Changing Times This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 6, 2012
You know how you feel really badly for people if misfortune happens to them? You feel sorry for them, but you don't really know how they feel - until it happens to you.

It was Wednesday night, and I had just gotten home from my volleyball game. We had finally won, so I was in a pretty good mood. I grabbed a piece of pizza and a soda and sat down to watch TV. My mom called me into the living room; I was annoyed she interrupted my show, but I went anyway. To my surprise, my dad, mom and little brother were all sitting around the fireplace. "Sit down, Jen," my dad said. Although his voice was calm, his eyes were glassy and his hands were shaking, as they sometimes do when he's nervous. I took a seat next to my brother.

"Dad has something he wants to tell you, and he wants everyone to be here," my mom said. I started to get nervous - my parents were acting really strange and I couldn't understand why. I knew my dad had a tumor in his knee, but no one really thought anything of it.

"I went for a biopsy on my tumor today, and well, I have cancer." I just sat there, staring at the wall. You never notice how interesting paint chips are until you stare at them to avoid all eye contact. All I could think was, No, not my dad, he's too young. There's so much he wants out of life; there must be a mistake. Before I realized it, I was crying hysterically. I couldn't stop. The tears just kept coming. Mom hugged me, telling me everything would be okay. No! I thought. Everything won't be okay. My dad, the one I laugh with, the one I go skiing with, the one I sit in the kitchen and eat nachos with until I'm sick, had cancer. I remember asking a lot of questions, but I don't remember many of the answers. He needed to go through ten months of chemotherapy. He'd be living in the hospital most of the time, and we wouldn't see him very often.

I have learned to deal a little better during the past few weeks. I know I have to be strong, and help to hold the family together through this. I've also learned to take advantage of the time spent with my dad. I believe my dad will beat this, and will live to be an old man who had a great life. Every step of the way, my family will be there to give him the love and support he needs to pull through.

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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