Why I decided to transform
My transformation started when it was time to face a big health issue that essentially made my body a ticking time bomb. I have the "Angelina Jolie" genetic mutation for BRCA1 which puts me at a high likelihood of developing breast and ovarian cancers. My paternal grandmother passed away from ovarian cancer when I was 8 years old and my paternal aunt survived breast cancer.
I was tested and learned of my genetic mutation in spring 2009 after my first child was born. At the time, doctors doubted that I carried the mutation because the cancers came from my father's side. Since then, it's been learned that women can just as easily inherit the mutation from their paternal side, like I did.
When my husband and I were done having children in 2011, we decided to proceed with preventative actions. In January 2012, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and removed both of my cancer-free breasts so I lowered my chances to develop breast cancer. Before the surgery, there was an 87 percent chance that I would develop cancer in my lifetime.
After the birth of my son and my mastectomy, I never lost my baby weight. In fact, I gained more weight because of my lack of exercise, poor diet, and mild depression. Next came the looming decision to remove my ovaries after I was done having children. The fear that I would never regain my slender body because of surgical menopause only depressed me more.
I researched surgical menopause for months during my recovery. Everything I found online was negative and pointed to weight gain from hormone replacement therapy; a shift where your body carries fat, metabolism issues, night sweats, mood swings, hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness, bone health deterioration, memory loss, dementia, Parkinson's, heart issues, and more.
One day, when I was doing research from my recliner with my 5-month-old son in my lap, I realized that a positive attitude would give me the power to change. I realized I could manage my quality of life on my terms, not on cancer's.
From that day forward, I understood what to do and that I would proceed with the hysterectomy and oophorectomy. At the time, I knew if I could go through this to save my life, I could certainly eat and train to save my life. Then I found Bodybuilding.com and decided to compete in an NPC bikini competition during surgical menopause.
In December 2012, with my family and doctor's support, I went through with the hysterectomy and oophorectomy. The recovery was less painful than my mastectomy. Two weeks after recovery, I needed an emergency surgery and blood transfusion from hemorrhaging. My total recovery took 10 weeks when it should've only taken 4.
I knew that I would be recovering in bed, unable to work out, so I ate as clean as possible, stocked up on supplements to preserve my muscle, and avoided eating foods that were high in sugar and fat. It worked because I lost minimal muscle and barely gained fat.
Now that I'm nine months into surgical menopause, I can honestly say that it hasn't been as bad as I imagined. I have a few side effects that I manage with estrogen hormone replacement therapy, but I don't let them run my life. I give all the credit to maintaining a positive attitude and living a healthy lifestyle.
How I accomplished my goals
When I first found Bodybuilding.com, I stumbled upon Jamie Eason's LiveFit 12-Week Trainer and started on June 1, 2012. The LiveFit Trainer taught me what to eat. My mind was blown comparing her food list to the garbage I ate. My protein used to come from cereal! I completed Jamie's program and moved on to another 12-week program and decided to train for an NPC bikini competition.
I went to my local gym, found the right trainers, and explained that I had an upcoming surgery that could significantly change my body. I told them I wanted to get in the best shape possible before the surgery, maintain my muscle, and continue on my training path after recovery. With their help, I made it happen.
On June 1, 2013, exactly one year after beginning LiveFit, I competed in my first NPC bikini competition. I didn't place, but I'm thankful for the experience and did what I set out to do. I was proud of my presentation, kept it classy, and hit every pose with confidence.
I couldn't have changed my diet without Quest Nutrition Bars. I'm a busy mom who's always on the go, and I have a sweet tooth. Quest Bars were the answer I needed for a small meal replacement with high protein that tastes sweet.
My will to succeed comes from a lifelong passion for fitness and a sense that my time could run out. I have always admired the muscular human body and was the only girl I knew with a subscription to "Muscle & Fitness." I worked out in a gym regularly my entire life until I fell off the wagon because of pregnancies and surgeries. If you maintain a positive outlook on life and practice what you preach, it sets a golden foundation.
What aspect challenged me the most
A deadline is simply a budgeting of your time. I give myself a deadline to keep me from falling off track. It also lends me a solid foundation of accountability. Going through the motions without an action plan almost guarantees failure.
The most challenging aspect has been avoiding sweets but Quest bars certainly helped. I occasionally buy vanilla-flavored almonds, eat a piece of dark chocolate, or make an ice cream sandwich by freezing fat-free whipped cream on a low-fat graham cracker.
My future fitness plans
I hope that my story helps motivate others, especially women. We all face challenges, some more extreme than others, but overcoming them deserves praise. If I can do it, you can do it.
I don't plan to do another NPC bikini competition, but I'm open to it. I didn't place well in my first one and I'm cool with it. I got on stage, presented the best me, and proved to myself what strength really is.
Suggestions for aspiring transformers
- Don't worry about the scale.
- Join social networks that motivate you.
- Drink lots of water.
- Take progress photos.
- Join a Bodybuilding.com challenge.
- Visit a bodybuilding expo and be inspired.
How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals
Bodybuilding.com helped me achieve my fitness goals. I purchase my supplements from the site and have participated in two of the transformation challenges, which are great because they give you extra motivation to train hard. I also love the FitBoards!
Megghan's Top 5 Gym Tracks
- "99 Problems" by Jay-Z
- "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
- "Famous In A Small Town" by Miranda Lambert
- "She's Country" by Jason Aldean
- "Not Afraid" by Eminem
- To my husband Trent for always supporting me.
- To Jamie Eason and Bodybuilding.com for creating the LiveFit Trainer.
- To Richard Facenda for the 12-week fitness program.
- To Blair Mone and Jessica Paxson for the great training and contest prep.
- To Megan Behr for being a great friend and supporting my fitness goals.