Cancer warrior Miranda McKeon is about to become a survivor.
The Anne With an E star, 19, arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday ahead of her previously planned, preventative double mastectomy.Read More
The actress shared this latest update on her Instagram page, writing: “Today is the big day!!! I’ve arrived in SF to have the surgery that I’ve been anticipating for almost five months. I’ll be having a double mastectomy- a procedure to remove all of the breast tissue under the skin on both sides as well as some lymph nodes on my right side. This will get rid of any cancer and significantly decrease my risk of reoccurrence in the future. This also means that I will be cancer free!”
McKeon has opted to have a sensation-preserving mastectomy, a procedure in which the nerves and nerve grafts stay intact so there is still sensation in the reconstructed breasts.
The surgery will be the second of McKeon’s three-step treatment plan after chemotherapy. Next up after her surgery will be step three: radiation.
McKeon has kept a low profile after her very public cancer journey.
“I’ve heard a lot of times people feel like directly after treatment that their support system will drop out – and I guess I kind of say this out of a place of being afraid of that in a way,” revealed McKeon.
“There’s a whole journey of healing afterward and reconciling with what just happened, and so another message to the support system is just like continue reaching out and be there for someone.”
At the same time, McKeon credited her support system with getting through her battle with breast cancer.
“One of the most beautiful ways that I’ve found that people have shown up for me is by just sitting with me and not being afraid of my pain, whatever that means,” said McKeon.
She explained that attempting to find a shared experience or struggle never helped her in these moments.
She needed someone who could sit with her in silence while she was in pain or grieving during her battle.
Breast Cancer Journey
McKeon, who completed step one of her treatment in October after eight rounds of chemo, announced her breast cancer diagnosis in June.
“Pink is my new color!!!!! It is with a heavy yet hopeful heart that I share the news that I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” wrote McKeon at the time.
“I am 19, and as statistics go- the chances of having breast cancer at this age are one in a million! (literally, look it up on Google) I am so special- but we knew this!”
McKeon revealed that after flying to San Francisco to work on a sustainable farm, she got a call with the results of a recent biopsy. The actress never made it out of the airport, and 90 minutes after landing, flew back home to New Jersey.
She remained positive while sharing her story, stressing the love and support her family and friends provided in the wake of her diagnosis.
“So the long and short of it is – I am embarking on a journey that is not of my choosing, but one I know I can handle,” wrote McKeon. “There will be challenging times ahead when life feels impossible. But for now, I am headed into this with optimism, positivity, and surrounded by love.”
McKeon’s Treatment Plan
McKeon shared that her first four rounds of chemo were with Adriamycin and Cytoxan, which caused her “nausea, grossness, like a really bad hangover with none of the fun the night before.” Her last four were with Taxol, which she appeared to be handling better.
She noted early on that she would also be undergoing surgery and radiation.
McKeon also told her young followers not to feel sad for her or worry they too might have cancer, accurately pointing out that only four percent of those diagnosed with breast cancer every year are under the age of 40.
As she pointed out, she is one-in-a-million.
Mental Health Resources for Cancer Warriors
This news often prompts a fight or flight or freeze response, with freeze being the typical reaction in her estimation.
However, Kelly noted that it was just as difficult for these patients because they immediately started getting a lot of new information. There are several reasons for this, beginning with most people’s shock after learning they have cancer. That coupled with the belief that their lives depend on their ability to instantly process information makes the process daunting and confusing for most people.
This is where social workers, in particular, can provide an invaluable service.
“Your mind can go completely blank,” said Kelly. “If we think of fight or flight or freeze, freeze is a big one that happens where people feel like ‘Oh my God, I have no idea what to do.’ We can help people figure that out.”
Social workers are not only there to help with mental health issues either and can also help with financial problems that may arise or find childcare options for parents undergoing treatment.
Dealing With Fear After Cancer Diagnosis
Mental Healing After A Cancer Battle
The mental and emotional weight of a cancer battle is a lot to bear.
Evelyn Reyes-Beato knows that well. She is a colon cancer survivor from a culture where cancer-related things do not get discussed in a public forum. That made dealing with her emotional and mental pain difficult until she realized how that pain impacted her physical pain.
“You have to let it out,” Evelyn previously told SurvivorNet. “Your mental and your emotional help your psychical get in line. If you keep all of the emotions in, the way I see it is that stuff is going to eat you up inside, and it’s not going to let you heal.”
Emotional and Mental Healing After Cancer Battle