TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If a picture is worth a thousand words, one picture Megan Troutwine took of herself is worth her life.
“I was in New York visiting my cousin and I took a selfie and I thought, ‘that doesn’t look normal,'” Troutwine recalls.
Her eye was drooping in the picture, and it prompted Troutwine to reach out to doctors.
“I went to my neurologist, and he called 15 minutes off the MRI table,” said Troutwine.
The news came quick. The mass on her brain was cancer.
One month later, Troutwine had surgery. Only to have surgery again six months later when the mass returned.
She endured nearly 30 radiation treatments, but she still considers herself lucky.
“It was rough, but I made it through. Luckily, it froze my brain tumor where it is, so we still watch it,” she said.
Watching it means frequent and regular trips to the doctor in what she calls a work-medical balance instead of a work-life balance. She credits her church family and her faith for her positive attitude through the battle.
“God has carried me through insane stuff, the unimaginable. While it may not be ideal to have brain surgery and radiation, I’m alive,” exclaimed Troutwine.
Not only alive, but running through it all.
Troutwine first started running at the Boys and Girls Club as a kid. It was there when she was first introduced to the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic in 2005.
“I’ve done it every year minus two years since,” she said.
The health battles force her to slow down on the course but, to her, it’s just important to be out there.
“Right now, I am not able to run much at all. The thing is you don’t have to run a full 5k. You can walk it; you can run/walk it, you can do it however makes you happy because every finisher has a story,” said Troutwine.
Her story continues as she makes strides to stay healthy by taking part in this year’s virtual Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic. It’s a full-circle experience for Troutwine and the race.
Troutwine was introduced to running at the Boys and Girls Club, and the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic was created in 1978 to raise money for that very organization. To date, the race has donated $5.9 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay and the Friends of Tampa Recreation.
Troutwine encourages each of us to help continue this long-running tradition of giving.
“Every runner is different. Every body is different. You don’t have to be small, big or anything in between. If you want to get out there, do it! There’s nothing stopping you other than your own mind,” she said.