Who and Why I Am

December 29, 2007
By
This is going to be hard to write. I don’t mean I’ll have trouble with the grammar or spelling, or with the composition. I know what I’m going to write and how it’s going to look. The only problem is that this subject is painful to write about. The experiences that have made me who I am are painful ones. While I’ve become grateful for them, they still make me cringe. I’m writing about them because it’s the only way you’ll know who I am and why I am who I am. This will truly explain it all. It’s just not always going to be pleasant.

I was diagnosed with cancer at the end of seventh grade, when I was twelve years old. “Stage IV Neuorblastoma,” the doctors told me. I had never heard of it, and I didn’t want to find out. But I did, and that was just the beginning.

I received five doses of chemotherapy, landed in the Intensive Care Unit many times, had a 13-hour surgery, made it through a stem-cell transplant that very nearly killed me, endured months of boredom in the hospital, went through countless scans, started two experimental medicines, and became radioactive for a week. There are no words for how horrible, how trying, how agonizing this all was. There were many times when I felt like I could not do this. Thankfully, those moments would all pass. I would come to see that there were only two choices: living, or not. I wanted that first one. I wanted it for my family, who was always by my side, and I wanted it for my friends, who stuck by me. They had set up fundraisers for me, sent me letters, and came to visit. These people were putting so much effort into making me comfortable and getting me well that I absolutely could not disappoint them. I was going to get well. Plus, I wanted it for me. More than anything else I have ever wanted, I wanted life. So I did what I had to do. I kept at it all, and when I would hit another rough spot, I would cry, certainly, but then I’d remind myself what I was fighting for. I would get through it all.

I believe now that I have gained more than I have lost. I have been given the privilege of finding out who I can always count on. I know what is most important to me. I learned how precious life is, and that everything on this earth is a gift from God. I am truly thankful for everything that comes my way, whether it is a quiet day at home, a chance to see friends, or a good grade on a test. I feel confident in myself, and even though physically I am not strong, I feel stronger in spirit now than I ever have. I know what it is that makes me “me” and I know that I can rise to any occasion.





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