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Tragic Summer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Mydad carried me into the hectic emergency room, and suddenly everything wasdifferent. I had to stop playing my favorite game, football, and learn how tobattle cancer. I never knew how much a person could change in one extremely hotsummer.

I'd had serious pain in my back for the last seven months, and astime went by, it got so bad I thought I was going to die. That summer day, as Icarried myself down the long flight of steps from my bedroom using only my arms,I had no idea what was in store for me. I had started to lose feeling in my legsthat week, but I thought it was just a back injury from football. I was scaredand frustrated about going to the doctor. I had always thought doctors were inthe profession only for the money and didn't care whether their patients feltbetter or not.

My mom and I nervously drove to the medical center, and bythe time we got there, I could barely feel my legs. I talked to doctor afterdoctor and no one could figure out what was wrong. I was so scared because Inever let anything get me down; some of my friends even referred to me as"Superman." Nothing had ever stopped me from getting on the footballfield. This was all new to me.

The doctors sent me to the emergencyroom at Children's Hospital to get an MRI of my body. It showed that I had atumor on one of my thoracic vertebra, and my spinal cord was pinched to the sizeof a pencil line because of it. I was rushed into emergency surgery and woke uphours later not knowing what had happened to me. My surgical nurse explained thatthey removed the tumor the best they could, which involved removing part of oneof my vertebra to release the pressure on my spinal cord, and that the tumor wascancerous.

In the days that followed, I had more visitors than I couldimagine. They all showered me with t-shirts, magazines, and lots of candy, cakesand cookies. I was then fitted into a plastic brace that supported my injuredspine and released from the hospital. I was told I would never be able to playfootball again, and that I would need to go through six months ofchemotherapy.

I loved playing football more than any one person couldpossibly love a sport. The big hits and the heartpumping experiences were thegreatest. I treasure my lucky Minnesota Gophers undershirt that made it throughevery game since I was just a little lineman in seventh grade. The sweat andblood that was shed on that beautiful shirt is enough to make me think back inawe of all of the great memories of winning so many games and rarely everlosing.

Even though it was excruciatingly hard imagining not playingfootball, I had to deal with it somehow. I am now a coach for the ninth-gradefootball team. Even though coaching is not the same as playing, it's an excitingexperience in itself. I use my knowledge and share it with my players so they canbecome better players.

I don't want to be in that ear-throbbing emergencyroom ever again. Even though it was excruciatingly hard, I made it through allthe treatments and surgery, and learned to deal with not playing footballanymore.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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