In private, the doctor told Meyer she would need more imaging. At 40 years old, she realized, she might have cancer.
She turned the camera back on.
Meyer’s project for Breast Cancer Awareness Month last October turned into a far more sobering call to action than she anticipated. Her followers watched as her additional imaging revealed red flags and as Meyer — still in journalist-mode — took notes and made sure she got her questions in. They listened to Meyer report the biopsy results that confirmed her fears.
This week, viewers of KFOR in Oklahoma, where Meyer anchors a morning show, also heard her deliver the happy ending. A year after a devastating diagnosis that led to surgery, Meyer’s second mammogram showed she was cancer-free.
It was the finale to an intensely personal journey Meyer says she’s ultimately glad she shared. She says that knowing thousands were watching helped her “keep herself together” and that stories from other women surrounded her with empathy.
And she’s done what she set out to do: communicate that even women far younger than the typical breast cancer victim should get regular mammograms.
“If I’ve maybe opened up a few eyes … then mission accomplished,” she told The Washington Post.
Meyer knows how easy it is to feel invincible. A year ago, she said, she figured that with no family history of breast cancer and no risk factors like a smoking habit, she’d treat her Facebook followers to an uneventful medical checkup.
She arrived with few nerves.
“It’s kind of an exciting day for me,” she said near the beginning of her first live-stream, smiling as she filmed herself in a mirror. “I hope everything goes well.”
That optimism persisted even after the off-camera conversation with the radiologist, Meyer said. She knew lots of women have to get follow-up imaging. It could have been nothing. “I put my big girl face on,” she told The Post.
But the pictures that followed didn’t look good. She broke the news to her family later that day, cried and waited for the biopsy.
The next Facebook Live update was tearful as she revealed she had noninvasive ductal breast cancer. The disease had a high survival rate, but she would probably need a mastectomy.
“I interviewed surgeon after surgeon, and they all said the same thing,” she wrote later.
Staff at Stephenson Cancer Center recall shock just like Meyer’s at the turn the public awareness stunt had taken.
“My heart just sunk because I never in a million years expected it not to be a quick and easy story about your first mammogram,” Claire Turmelle, the center’s marketing coordinator, recounts in KFOR’s segment from this week.
Last December, surgeons removed much of Meyer’s right breast but were able to save the nipple. Meyer relayed that to her followers, too, even posting a picture of her nipple to Instagram. She says she wished she’d had more photographs when she was making decisions about a daunting surgery.
Then, last month, she went in for a second mammogram, so anxious this time she could barely follow staff’s instructions not to breathe as they got their images. Her heart pounded as they examined the left breast that she jokes she now treats “like a diamond.” She thought she might faint.
But she was cancer free, she says.
She couldn’t wait to share.