By Kasey Richards, Staff Writer
Sitting at a table in the middle of the library she was relaxed with her hands crossed, portraying a contagious smile that went from ear to ear.
“Ask any question you want,” said senior cancer survivor Megan Staples.
Her hands slowly tensed up and fell to her side. Her contagious smile soon disappeared. Without worrying about the many eyes and ears around the library that were on her, she took a deep breath and began to tell her story.
“So it began the spring of 2012,” said Staples, “I was a senior in high school. I noticed this bruise like spot on the top of my left leg… I assumed it was sports related.” A few weeks later, Staples noticed that bumps had appeared under the bruise.
According to Staples, doctors then tested and treated her for lyme disease. The reality however, was that this small pesky bruise was much larger than lyme disease. The ultrasounds showed that there were five swollen lymph nodes under the bruise.
“I then went to a dermatologist who took a biopsy of the spot,” said Staples as she exhaled heavily. A year after the original bruise appeared, the dermatologist called her mother at work with the life changing news.
“It was Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma,” said Staples who surprisingly did not show much emotion with this tough and touchy statement. Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma (CTCL) is a rare type of lymphoma that affects the skin.
“I was in shock, didn’t know what to do, didn’t know what to say… I felt fine and had no symptoms of cancer at all. I was so confused,” said Staples as she paused and slowly shook her head. “I was then given the option of 15 rounds of a lower dosage of radiation or to receive two rounds of very high doses of radiation. Being here and in the middle of classes, I chose the two rounds.” Staples was extremely tired and in pain due to the radiation but during that time, she never missed a class. “It was awful, but somehow I did it,” she said with great enthusiasm.
“Since August of 2014, I have been in remission,” Staples said as the contagious smile finally re-appears and lights up the atmosphere. Once every year, she travels to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for a check-up.
“The Relay for Life event begins with a very special walk,” said junior Relay for Life treasurer Megan Broderick. “This first lap is where all of the survivors walk.” This is how Broderick really got to know Staples. “It is so brave of Meg to come to this event and to open up about the fact that she is a cancer survivor,” said Broderick. “Meg is very proud to be a cancer survivor and it shows in the work she does and the money she raises.”
With her smile back for everyone to see and her hands relaxed and crossed on the table, Staples talks about how she tries to find the positive in everything. “I’m overall a happy person and really appreciate the small things in life,” said Staples. “Sounds funny, but cancer really did have a positive impact on my life.”