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My Blessing in Disguise This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

I lie there trapped and petrified, staring at ceiling tiles; my limbs and fragile body firmly pinned against the stiff table. Fire ignites in the crease of my arm, burning as it crawls through veins, slowly engulfing my entire body. Within seconds, the room begins spinning and my eyes lose focus. Realizing that uncertainty is rapidly drawing nearer, my thoughts grow more serious. Did I just potentially say goodbye to my parents for the last time? Will my best friend ever know that I love him? What if I never awake from the medications? Panic overwhelms me. Soon, the concerned voices of the nurses gradually fade away. Although I try to resist sleep, my eyelids continue to grow heavy. I can’t fight the drug’s magic; within seconds… I’m out.

It’s hard to believe that two months prior, my life was completely normal. Well… “normal” by my standards, at least. At 15 years, I was trapped in the monotonous rut of cross-country practices, yearbook meetings, and the perpetual supply of homework. Too often I secluded myself from family, even skipping meals to slave away at countless problem sets and essays. The need for perfection entirely consumed my well-being. Sadly, I devoted my life to school.

Then, everything changed; within a matter of weeks, my secure grip of my “perfectly” planned life slithered out of my hands faster than a slimy eel. Before I had time to absorb what was happening – to comprehend the diagnoses – I was flung around like a beaten ragdoll from hospital to hospital, racing against time to remove the foreign entity thriving within the hidden compartments of my skull. The so-called ‘acoustic neuroma’ intricately positioned itself in the innermost part of my ear, encompassing several delicate nerves as it pushed forth onto the brain stem.

Its specific location is the reason why removal of the mass proved to be complicated.

It’s the reason why I currently suffer from unilateral hearing loss.

It’s the exact reason why I now suffer from facial paralysis.

But most importantly, it’s responsible for the change in character of who I am today.

Strenuous surgeries to remove the tumor left me as a puppet; with both arms outstretched, I was brutally whipped between states of absolute bitterness and guilt. I knew I should be grateful, but I couldn’t help but feel furious at the world, especially God. I was only 15, yet my trademark smile had been stolen (replaced with a droopy smirk), my hearing abruptly fled, and I was falling behind in school.

I was a self-pitying monster.

Then, as if my blindfolds suddenly vanished, I finally saw how truly blessed I was. I was tumor free. Cancer free. I had a loving family and supportive friends. Even though I lost partial movement in my face, at least I could still function normally. Although I lost hearing in one ear, I wasn’t completely deaf. And school? On the grand scheme of things, I realized it was the least of my concerns. God had graciously provided a second chance of life; that is nothing to complain about.

Though I never dreamed of admitting this, my entire experience has been a blessing in disguise. I desperately needed to realize that life is not perfect; that I’m not perfect. No longer am I the meek, shy girl wasting her school years in the solitude of her bedroom. I’ve branched out - even joined theater. Life is too fragile and worthwhile not to be celebrated and lived to the fullest every day. However, I most importantly learned to accept myself. As I stepped on stage in front of thousands of people, I was no longer ashamed of my disfigured face. Recognizing that true beauty travels beyond appearances, I now view my face as a sign of bravery; a sign that proves with enough perseverance, I can overcome any obstacle that stands in my way.

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Kamana said...
Nov. 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm
This was absolutly beautiful! It's amazing how God take something that we think is good, twist and mold it into His plan, to create something even better than we ever imagioned.
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