More from Meredith
Meredith passed away on February 24, 2014 with her beloved family by her side. We were so privileged to know this special young woman who left an indelible mark on our hearts. Meredith was truly a beautiful person – both inside and out. Meredith will never be forgotten. You can read our tribute to Meredith here.
This is Meredith in her own words, from the year we filmed Dear 16 Year Old Me.
My Experience With Melanoma
I’m 24 years old, from Aiken, South Carolina. I work in government compliance at URS and coach girls basketball for the Mead Hall Lady Panthers (middle school) and the Aiken Elite (AAU).
I was diagnosed with Uveal Melanoma on April 13, 2009. It was 3 weeks after finishing an illustrious basketball career at USCA. I still was able to graduate 3 weeks later on May 7, 2009 with a degree in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Management.
I was diagnosed with liver metastasis on May 27, 2010. I thought I was in remission when I received this news. Because I had made contact with Dr. Sato in a previous appointment, I was able to send my scans and make an immediate appointment for treatment. Shortly after, I was in getting a liver biopsy (May), metal coil blockers (June), and two rounds of radio-spheres treatment (July, August). Since February 2010, once a month I have been receiving immuno-embolization treatments and will continue these treatments as needed.
Since the Diagnosis
I learned a lot about Uveal Melanoma as I was getting treatment. This cancer can be a serious life changing event. After getting treatment for the cancer in my left eye, I have only regained some vision. I can see outlines of shapes and colors, but my retina was severely damaged because of the radiation. My vision will never be the same, but I still have my life. I can live with only seeing out of my right eye. I had to adjust pretty quickly to life without perfect vision. I have learned and adapted to writing, driving, and even how to pick up simple objects.
Now that the tumor in my left eye is merely a scar, I am now able to focus my treatment on my liver. You really are able to learn a lot about how your body will react to certain treatments. Generally speaking, every time my doctors treat the right side of the liver, I am able to bounce back fairly quickly. However, when they treat my left side (near the stomach), I have a harder time bouncing back. I know I have to be cautious when eating certain foods and I am aware of the pain I could experience, so I keep medicine within reach.
Advice I’d Give
My advice to others about melanoma would be to listen to your body. In my case, get your eyes checked and your body scans done regularly. Early detection is the key to beating this cancer. Listen intently to what the doctors are telling you to do outside of treatment. Let your family and friends support you and take care of you in any way possible. Focus your energy 100% to your health, mentally and physically. Stay strong in your faith.
I would like to thank the following doctors for their expertise, treatment options, dedication to my case, and for the care I received while undergoing treatment:
Dr. Carol Shields and her entire staff at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Takami Sato and his entire staff at the Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA.