Living With Cancer

July 20, 2010
I am a 16-year-old from NJ and this is my story:

Sometime in August of 2009, my body began to itch like crazy. After a few weeks of this, my mom and I contacted my pediatrician. She told us that I was probably allergic to the type of soap or laundry detergent we were using. She recommended that I switch to Aveeno body wash and lotion. I continued this for five months, but still the itching persisted increasing with intensity over time. It got to the point where I was scratching my skin raw, especially on my feet. I would scratch them so much that it hurt to wear socks and shoes.

Then around Thanksgiving, I developed a cough and persistent headaches. Now, I associated this with a sinus infection because I have been prone to them in the past; I even have had surgery to try and resolve this problem. I went to my pediatrician and she put me an antibiotic for the sinus infection, but this did not give me any relief from the cough and headaches. We then went to my ENT and he put me on a stronger antibiotic for the same thing, a sinus infection. Once again, no relief. He then ordered a Sinus Cat-Scan to see what was going on in my sinuses, with the intention that surgery was the next option.

During this same time period, my uncle was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. Sadly, he passed away form the disease just three weeks from diagnoses, on Christmas Eve 2009. At my uncle's funeral, most of my family who I do not see often said that I did not look good and that I had lost a lot of weight. His passing really scared my mom into thinking that there might be something seriously wrong with me. She had my pediatrician run blood work on me while I was still seeing my ENT. All of these tests came out negative, still no answers. My pediatrician then decided that since I was going for a Sinus Cat-Scan for my ENT, that she would have me get a chest X-Ray just to make sure everything was alright. That was the day that changed my life.

It was Thursday January 7, 2010 and I was in the waiting room awaiting the technician who would perform the Sinus Cat-Scan. I had just had the chest x-ray when my mom's cell phone rang. She went outside to answer it, and my brother and I remained in the waiting room. I had the Cat-Scan done and then was getting ready to go find my mom when she came back inside crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that that was my pediatrician calling with the results of the Chest X-Ray. They had found a mass in my chest and it was probably cancerous. Upon hearing the news, my brother immediately began crying. He exclaimed to us, "Is he going to die like Uncle XXXXXX?" Seeing my brother's reaction devastated me.

I also began to cry, not for fear of death, but from the fear of leaving those who I loved and loved me behind. The thought of them having to continue living their lives with the pain of not having me, made me want to puke. I knew that from now on i would have to face some very challenging times, but that my faith in Jesus Christ would keep me strong.

Over the next six days, I went through a variety of tests including a bone marrow aspiration and a biopsy of my lymph nodes. Finally, after five long months, we had answers when these results came in; I had Hodgkin's Lymphoma stage 3B.

My oncologist told me that for treatment i would have to undergo four cycles of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation. He said that I would feel horrible and that my hair would fall out as a result of the chemo. The latter made me freak out. My hair was my life! It always had to be perfect. It took me about a week to comes to terms with this, and then I decided that I had to make sure that I was the one to take my hair, not cancer. First I cut the sides short and gave myself a mohawk. Then after my first cycle of chemo I shaved my head.

At the end of each of my chemo cycles I spiked a fever and earned myself a spot on the Pediatric Oncology floor of the hospital. This along with mouth sores were the worst side effect of the chemo that I experienced. Thank God for that!!

When I went for my half way scans after my second round of chemo, my doctors decided that I was a slow early responder to the chemo. In response to this, they added two more cycles of chemo to the original four I was completing. Of course I was upset at this, but i was convinced that I would rather have them give me more chemo then less and relapse as a result.

During the course of my chemo, I also received six blood transfusions and three platelet transfusions. Now, I do not like the sight of blood, so the blood transfusions were troublesome for me. I had to have the nurses cover up the IV pole with a pillow case and cover me up with blankets so I could not see the blood go down into my PORT. This helped me to get through it.

On May 24, 2010 I completed my last round of chemo! Now I am halfway through my radiation treatment and the end is now in sight. i thank God everyday that he gave me the strength to get through this hard time in my life and that He made my journey bearable.

Throughout my battle with cancer I have learned a lot. Most importantly, I learned to appreciate the important things in life: family, friends, and faith. Now I have always been very religious, but having cancer has reaffirmed my belief that there is a God and He is a benevolent one. I also learned that there are many other children whose journeys are harder than mine. I hope to God that they will be able to get through these hard times and be able to live a long and healthy life.

People all around me ask me that if i could would I choose to not have cancer. My answer to them is always no! My view on this is that for some unknown reason God has given me this disease and that He must have some plan for me. Maybe it is to help others with their battle's with cancer or maybe its to use the data collected from me to help find a cure to pediatric cancers. What ever the reason is only He knows!

