thank you, and I love you all!

Finally, my followers, aquantences, and other cancer sisters… I could not have made it through this year without you! Thank you for loving me and supporting my journey to #sparkleon!

2016 sucked alot but it was wonderful all at the same time! I cant say I would ever want to relive this past year… but if I had to, I would use my lessons this past year to strive and overcome like I do everything in life! This year, I have learned to love myself! I love my family. I love helping other people like me battling this awful disease! I love my job and being an Occupational Therapist. I truly love my life! So 2017, I know for a fact you could never beat out 2016… so I dare you, bring it on, but please be kind! 

Xo Meg