Despite the odds, young Rockton woman fights cancer for the - – Rockford’s News Leader

Despite the odds, young Rockton woman fights cancer for the second time

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Megan Mikals Megan Mikals
Megan's son, Caeson Megan's son, Caeson

According to the National Cancer Institute, that's how many new cases of thyroid cancer America's seen this year so far. A young Rockton woman puts a face to that statistic. She's been diagnosed twice since January 2013.

21 year-old Megan Mikals says the last 10 months have been a struggle. After radiation treatment this past spring, doctors said there was a 1% chance of her cancer coming back. Last month, it did.

"I go to bed at night not even knowing if I'm going to wake up." -Megan says.

If you see a smile on her face, thank her 15-month old son, Caeson. Through this experience, he's the one giving her hope. She's a single mom, but Megan says, with cancer, she can't raise Caeson alone.

"I can't even sleep. When I do sleep, it's hard for me to wake up. I can't even get out of bed. I can sometimes hear my son when he wakes up in the middle of the night, sometimes I don't because I'm so physically drained. Just last night, I couldn't sleep and my mom had to help me because my son wouldn't sleep and I can't physically stay awake."

If she wasn't sick, Megan says she'd go to school, have a job and support her son.

"I just feel like a burden on everybody for helping me because it's not their job. My parents already raised their kids."

Next week, Megan will schedule her second surgery with a specialist in Chicago. Then, another round of radiation. She says it's hard to be optimistic.

"What are the chances it'll come back again? How many times am I going to have to repeat this process?"

On top of all that, she still has unpaid medical bills, piling up from her first diagnosis.

"Just the cancer surgery that I had for the three days at the hospital was more than $30,000 after some of the insurance and I can't afford that. Honestly if this doesn't get any better, I'll probably end up having to file bankruptcy at such a young age just because of medical bills."

Even though she was diagnosed the first time in January, Megan thinks she might have had mild symptoms five years ago. At the time, her blood tests didn't show anything. Megan urges people, if they're experiencing issues, to go to the doctor and get an ultrasound.

"If they're rapidly gaining weight or if their hair's falling out, if their heart's racing, if they're tired if they can't function daily, go get it checked out." -she says.

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