You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
The lyrics from Carole King’s song “Beautiful” helped Megan Hill get through a tough day during cancer treatment.
Hill, 40, of Lawrence, couldn’t go to a football game one Saturday with her family, and she remembers feeling disappointment.
"I stayed home and everyone else went to the football game," she said. “I couldn’t go do these normal things."
Rather than getting down about it, she used the song to find happiness.
“It just brought a huge smile to my face,” she said. “It helped me to see that I’ve just got to be positive.”
Hill was 38 in October 2013 when she received a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ breast cancer, the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer, according to breastcancer.org.
During the course of her treatment at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the communication staff reached out to ask if she would be willing to participate in the hospital’s breast cancer awareness campaign.
The hospital adapted her blog from the cancer support website caringbridge.org, and the result is Megan’s Journal. The entries follow Hill’s path from the moment she found a lump in her breast to the final surgery for breast reconstruction and her return to work at KU Endowment.
She had her last chemo treatment on Jan. 23, 2014 (“Funny you remember these dates,” she said), and in late March that year returned to working in the office at Endowment. She had her final breast reconstruction surgery in April that year.
“I’ve been healthy and working and back in the normal swing of things ever since,” Hill said.
She did have a scare with her recent annual mammogram. Her health care providers identified a mass in her healthy breast, so she had another mammogram, then an ultrasound. Next, she had an MRI.
“So that was a couple of weeks of not knowing whether I had cancer again,” she said. “That was tough but you dig in your heels and try to stay positive.”
The news was good: The mass was a swollen, benign lymph node, much to Hill’s relief.
“I had finally gotten back to my life, and the last thing I ever want to do is go through that again," she said.
Hill recognizes the tremendous network of support that kept her and her son, who was 12 at the time of her diagnosis, going.
“My employer, my co-workers, all of my friends, I had so much help and support around me, and love,” she said. “That’s really what made the difference for me. I was not alone, for sure.”
She also credits her oncologist, Sharon Soule, her surgeons and team at LMH for taking such good care of her.
“What a great resource we have for cancer care in Lawrence," she said.
Megan Hill, a breast cancer survivor who is now cancer free, has maintained a positive outlook on life throughout her treatment.