Meg Keating's Wonderful Life After Brain Cancer Diagnosis

Northwestern Medicine
Cancer Care/Oncology May 08, 2014
The Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute will be the official charity and sponsor of the Chicago Spring Half Marathon on May 18. The race is being held during Brain Tumor Awareness month and aims not only to raise funds for the NBTI but to also educate the public and honor patients and caregivers who face difficult challenges with courage and grace. Leading up to the race, we’ll introduce you to some of these amazing patients, doctors and families.

Here’s Meg’s story:

Six years ago, Meg Keating’s had a seizure while out to lunch with co-workers and her life changed forever. She was diagnosed with a glioblastoma – an advanced and aggressive brain tumor. Her next steps included a brain surgery and months of chemo medications and radiation treatments.  
Instead of giving up, Meg, 28, decided she was stronger than her brain tumor and ran the 2008 Chicago Marathon. Today, 6 1/2 years later, Meg is still running, dating a great guy and mentoring newly diagnosed patients. 

“There is life after a brain cancer diagnosis, and it can be wonderful,” said Meg, who lives in Chicago.
“It has been nearly two years since I wrote my first blog post in celebration of Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and nearly six-and-a-half years since my diagnosis of a glioblastoma (GBM) brain tumor.  I am thrilled to report that I joyfully continue to defy the odds and statistics typically associated with a GBM diagnosis, with a heart full of gratitude for my miraculous wellness and a steely resolve to dedicate my continued fight to dear friends I have lost to brain tumors along this journey and those who continue to fight for survival until a cure is found!

People often ask me what my secret is as to why I am doing so well, so many years post-diagnosis. I wish it was that easy; that I had the plan for keeping GBMs at bay, complication-free, and if I did, I would tell EVERYONE!!!  No one has the answers; not even my brilliant medical team of Mary Ellen Maher, RN, and Dr. James Chandler.  I believe it is a combination of amazing medical care, a positive attitude, a great amount of miracle, wonderful support, care and prayers from family and friends, and that I still have lots of work to do here – a large part of which I believe is being an example of thriving survivorship to inspire and provide hope for terrified, newly-diagnosed people.  There is life after a brain cancer diagnosis, and it can be wonderful!

Speaking of wonderful, I have been dating a fantastic guy for over two years now, and my brain tumor has never been an issue in our relationship.  It can be a big challenge dating after a cancer diagnosis – when/how to inform someone new about your cancer, how much to divulge; and I tell people that it is a very personal decision.  I certainly do not feel like I am defined by my cancer diagnosis, but it is a significant part of my life and who I am now, so telling John seemed only natural after a few dates.  Besides, if someone is going to be in my life, I need to know they can handle this part of it. 

I still enjoy attending the monthly meetings of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute support group to provide hope and inspiration to all the newly-diagnosed people who come seeking any/all of the above.  I am still involved with Imerman Angels as a “Mentor Angel," providing support to fighters (mostly women) newly diagnosed with a GBM.  I was recently matched up with two fighters and one caregiver here in Chicago, and have enjoyed providing face-to-face support over delicious brunches, as well as phone calls and emails."

Meg will be running the Chicago Spring Half Marathon/10K on May 18.  Meg’s nurse Mary Ellen Maher and her neurosurgeon, James Chandler, MD, have both been by Meg’s side throughout her brain cancer journey and will also be joining her in the race.

Read more about the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute.
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