At 19 years old, Meghan Watermann was living life to the fullest. She was working hard, playing hard, enjoying the joys and freedoms of young adult life. Between studying, keeping fit, and spending time with friends and family, she was a busy young woman, working towards a psychology degree.
A few months before her 20th birthday, Meghan began experiencing abdominal pain, which led to an emergency room visit. An MRI revealed a suspicious solid mass on her left ovary and she was rushed into emergency surgery to have it removed. While recovering from surgery at her home in Torbay, NL, she received a life-changing phone call. It was from the Cancer Centre.
“That phone call was the start of everything,” she recalled. “I was diagnosed with small cell hypercalcemic carcinoma of the ovary.”
Meghan’s life dramatically changed. Her days of working out at the gym, hanging out with friends, and studying in the coffee shop were replaced with chemotherapy appointments and immunotherapy treatments. She experienced many side effects from cancer treatment, including hair loss.
“I lost all of my hair pretty quickly, just over a week after I finished my first round of treatment,” she said. “I cut my hair shorter so I could ease my way into the big shave. I believe that this helped me but it was still very difficult seeing it fall out. It was scary thinking about making my illness visible to the world, but eventually it had to happen. Once the shave was over and I processed my emotions, I found that there were many pros of having a shaved head and I started to appreciate them instead of focusing on my old hair. Once some time had passed, I learned to love my lil’ bald head.”
Meghan has since finished chemotherapy, but is continuing with immunotherapy treatments.
Today, 21-year-old Meghan has seen first-hand the realities of having cancer as a young adult.
“I believe that, as young adults, we have a lot to think about and deal with that other ages will not often have to worry about,” she said. “This is a stage in life where you are figuring out who you want to be or you’re working on getting there. It is hard enough to be in this chapter of your life being perfectly healthy, but adding cancer into it causes even more trouble. It is hard to think about or pursue starting a career or family, chasing your dreams, or anything you have planned for your future when the future might not be clear anymore.”
Meghan bravely shared the news of her cancer diagnosis on social media, where she received a flood of support. One of those supporters was DC Design House Inc. Creative Director, Don-E Coady, who commented on Meghan’s Instagram post, “Sending love. Reach out to Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) – they exist to help you through!”
Meghan had known about Shave for the Brave since she was in elementary school and she jumped on board when given the opportunity to connect the Shave to the life-changing work of YACC.
She said, “I decided to be an ambassador because I love the positive message that the Shave shares. Any chance to make a positive change in something that is so negative is an amazing thing to participate in.”
Meghan has a special message for all of our 2020 Shavers;
“I want people to know that no matter if you are shaving your hair for the cause, hosting an event, donating, sharing the message, or any other kind of support, we are so grateful for you and the love that you give. Cancer affects everyone that it surrounds, but we can all fight it together.”