November 13, 2013

Supermom and Cancer Survivor

Rachel Smith Photography is back again and she is also a new VENDOR to join A Military Story. These photos Rachel has shared along with Misha's story is absolutely amazing and you must read all of it, so get comfy and be prepared for a story of strength & inspiration! First from Rachel, "I wanted to hear stories from moms who had overcome challenges while staying strong for their children no matter the circumstances. So, I did what I do when I get that heavy heart and offered a contest for supermoms. The stories started coming in and I was overwhelmed with all of the amazing strong mothers. However, there was one supermom who stuck out with such an AMAZING story and I was overwhelmed with emotion while reading her story. Misha Egan was her name and let's just say she touched MANY because she won by a long mile with lots of people voting for her - people who didn't even know her but were touched by her story. Reading her story, having the honor of photographing such a strong woman & mother, was SUCH an inspiration to myself and Briana with Makeup by Briana who donated her services as well by doing the makeup and hair for the shoot. Her story is a good reminder that no matter how bad you think you have it and no matter how much you feel like giving up, you can get through it!"
"Hi there ~ My name is Misha Egan. I am a 28 year old survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma and mommy to two incredible children! I was lucky enough to win a SUPERMOM contest given by the lovely Rachel Smith Photography! My wonderful friend nominated me without my knowledge and to my surprise I won! I wanted to share my story with y'all not just so you can get a little insight of what I went through but so that you may know that you too can get through whatever it is you are going through! Rise above it, overcome it and be the best YOU, you can be! Trust me there were many days that didn't seem possible, but I look back now on what I went through and thankfully its just a distant memory! 
After a bout with pneumonia I went in for what I thought was a routine cat scan to make sure it was gone. When I came out of the scan they told me I needed to see my primary Dr. immediately. I started crying not knowing what was going on. The Radiologist sat me down and showed me the images, he said these are tumors in your chest, if they are cancerous you'll need chemo. Without anything more he had the assistant walk me out to my husband and 4 month old son who were waiting for me. I was terrified with the information I had and went straight to the Dr., where I left again without an answer. A few days later I got a call from the Oncology Department at Balboa Navel Medical Center, they had received my case and I had an appointment. I was lucky enough to have my parents, husband and son at my appointment when the Dr informed me he was 95% sure I had Hodgkin 's Lymphoma. A biopsy to a lymph nod in my neck and a Pet Scan later I was officially diagnosed with Hodgkin 's Lymphoma stage 2B. What they thought was pneumonia was actually two baseball size tumors in my chest.

I started chemo in Jan of 2010 just shy of my 25th birthday. Chemo took it s toll on me. I had almost every side effect you can think of. Body pain and weakness making it almost impossible to get off the floor, sever bone pain, mouth sores making it hard to eat or drink anything. Severe constipation, extremely low white blood count causing me to have to give myself shots, food tasting weird, Hair lose, fatigue. I was on 21 different medications, some chemo but most managing my side affects making me in a somewhat painless state of living.

After 2 months of chemo therapy I receive my 2nd PET scan to see how my cancer was reacting to the chemo. My Dr. called later that night and said he had some good news and some interesting news. Good news is your cancer is responding very well. Interesting news is there was a fetus in your uterus. I was pregnant. Which wasn t good during chemo. He said we are almost positive there wont be a heart beat as we had created an environment a baby cannot survive in. I had to go in the next day to verify the heart beat or lack of a schedule the removal of what they thought would be a lifeless fetus. To their surprise and mine they found a strong heart beat and that i was 15 weeks along. I am now the proud mama of a heathy little girl. I continued on with my chemo and had my last treatment on April 30, 2010, 3 days after my husband deployed to Afghanistan. 

5 months later I had our daughter and a month later started radiation treatment. For me radiation was worse than chemo. The radiation was given to me on my chest and back over some major organs and my esophagus. Causing me to be very weak and tired. Also causing ulcers in my esophagus making it literally impossible to eat of drink anything. This landed me in the hospital several times. Coming home after one for my stays in the hospital during radiation My brother had to help me up the stairs where I had to stop to rest on the landing and sit down at the top to catch my breath before making it into my room. I lay in my bed and thought I was going to die. I was terrified that I was going to die alone that night, never see husband make it home from Afghanistan and leave my children with out a mommy. At that moment I looked inside myself and pulled what little strength I had left out of me and keep living! . But When you have children and those of you who do, know that you don t have a choice but to keep living for them! People always ask how I m so brave and I tell them its not about being brave its about doing what you need to do to win!

I finished my radiation 1 day prior to my husbands homecoming. And I am now in Complete Remission,going on 3 years come March 2014. Ive been living everyday enjoying my son who is now 4, my daughter who is now 3 and my husband. Although I still struggle daily from medical issues that seem to be caused from the chemo and radiation, I ve learned from having cancer, I allowed myself to be a student of life throughout my journey. I challenge you whether you have cancer another sickness, a death in your family, or any other low point in your life to also be a student of life. Look at everything as a lesson. Write a blog or a journal to channel your pain. Surround yourself with those who love you. Share your story with other so they may learn from you and enjoy everything!

Laugh with those you love. Walk barefoot on the beach and dance to the music in 
The grocery store. But most of all never give up! - Misha Egan"

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