Bring It On

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It’s the one word that I never thought would be applied to me. This time it wasn’t the neighbor or the relative or even the co-worker…it was me. That one phone call from my oncologist. That one sentence my parents spoke to me. That one word—cancer.

As I walked into Children’s Hospital Oncology clinic, my stomach was churning.

What is going on? What is happening to me? What does cancer even mean?

The first round of chemo had started. Soon after, I lost my hair, having to conceal my bald head with a bandana. My dad had to give me daily shots to boost my immune system, and just watching his displeasure made me cringe. The second round soon started and I was back overnight in the hospital. I managed to balance out school, dance, and treatment. I kept up my grades, receiving all A’s and B’s that semester, and rarely missed a dance class. Trying to keep up with treatment and life, the third round came quicker than the last two.

A week later, my final PET scan was done. The next couple days seemed to drag on. Back in the oncology clinic, my doctor gave me the greatest news possible. “The scans are clear. The cancer is gone.” Elated, I happily proclaimed that I was now cancer free.

As I think back on my three months of treatment, now five and half years in remission, I realize just how strong I was. I remember having so many questions. I remember the boxes upon boxes of chocolates that family and friends had sent. I remember what kind of a person I used to be. That one word made me humble. That one word made me empathetic. That one word gave me wisdom.

If it weren’t for cancer, I would have missed out. I wouldn’t have gained the humbleness, empathy, and wisdom that I did. I can’t explain to you exactly how. I can’t paint a pretty story that tells you exactly what experience during that time gave me that humbleness, empathy, and wisdom. I can’t outline perfectly the reasons.
All I know is, cancer is a part of me. I saw the change in myself. It’s not something that I can put onto paper.

If I had a time machine, would I go back and change it? Never. Did I ever think that my life-altering experience would be life-threatening? Not once. If I relapsed, would I say, “Bring it on?” Without a doubt.

That one word—cancer—is my friend.





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