When Megan Badon and her husband Ben said their wedding vows on April 27, they got emotional when the “in sickness and in health” line came up.
“Both of us had to pause. It meant so much more because we knew we were really about to go through hell,” Badon said. “It just made that day so much more meaningful because we were going into this knowing we were about to start newlywed life different from anyone else.”
Just three weeks before, Megan, 30, had been diagnosed with Stage One, triple-negative breast cancer. This type of cancer is particularly aggressive and fast-moving, and doctors told Megan she needed to start treatment immediately.
Megan had first noticed a lump in her left breast in December 2018. It wasn’t causing her pain or other problems, so she dismissed it as a possible cyst or calcium deposit. On her bachelorette trip in March, she felt tired and nauseous for “72 hours straight,” but didn’t connect the symptoms to the lump until it became extremely painful in early April.
Badon called her doctor on a Thursday and scheduled an appointment for Friday morning. The doctor recommended a mammogram and sent Badon to a nearby imaging center. There, an ultrasound was also conducted, and the technician soon called for a radiologist.
“At that point, I knew something was wrong,” Badon said. “It was probably 10 minutes before he opened his mouth and he said he wanted a biopsy. That’s when they asked if there was anybody I could call to come sit with me. I just lost it. I started bawling right there.”
Badon’s then-fiance and mother soon arrived and were there for the diagnosis. They also learned that the type of chemotherapy Badon would need would likely kill her eggs and almost certainly eliminate the possibility of her and Ben having biological children. Their option was to freeze Megan’s eggs before chemotherapy started.
“I had one day to decide if we were going to go through with fertility treatments, because they wanted to start chemo right away,” she said.
Megan and Ben consulted with Dr. Neil Chappell of Fertility Answers, and Megan began taking injections to prepare for the freezing process. She wavered at one point, since medical bills were already piling up and the treatments were becoming overwhelming. Ultimately, she decided to continue with the fertility treatments.
“I didn’t want to look back one day and think that I should have gone through with it,” she said. “My husband and I talked and decided we were going to push through and figure out how to pay for it later. I was doing injections for fertility 30 minutes before I walked down the aisle.”
The wedding went through smoothly, but the Badons had to postpone a honeymoon. They were married on a Saturday. Megan had surgery to insert a chemotherapy port the following Wednesday. She underwent the egg retrieval procedure on May 4 and began chemotherapy on May 7. On September 27, she rang the bell signaling her last chemo treatment.
Badon said her prognosis is good, although her type of cancer does have a higher than normal risk of reoccurring elsewhere in the body. Through Fertility Answers, they were able to freeze 14 of Megan’s eggs for when she and Ben decide to start a family. Because of the treatment, the eggs won’t be able to be implanted until at least 2021.
“He is the steady one. He’s always calm, cool and collected,” Megan said of her husband. “He never cracked at all. I don’t know how he does it. He has seen me at my very lowest. I was sicker than I’ve ever been. He’s just been my saving grace through this whole thing.”
If Badon has any regrets, it’s that she didn’t listen to herself when she first found the lump in December. Like many young women, the idea of breast cancer wasn’t on the mind of someone just turning 30.
“No matter how minor something seems, you need to get it checked,” she said. “Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what is going on in your life. It touches who it touches. I didn’t think anything like this would ever happen to me, and in a day, my life was completely turned upside down. If something doesn’t feel right, get it checked.”