Check-ups are vital for cancer survivors, and until recently Lisa Meurgue was as fastidious about them as anybody.
But this past June, around the tenth anniversary of her 2008 diagnosis with stage 2 breast cancer, Meurgue had a delightfully ironic exchange with her oncologist.
“He said he was breaking up with me, and that he didn’t want to see me again,” Meurgue said this week with her characteristic chuckle.
It was, of course, the oncologist’s way of saying: “No more (of these types of check-ups) needed any longer.”
Meurgue – who was used to two stressful facility visits a year, one locally and one at Moffitt Cancer Center (where she had originally been treated) – shared the good news in a Coastal Breeze interview, appropriately in the middle of this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
She also reiterated the thoughts of many other cancer survivors: that a positive attitude is essential.
Meurgue indeed embraced positivity from the get-go, but also placed emphasis on her existence.
“My happy place was (and is) when I’m walking on the beach,” Meurgue said. “People pay a lot of money to come here (to Marco), and I think sometimes we take living in such a beautiful place for granted.”
Loving her profession of restaurateur has also been therapeutic for Meurgue. She, along with husband Denis, has run Bistro Soleil and Petit Soleil for more than a decade.
“Working in the restaurants put a lot in perspective for me,” she said. “None of us know the challenges that others are facing, and speaking to people and finding out more about them gave me more empathy for them.”
She added even that the polite, throwaway line of “how are you?” when bumping into friends or acquaintances has renewed significance for her.
“I can look at them and say ‘I’m fine’ … and mean it,” she said.
And, she has some close-to-the-heart advice for cancer fighters too.
“For me, it was important to feel comfortable with my doctors,” she said. “You put your faith and trust in them.”
A self-confessed Type-A personality, Meurgue is known for her efforts in promoting the annual “Souper Bowl” to raise scholarship funds.
She has also served on the local charter middle school board, and was a prolific Lely High School volunteer (daughters Margeaux, Alexandra and Emmanuelle were students at the school).
Bistro Soleil hosts many civic, community and charitable functions, and an obvious favorite with her has been the “Fight Like A Girl” fashion show to benefit the American Cancer Society.