Feb 14, 2020
Meghan Waterman, a 21 year old cancer patient shared her story and gratitude at the Fortis gift announcement. Here is what she had to say.
My name is Meghan Waterman, and I am a 21-year-old student at Memorial University and a patient at the cancer care unit. A couple of weeks before my 20th birthday, I received a call that would change my life. I was told that I had an appointment that very same day at the cancer care unit. I kept pushing it off, thinking that it is just a precautionary appointment, but I couldn’t stop thinking: Why would they call if I didn’t have cancer? As I sat there in the waiting room filling out an emotional distress survey, I couldn’t stop thinking: Why would I fill this out if I didn’t have cancer? As the nurse walked me into the room and gave me her number while saying she will be there for me if I needed anything at all, I thought: Why would she say this if I didn’t have cancer? My worries were confirmed a few minutes later, when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and told that I would be starting chemotherapy the following week.
A cancer diagnosis, at any age, is terrifying. Although I didn’t feel overly scared at first- as a young adult, I felt cheated. I finally found my path and started the program that I worked so hard to get accepted into, and now my life is turned upside down, and I was unsure if I even had a future to be excited for. I went through four months of chemotherapy, and halfway through, I started on immunotherapy- a treatment I am still currently receiving. The chemotherapy was hard because no matter how much information you’re given on the side effects of the drugs, you never know how your body would react. But for me, the hardest part of this has been the mental aspect. After my first round of chemotherapy, I found out that my diagnosis changed to a form of ovarian cancer much worse than we initially thought. I left the appointment that day and got dropped off to my boyfriend’s house. I went in there thinking that we were going to break up, because how is it fair to make him continue to love someone that only has a 30% chance of survival? How do you tell your loved ones that? It broke my heart, even more, to tell my friends and family this news than it did hearing it for myself. Unfortunately, this is all part of the disease, and I had to be there for my loved ones just as much as they were there for me because cancer affects everyone.
I became quite familiar with the cancer care unit very quickly, but it was a place that was filled with fear and anxiety. It was where I found out my life was in danger, where my hair started falling out, and the place that changed everything. As I continued as a patient, I started talking more and more with the staff, and that fear and anxiety started to fade away. You can tell that they care about their patients, and this support is essential. Everyone you encounter treats you with a warm and positive attitude that brings great comfort to the experience. This comfort pushed me to continue with my life as normally as I could, something that every cancer patient strives to achieve. Since I felt so comfortable being in that environment, I was able to study during my treatments and in between clinic appointments, which allowed me to continue university. The environment that the cancer care team provide changed my experience with cancer for the better. Even on the day where I was diagnosed, I have a memory that I will cherish forever. While I was processing everything, my doctor had just told me, a nurse that was in the room with me said, “she’s so sweet.”. This might seem like a meaningless comment to some, but it means everything to me. I am now able to look back and remember that someone made me smile while I was finding out that I had cancer. I now have a loving memory within a terrible one.
Fast forward a year and a half, and I am still here today. I am still a patient receiving treatment, but I am now an honors psychology student studying the psycho-social effects of cancer on patients, and I am still on track to graduate in 2021. I still have fears of my future, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about everything that has happened and what could happen, but I don’t let that stop me from living the life I want. There is no doubt in my mind that my life would be very different right now if it weren’t for my cancer care team who fought so hard for me through every step of the way.
Mr. Perry, I would like to thank you and the Fortis company from the bottom of my heart for your very generous donation on behave of everyone who encounters cancer here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Because of your generosity and kindness, the cancer care team can continue to save and changes the lives of their patients and future patients, and are a huge step closer to building the new cancer care unit of the future that will allow for the staff and patients to work together and make fighting this battle a little bit easier. You are helping to change and save the lives of thousands of cancer patients, and that is something we will be forever grateful for.
Please click on the link to read more about this generous donation for cancer care.