Morning Mix


Meagan’s story of beating ovarian cancer spreads hope of a brighter future to others

Posted at 11:09 AM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 11:09:25-04

Childhood cancer and cancer happening to women ages 15-29 has many layers, not only because of concerns of survival, but the possible side effects of treatments. When women deal with treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, it has great effects on being able to have children in the future.

However there are still good odds that women can become pregnant or have children thanks to advancements in medical technology. Meagan Zoodsma,an ovarian cancer survivor, is proof of that.

Meagan stopped by the Morning Mix to share her story to prove to women everywhere that there can be hope when the odds are stacked against you.

Meagan was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer at 9-years-old, and was told she only had seven days to live. In that time she was treated with chemotherapy, had a hysterectomy right after her 10th birthday, along with a removal of an ovary. Miraculously she was able to recover and live a normal elementary school life, but did not consider at the time how it would impact her future.

"There was no way that I could ever understand the impacts of having a hysterectomy," Meagan said. "In my twenties, I have experienced infertility and early menopause symptoms due to my cancer diagnosis and treatment with no direct support on how to navigate through these experiences."

It was after she married her husband, Zack, in 2017 when she realized that her life would look much more different than her friends.

"I could not log onto social media or look at a child at the grocery without breaking down or trying my best to swallow my tears," Meagan said.

"I never dreamed of what my future family would look like because I was consistently told by my medical team that I would have a better chance of winning the lottery than having a biological child due to the trauma that my remaining eggs endured."

It wasn't until Zack convinced her to go to The Fertility Center in Grand Rapids not to use their services, but rather confrim her situation so she could be at peace with her situation. However, Dr. Dodds told her that her chances of having children were still low, but he was going to try every way he could think of to make her dreams of having a family become a reality.

Eventually after going through the monitoring of her remaining ovary and hormone injections, Dr. Dodds harvested 33 eggs off her single ovary with 13 of those becoming baby embryos.

"Suddenly, I was flooded with images of what my child might look like. I felt like I finally had permission to dream of my future family. We truly won the lottery that we were told would never happen."

Now at the age of 26 she's beaten the odds of survival and is awaiting the birth of her child being carried by a gestational carrier, which just so happens to be one of her best childhood friends.

"To this day I am amazed by her selflessness as she acts on her promise from years ago that she would someday carry my child. Back then it was a friendly joke but in May 2018 it became a reality....What an incredibly amazing person the universe has given us and to know that our friendship brought up back together for all of this is something that still leaves me speechless. "

The baby is expected to arrive in a few months, and Meagan couldn't be happier with how her life turned out.

Meagan wanted to share her story to spread hope to all the women in the world who are struggling through ovarian cancer. Her story is an example of how not to handle such questions of having a family and planning for a bright future, and what we can all learn so no one has to suffer like she and her family did. The blessing is that she spoke up for herself and the results are inspiring to women everywhere.

Dr. Diana Bitner's  office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner, her blog. Read more.