BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It's one of those days a couple will never forget.
“Being 29-years-old and about to get married. It’s amazing how your life can change in a day,” Megan Badon said.
Surrounded by friends and family on April 27, 2019, Badon went from a Ms. to a Mrs. However, days before that big day, she felt something strange.
“It was a Wednesday night. I started having really bad pain in my left breast," she said.
A few doctors’ appointments, which included trips to get her first mammogram, left the 29-year old worried, but still hopeful.
“I knew something was up,” she said. “Immediately, people start coming out and saying, 'You’re young, you’re healthy. Whatever happens, you can fight it.’”
Seven days later, just ten days before the wedding, Dr. Mindy Bowie, a breast surgical oncologist with Woman’s Hospital, delivered unexpected news
“Triple negative breast cancer is considered a more aggressive type of breast cancer, which we usually treat with chemotherapy and surgery,” Dr. Bowie said.
From that moment on, Badon says her life was a blur.
“It seems like everything was jumbled into one big day. I really don’t think we had one day where I wasn’t at a doctor," she said.
At this point, it’s a race to save Badon, but the potentially lifesaving chemo is so strong it could hurt future family plans. She and her husband, Ben, barely had two days to decide if they wanted to move forward with in vitro fertilization and egg retrieval.
“I didn’t want to regret anything,” Badon said.
The fear of not being able to conceive in the future prompted the final decision.
“I started injections four days before our wedding. Then I had injections every day leading up to the wedding. I was injecting myself 30 minutes before I walked down the aisle," she said.
Badon and her new husband skipped out on the honeymoon to do daily fertility treatments, then chemotherapy started May 7.
“It was literally just one thing after the other after the other,” she said. “That was really hard for me. I felt like we got our newlywed experience taken away from us.”
The newlywed had chemo treatments every other week for two months. Badon pushed through chemo, not once feeling like a cancer patient until she lost her hair. Badon’s husband, Ben, found a way to make her feel like she wasn’t alone.
“That was the hardest part of this whole thing, looking and feeling like myself," she said.
A new feeling was on the horizon though, because on Sept. 27, five months after hearing wedding bells, she heard the sound of a bell to signify the end of chemotherapy treatment.
“Chemo is never fun, but that day was nothing but joy,” she said. “That was probably one of the best days of my life.”
Badon’s story isn't over just yet.
“I’m saying goodbye to the old me, but saying hello to the new me. I’m ready for a start fresh," she said.
With the help of Dr. Bowie, Badon underwent a nipple-sparing mastectomy.
“This is a procedure in which we can conserve her nipple and areola,” Dr. Bowie said.
Badon, like many women facing breast cancer surgery, was afraid of being covered in scars. This tedious, time consuming surgey will make her look and feel normal. Dr. Bowie removed the breast tissue but kept Badon’s skin intact. The interesting part about this surgery is, the scars to remove the tissue will be underneath the reconstructed breast and not visible.
“When it heals, the patient cannot see her scar, “Dr. Bowie explained. “She will have had her entire breast removed and not be able to see her scar.”
Potential candidates for nipple sparing mastectomy can’t have cancer near the nipple though.
“That’s the most important thing. If it is near the nipple, the nipple would have to be removed at the time of surgery," Dr. Bowie said.
The surgery is to maintain aesthetics, however, no feeling will be left in the nipple. Dr. Bowie adds she wants her patients to look at themselves in the mirror and think, “I look like a woman. I feel like a woman. I can’t even see scars on my breasts.”
Badon says breast cancer has forced her to become a new person.
“I just feel like there’s so much to look forward to now. I feel like I was just living before, but I have a purpose to live now. I have meaning in my life. I just feel like everything is so much more important today. I don’t take anything for granted," she said.
Now, she’s having a longer life thanks to early detection to go with her happily ever after.
Badon will have reconstruction soon, followed by physical therapy. The newlyweds already have plans to take their much-anticipated honeymoon trip.