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Pediatric nurse diagnosed with sarcoma prepares for surgery

Meghan Nesom helps cure children with cancer while bracing for loss of leg

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital nurse Meghan Nesom has helped cure children with cancer. She has also cradled them as they died from the disease.

"They are just fighters," Nesom told Local 10 News. "They are wonderful."

So it seemed like a cruel joke when Nesom learned that she herself had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

"I am so thankful it is not my child," she said. "I am so thankful I am not in a position as a mom that has to deal with their child having cancer."

Surgery and radiation three years ago seemed to work, but now Nesom has learned the cancer is back with a vengeance. Since there is no cure for clear cell sarcoma, she had to tell her husband, Phillip, and their 4-year-old son, Collin, about the traumatic treatment she is about to undergo.

"He is a very logical kid, so I told him that Dr. Parker is going to cut my leg off because I have bad cells in it," she said.

After Nesom showed Collin the prosthetic that she will get, he amazed her with the powerful and positive perception that only children can provide.

"He told me all of his friends were going to be jealous because his mommy is going to have a robot leg," she said.

Meanwhile, even though she is on oral chemotherapy and readying for an amputation, Nesom marches on at work.

"(It is) amazing to think a woman going through all this -- who has to take care of her family, has to take care of herself -- is still being selfless and coming into work to take care of other people's families," Dr. Jocelyn Plesa said.

Nurse and friend Nathalie Perez said Nesom has stayed strong, so she has tried to do the same.

"She is one of the most amazing individuals I know," Perez said.

Nesom has insurance, but when she learned that she would not get short-term disability after her surgery, her co-workers came to the rescue.

"The day we found out about Meghan's diagnosis, we raised $5,000," nurse and friend Lauren Odman said. "Three days later we doubled it."

After her surgery, Nesom will need to heal, rehabilitate and then be fitted with a prosthetic device. She is expected to be out of work for at least six months.

A fundraiser is scheduled for Sept. 20. A website has also been created to help Nesom in her fight against sarcoma.