My name is Meghan Koziel and on October 12, 2015, I received a phone call that would forever change my life. At the age of 26, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer Er/Pr + Her2 – stage 2B. I was later identified with a PALB2 genetic mutation.
At this time in my life, I was newly engaged, we just bought our first home, and we’re amidst planning our dream wedding. When I heard the words “you have cancer”, it was as if the ground was falling out from under my toes. I didn’t know what to say, who to tell, or what to do — my world went dark. After telling my now-husband, parents, siblings, and close friends “I have cancer” through text message (because that seemed like the easiest way to break the news)… Then started my journey into the world of being a patient with cancer!
A few days following my diagnosis, I was given a “plan”. Knowing I would be going through chemo and losing my hair, my husband and I decided to move up our dream wedding and were able to plan it with the help of our amazing friends and family in only 2 weeks! The following morning after our wedding day on October 31, 2015, we underwent egg retrieval for fertility preservation — this beginning my journey.
I was to undergo 16 rounds of chemotherapy (Adriamycin and Taxol) — I made it through 12 rounds prior to having severe allergic reactions, so I did NOT have a complete response to chemotherapy, 33 rounds of radiation (because I was placed into a trial requiring boost treatments due to my lymph node involvement), and countless surgeries including a double mastectomy and multiple reconstructions.
Two years following active treatments, I made the “risky move” to go off my anti-hormonal medications Lupron and Arimidex to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mom! To my husband and my surprise, 6 months later we found ourselves pregnant naturally! Our little miracle baby would be named after my amazing oncologist Dr. Jane Raymond who ultimately saved my life — and Kendra Jane Koziel was born September 15, 2018.
Mom life is everything and more of what I’ve always imagined. Mom life post-cancer, however, has its own list of challenges. Obviously, post mastectomies I was unable to breastfeed — and formula feeding is an additional expense. The constant fear of recurrence, post-treatment fatigue, and chemo brain still exists, and generalized anxiety is my daily battles. However, once my baby turned ONE I found a void in my life and spoke with my oncologist about trying for one more baby — of which her response was “this will be the last one”.
I was ecstatic. Just as before, I was weaned from my meds, awaited my cycle to return which took another 6 months, and my husband and I were surprised to fall pregnant again January 2020 — Makenzie Marie Koziel was born August 28, 2020, and our little family is finally complete!
Along with my blog: shesparkleson.com and Instagram, I’ve created a following and daily have people reaching out to me from all over the world for recommendations or just to talk because they are going through their own journeys. I am a full-time mom, licensed occupational therapist, and also work as a medical marijuana consultant and CBD advocate! I use my journey to share tips, tricks, and pics to encourage other women entering this community that they are not alone! 💕
(Disclaimer: This webpage may contain general information relating to various medical conditions and their treatment. Such information is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified health professional. Patients should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a health or fitness problem or disease. Patients should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice or information about diagnosis or treatment.)