AMERICAN FORK The Lehi woman whose battle with brain cancer caught the attention of pop star Jewel and talk show host Sharon Osbourne says she can't let the disease own her even though she's been hit anew, this time with cancer in her lymph nodes.
Meagan Thompson Robbins is in remission from the brain cancer that surprised her last year on the eve of her departure for an LDS mission. Her plight, doubly tragic because she and her sister shared a deadly diagnosis, made national news on the Osbourne show after cheerleaders at Lehi High School shaved their heads to help raise money for the family's medical bills and Jewel came to Lehi for a benefit concert.
Now Robbins is newly wed, newly tressed and newly diagnosed with cancer related to lumps in her breasts.
"I have the worst wedding story of all time," the 22-year-old Robbins said. "I found two lumps in one breast and one in the other about a week before my wedding and had them removed. At the same time, the doctors also took out about 10 lymph nodes. Then they found two of the lymph nodes were cancerous; that's why I have to do more chemotherapy, because of the stupid lymph nodes.
"I was getting hair extensions for my wedding when my left breast started to hemorrhage and swell. I heard this pop and I knew something wasn't normal. I had to stop and go to the doctor's for an emergency cauterization.
"Then I got a spider bite on my eye and my eye just swelled up."
On the wedding day, as she walked into the Salt Lake LDS temple holding ice to her chest and nursing a pink, swollen eye, Brian Robbins figured everyone wondered if she was marrying a bad-tempered guy.
"They don't understand. This kind of thing is normal for her," he said, looking fondly at his now bright-eyed, beautiful brunette bride.
Meagan is so used to bad news that after she received the test results on her biopsies, she simply called Brian and said, "I have these lumps. They're cancerous so I need you to meet me at the hospital. Love ya, bye."
That doesn't mean she doesn't appreciate the gravity of her situation.
Her nine-year-old sister, Alex, died on Nov. 13, 2003, from a fast-growing brain tumor, and Meagan has already been through grueling months of arduous chemotherapy for hers.
She knows she's in for more nausea, more headaches and more downtime with the new cancer. She's aware that the brain cancer could return at any time.
But she isn't about to let any of it beat her.
She holds down a full-time job feeding animals and milking cows at Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point. She's covering third base and shortstop on an intermural co-ed baseball team with her new husband and doing what she can to lead a normal life. She plans someday to be a mom although she'll be going the in-vitro route so she can improve the odds for a healthy baby.
"This isn't who I am," Meagan Robbins said. "Cancer is not my life. It's just a little part of it. If I can't be normal I couldn't handle it."
Brian Robbins knew about Meagan's history before he called her for a first date, but he didn't really think he would get serious about her at the time. He had even attended the funeral for Alex Thompson.
By the time he realized he was in love, six weeks later, there was nothing to do but propose.
"I love her. I thought, what if something does happen, what would I do? But, then I thought, I wouldn't really be losing anything at all," he said, referring to his solid belief that LDS marriages are for eternity.
The newlyweds are optimistic about their future even though it's a scary one. They have $500 insurance premiums to pay along with the rent and the truck payments and they recognize there's a good amount of uncertainty.
But they have hope, great faith and boundless love.
"We'll be all right," Brian Robbins said. "We've had some good moments that make us think we'll be grandparents together.""It's not so tough," Meagan adds. "I had it (cancer) before!"
Want to help?
To make donations to the Thompson or Robbins families, contact any Zions Bank branch office or send checks to: Thompson Family Donation Fund, 385 S. 1100 West, Lehi, UT 84043, or go to the Web site: www.Thompsonfamilydonation.org.