Even the dog let it be known that Megan Blunt was missed.
It was a couple of days before Mother's Day this year when the 43-year-old mother of two -- three if you count Remmy Lou, the dog -- felt her lower lip go numb. She thought it might be connected to her sinus infection, but then it didn't go away.
By the next Monday morning, she was outside her general practitioner's office before it opened, hoping she could get in. The numbness had spread to her chin. Her GP took some blood and called later, telling her he wanted her to see a hematologist because something was off.
The hematologist at MercyOne performed more tests and found her platelet count dangerously low -- 15,000. A normal platelet count is around 160,000. She was immediately admitted to MercyOne, and then, still without a diagnosis, sent her by ambulance to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
It was there, about 36 hours after she first went to her general practitioner that she heard the news: she had non-Hodgkins large B-cell lymphoma, a particularly aggressive cancer that had invaded 95% of her bone marrow.
"They told me if I'd waited another month, I'd be dead," Megan said.
Except for a day here and there when she was allowed to go home, Megan spent the next four and a half months of her life in Rochester, staying at her brother's home and undergoing four rounds of chemotherapy.
Some days it lasted one hour. Others, it was the equivalent of a work day.
Everyday it made her sick and weak. Some days so weak she couldn't get out of bed. Sometimes she didn't know how to keep fighting.
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But her lead had doctor told her, We're gonna cure you. And Megan was determined to do it for her kids, Carson, 19, and Kailee, 16.
Meanwhile, Remmy Lou made her distress and missing her mom well known. She ate a hole in the living room rug. She destroyed several shoes.
And a much smaller source of stress lurked on the second floor of their Eastbrooke home. The couple's bedroom, with its outdated pink carpet and plain white walls, was a project Megan planned to attack when they bought the home two years ago, but until she could, she did her best to ignore it.
So she just shut the door and went on with her life until the diagnosis.
But her best friend Erica Elwood knew Megan wanted to be back home in time for Kailee's 16th birthday on Sept. 30. She also knew Megan would need a place to rest and recuperate.
Erica connected with My Happy Haven, a nonprofit, all volunteer organization that makes over the bedrooms of women fighting cancer. Soliciting help from partner businesses that donate money, expertise and time, the white walls and the pink carpet disappeared, replaced with a rustic farm decorated room, with a wall covered in pallet wood her husband lovingly arranged, part of a barn door Megan bought on an online garage sale site and an electric fireplace mounted in a dresser.
Her first night in the room, Megan said she couldn't sleep because she kept looking around at all the beautiful things that surrounded her. When she first found out she was getting a makeover, she spoke with the designer and gave her a vision of what Megan wanted the room to look like.
"Happy Haven in general is just amazing," Megan said. "But they took my vision, what I wanted and just made it 100 times better than anything I could've imagined."
In the next two weeks, Megan will learn whether she is cancer-free or must consider a possible bone marrow transplant. She starts physical therapy soon to increase her strength and endurance. When she first came home, Remmy Lou seemed to sense her weakness and was a gentle, constant companion.
And, she also has her own quiet retreat where she can go to be still.
"It's not just a place to relax," Megan said. "It's a place to heal."