Although I am nearing the end of my treatment, I want to continue to stay involved with the Tomorrow Children's Fund. I have been a part of the Tomorrow Children's Fund by representing the patients at some of the events they have had over the last few months. I also am planning on completing my Eagle Scout Project for the benefit of the Tomorrow Children's Fund. I hope to stay active for many years to come, in hopes of helping others with this disease.

I hope that by sharing my story I can help someone else who has been diagnosed with pediatric cancer.

Join the Discussion

This article has 37 comments. Post your own now!

simplyme13 said...
Jul. 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm
This article was so inspiring and amazing to read. I can't imagine what you went through, but our God is a great God and I'm glad he was able to go through your trial with you! You'll be in my prayers that you stay cancer free!
xXxJ3ssicaxXx said...
Nov. 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm
Yes, there is a God. He loves each and every one of us very very much. i'm so proud that you kept your faith through this hard time! may God bless you for your faithfulness. you have my prayers. thank you for sharing this beautiful story.
deanna98 said...
Aug. 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm
This was painful to read but also inspiring. You have such admirable faith and I know your example must help a lot of people. I can't imagine ever having to have cancer.
chefgirl said...
Aug. 21, 2012 at 9:18 pm
Hi. This really moved me. I really want to talk to you about it but I don't know if you're on anymore or not. Please comment back. Maybe we couuld email about it. I would so appreciate it. Thanks. Just comment back then I'll give you my email.
kate12345me said...
Feb. 16, 2012 at 2:25 am
Amazing work, my grandmother passed away of cancer of the esophagus in 2010 (I wrote a memoir on it) and she fought so hard. I've partly fallen in love with you! I thought you were a girl, but then I realized you were a guy! I'm 14, and I can imagine how you felt at that same age when you got told. Good work, please keep writing x
olamide said...
Feb. 15, 2012 at 11:33 pm
I was in the process of writing a sonnet for kids with cancer when I saw this. It is truly inspirational, while I have no family member with cancer its always been really painful to see other people go through the pain. I'm really happy and remember God LOVES you and I know he will always be with you and your family. Keep up your faith, he's able. Going back to write my sonnet:)
otherpoet said...
Jan. 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm
Thanks for sharing this, you've given hope to so many people who need it. The world needs more people with your heart :)
The Big Homie. said...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 11:08 am
This had me all emotional & what not, I loved it though. Keep your head up & your fasho in my prayers :)
TIM2012 replied...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Thank you! I am thankfully cancer free for over a year now!
Bambi67 replied...
Jan. 3, 2012 at 1:29 pm
while trying not to cry while reading this i reliase that you are in this world for a special purpose which is to help other kids like your doing right now, you are blessed! love your every word,keep writing. life is hard but you can overcome anything like you have done...god bless you always and ever =)
15ralyks said...
Nov. 1, 2011 at 11:44 am
i think its really strong of u to be fighting chemo my sister has survical cancer and its very hard for her too.. i hope u keep fighting that devil and win that war
TIM2012 replied...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Thank you, its been almost 2 years since I was diagnosed! Thank God I have been cancer free for over a year!!!!!
Jackie.C said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 1:19 pm
This was... amazing. I am truly inspired. Check out my personal experience article!
TIM2012 replied...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm
I will check it out. Thank you!
Summerland said...
Sept. 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm
Wow. A truly inspiring and amazing story of hope and courage. Your in my prayers!
TIM2012 replied...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm
Thank you for keeping me in your prayers!
Maria09 said...
Jul. 11, 2011 at 2:30 pm
Your so strong for keeping your head up and staying true to your religion. Your article has definitely inspired me.
WickedStarcatcher said...
Apr. 14, 2011 at 6:27 pm
Your philosophic views of life and God are really inspiring. I think that its amazing how you have used your situation to help others, and I hope your Eagle Project is a HUGE sucess !! I too have lost someone I cared about to cancer, and I know how hard the recovery process can be. too. I hope you live a long and happy life and fullfill God's plan. I believe in you. :)
TIM2012 replied...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm
Thank you for believing in me!
Keli S. said...
Dec. 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Your story is amazing and im glad you posted this on here because i love hearing stories of people suriving severly bad situations like these. You're an inspiration :) 

its people like you that are gonna help me get through the things i will need to get through one of these days. my mother has a chain of diseases like Sjogrens Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome and many other Auto Immune dieases that are all linked together. im only 14 now and starting to see many symptoms of these in m... (more »)

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