southtownstar
ANNOYING 
Weather Updates

Cancer survivor turns to running after diagnosis

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



Even after having suffered a seizure and being diagnosed with a brain tumor, Meg Keating recently ran a 10K benefiting the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. She was diagnosed nearly four years ago, and since then she’s even participated in the Chicago Marathon.

The Tinley Park resident was having lunch with co-workers when the seizure struck. Keating, 31, was quickly taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago, where the cancer was found.

“It happened really fast,” Keating said. Soon after being rushed to the hospital, she was released, and within a week, had surgery and returned home. “Everything went really, really well,” Keating said.

Physicians removed most of the orange-sized, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumor, and have since provided chemotherapy, two different types of radiation and two surgeries to Keating, said her physician, Dr. James Chandler, surgical director of the Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute.

The institute combines clinical research and medical and surgical treatment for brain and spinal tumor patients. It is a collaboration between Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“Of tumors that originate in the brain, this is the most common, and unfortunately, the most lethal,” Chandler said.

In the United States, between 8,000 and 10,000 individuals are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year, according to the 2008 Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States. In Illinois alone, 7,000 tumors were diagnosed in 2006, Chandler said. “Meg has done extraordinarily well and has exceeded all of our expectations from the beginning,” Chandler said. This is the case physically, mentally and spiritually, he said.

“She is in the best shape of her life; she’s upbeat and positive,” he said, “and mentally as sharp as ever.”

Although Keating has been finished with her treatment since June 2008, she still has magnetic resonance imaging checks performed every three months, to be sure.

“I’ve had great reports,” Keating said.

That partially could be due to the anti-seizure medication she took for years, beginning in 2007, and ending three or fourth months ago, she said.

“I couldn’t drive for six months after the seizure,” Keating said. Her parents have been very helpful, with driving and otherwise. “I have an amazing support system,” she said.

Keating went to Mother McAuley High School on the Southwest Side and lived in that area since her freshman year of high school.

Cancer caused her to start giving back.

Keating is mentoring three different women across the country who also have GBM, through Imerman Angels, a nonprofit organization that matches individuals diagnosed with cancer, with cancer survivors or survivors’ caretakers.

“It’s nice to see a lot of good come out of cancer,” she said.

Cancer also led her to running.

“I was never a runner before,” Keating said. “I take good care of myself … and appreciate each day more.”

Keating said that, other than having terrible weather, the 10K was a positive experience with a festive atmosphere.

“I’m glad that I did it. I will definitely do it again next year,” she said. “It’s my way of honoring the doctors that are taking great care of me.”



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.