Am I Really That Different?

January 4, 2008
When people hear the word 'cancer' they may think of death. That is not always so. I am a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, and went through roughly half a year of treatment. When I went back to school that year, I could feel that people thought differently of me. I am the type of girl that likes to avoid unnecessary attention, but after being diagnosed I ended up getting at lot of that. Many people I didn't know, or barely knew would come up to me and ask how I was doing. Some people may like that kind of thing. I'm not one of them.

Whenever someone asked “How are you doing?” or “How do you feel?” I wanted to scream, and curse at them. When people asked me stuff at school I had to use all of my will power to prevent myself from glaring at them and snapping back, “Well, I must be feeling pretty good considering I’m here,” “No…I feel horrible! That’s why I woke up at six AM, and came to school, instead of staying at home and sleeping until noon!” or something else around those lines.

It was also frustrating when people would try to avoid asking about what had happened, and the Jimmy Fund Clinic. They didn’t understand that I didn’t mind talking about it from time to time. Before school let out I got to the point where I can joke around about being a cancer survivor. I remember there was one kid in my science class that would ask about my treatments too much. Eventually it got really annoying.

I guess people treated me kindly in school because they thought I was going to die. The fact that they’d just assume that I had cancer meant I was going to die. That would get me really mad. I know that a lot of people do die from cancer, but I still cannot stand that stereotype. If people would take the time to actually think about things, maybe look a thing or two up, possible ask, then they’d know the truth.

I never liked getting other peoples sympathy, a lot of other Jimmy Fund patients (Jimmy Kids) feel that same way. When people act overly kind to me I can’t help but think, “are they only acting like this because they feel sorry for me? That they think they can make themselves better people by showing me sympathy?” I can deal with people acting this way towards me up to a point. But after dealing with it as much as I had to, then you’d want people to stop.

It seems that others just can’t grasp the fact that we are just like them. Even after I was cured and back to school full time, it still felt like people still thought of me as ‘the girl who’s sick.’ It was like they may have thought that I couldn’t do the things that they could.

It just shows that many people don’t understand us, what us Jimmy Kids have been through. Even if we’re cured and healthy, people will still think of us as “the one who had cancer.’

Now, about a over a year after I was diagnosed, I feel that I want to show people the truth about all us Jimmy Kids. To show them we are just people. Sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandsons, granddaughters. We’re just people.

I will do everything I can to raise awareness. To try to show people what it’s like from our point of view. I will walk marathons, raise money, write stories, everything in my power.

This year in tenth grade biology I’m making a video about cancer for my class. I’ll answer questions, give them facts, and show them what I went through during my treatments. I will try to show them the Jimmy Fund Clinic through me eyes. Maybe if I’m lucky all the biology classes will see it, so that my whole grade will understand.

Now, here I am writing this little get together of my feelings through this situation. Just one way I hope to spread awareness, and hope to get people to understand our feelings. Hopefully, you readers will think about what you say if you ever meet a cancer patient. I’m not sure of adult cancer patients feel the same way as us teenage ones. But I have a feeling that almost any teenage cancer patient you meet will agree with what I said.

If there’s one thing I’m proud of in my life, it’s being a Jimmy Kid. That’s one thing I feel I will never regret. I’m proud to be a Jimmy Kid!

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