AVON — The only indicator that feisty Megan Rosbottom has been battling cancer is her closely cropped hairdo. Rosbottom, who lives in Avon, was expecting her second child when she found a suspicious lump.
“At week 29 I found a lump in my arm pit,” she said. “I asked my OBGYN about it and she said it would probably go away. That it was probably just related to the pregnancy.
“I had Fiona on Dec. 28. Mid-January I found a lump on the right side of my breast. I forgot to mention it to my doctor so I showed it to my husband.”
She said her husband, Lucas, didn’t have a good feeling about the lump and asked her to call her doctor right away. The office staff worked quickly and got her in for a mammogram in just a few days.
“I found out on Valentine’s Day that the spot was cancer but that they caught it early,” Rosbottom said.
The surgeon wanted more images taken and more was found. Her first PET scan showed that there was a lump in her right breast but that the lymph nodes in the right armpit were also cancerous.
“They found a tumor,” she said. “So I went from thinking that this was found early to learning I had stage three cancer. All in one phone call.”
Her surgeon removed 20 lymph nodes and eight tested positive for cancer.
She started six rounds of chemo therapy on March 1.
“That was a roller coaster,” Rosbottom said. “I would go on Monday and be wiped out for a week. It was a very strange thing to go through. It’s hard to explain. I would feel terrible like the worst flu or morning sickness ever.”
She said she and her family relied on help from her mother-in-law and her stepmother. She and Lucas had their infant, Fiona, and they also have a 4-year-old daughter, Reese.
“I’ve never been so thankful for two people to be retired,” she said of mother-in-law and stepmother. “They’ve been there to help us through everything.”
On July 19, Rosbottom, 34, had a double mastectomy and had her ovaries removed.
“It was a five and a half hour surgery,” she said. “I was really nervous but so ready to be done with all that.”
Her oncologist has opted to treat her with the drug Herceptin, which she takes every three weeks for a year. She is currently receiving radiation treatments at Hendricks Regional Health Cancer Center in Avon.
“The radiation has been good,” Rosbottom said. “I have about six weeks of that left. We did find another spot at the end of August. So that’s another curve ball.”
She said one of the issues that really worried her was hair loss.
“I wanted to do it on my own,” she said. “I had shoulder-length hair and it didn’t start to fall out until my second chemo treatment.”
She said as soon as she saw the signs, she had her husband use the clippers and take all her hair off.
“We did it right there in our kitchen,” Rosbottom said. “I was nervous to show my 4-year-old. I didn’t want to scare her. So I wore a hat the first day.
“When I did show her, she said I looked like Fiona and that I looked silly,” she said. “She never really mentioned it again.”
Rosbottom does not have a family history of breast cancer but her mother died of kidney cancer when she was 39. She also has a family history of colon cancer.
She said trying to keep her spirits high has been a priority for them.
“When we learned it was stage three, we made a pact not to get on the Internet to check it out,” she said. “My doctors are great and we chose to believe that they are the experts and that they have my best interest at heart.”
She said one of the difficult things she had to do was to tell her friends and family about her diagnosis. Rosbottom has lived in Avon for three years and originally had been from the Evansville area. Her friends from Evansville have started a Race for the Cure team in her honor.
“There were definitely some emotional phone calls that were no fun to make,” Rosbottom said.
Eva Burgan is a nurse at the Hendricks Regional Health Cancer Center. She has come to know Rosbottom very well.
“You know, when you see patients like Megan every day, it really gives you a different perspective on life,” Burgan said. “You don’t really sweat the small stuff.”
She said she feels honored to work closely with the breast cancer patients.
“You see so much courage here and Megan is a perfect example,” she said. “When I think about a hero, I think of people like Megan, not some basketball player or football player.”