A Homerun for Megan
Mayo Clinic Health System allows a patient recovering from cancer to get her follow up care closer to her home.By Mayo Clinic Staff
Megan Brooks had a serious and complex surgery in Rochester, Minnesota, followed by radiation and chemotherapy in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, closer to her home.
Megan Brooks was having lunch with her husband after a doctor's appointment when she received a call from her gynecologist, Suzette Peltier, M.D., at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
A biopsy had revealed cervical cancer. "I was in disbelief," says the 32-year-old business owner and mother of two. "I couldn't talk."
"She told me to come back," Megan continues. "She said, 'We need to deal with this right now. We need a game plan.'"
Megan was just 29 at the time. The cancer was moving to her lymph nodes, and time was of the essence. Less than three weeks after diagnosis, Megan underwent a robot-assisted hysterectomy as well as removal of her lymph nodes at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Megan's follow-up scans looked good, and she felt she was in the clear.
But a few months later, Megan was having pelvic pain and went to the Emergency Department. An MRI showed a mass, and a biopsy revealed that Megan's cancer had returned. She says getting the news again was overwhelming, but she was optimistic.
"Everyone had done a good job the first time identifying and taking care of it," Megan says. "But I'll admit I was scared when I learned I needed to have chemotherapy and radiation therapy."
The fact that Megan's cancer had returned quickly called for aggressive treatment, says Larry R. Past, M.D., Megan's radiation oncologist at the Albert J. and Judith A. Dunlap Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire.
Megan received radiation and chemotherapy in Eau Claire and a specialized radiation treatment called brachytherapy in Rochester. That seamless coordination of care is an advantage for cancer patients, Dr. Past says.
In addition to Drs. Past and Peltier, Megan is thankful for the care she received from oncologist Eyad Sufian Al-Hattab, M.D., in Eau Claire, and radiation oncologist Ivy A. Petersen, M.D., and gynecological oncologist Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, M.D., in Rochester.
"I couldn't ask for better doctors," Megan says.
After a scan showed she was again cancer-free, Megan says her family and friends helped push her to rejoin life. Megan bought a new business, and in June 2018, she and her care team were honored with a special tribute called Home Run for Life at an Eau Claire Express baseball game, sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System. Megan ran the bases with her two sons while her husband awaited her at home plate with a big hug and a bouquet of flowers.
"They were always there for me," Megan says. "I was surrounded by the love of my family. The Cancer Center nurses are some of my friends now."
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