A disease caused by uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body. Cancer. Everyone knows what it is, and everyone has either been personally affected by it or knows someone who has. This story is about cancer and how it played a role in my life.
I was born April 2, 2004 and less than a year later they had found skin cancer in my dad. He had a surgery to remove it, but it was too late. It spread to his lung and was then diagnosed with stage four melanoma. He got into his first trial to try to help it. The doctors ended the trial early because it really wasn’t doing anything. When all this happened I was young and extremely oblivious not only to the fact that my dad could die, but to everything in the world. But as you grow older I believe you become less oblivious to things.
When I was in 4th grade my dad had another spot of cancer come up in his lung. Once again, the doctors did surgery to try remove it. A few months later it spread to his liver. When I was about ten, he got into a clinical research trial. There were two spots for the trial and he had gotten the last one. The treatment was up in Washington so every other week he had to fly up to Seattle and get it. As he got the treatment it felt as if a whole cloud of depression had come over our family. Many nights I stayed up late, crying, and pondering about what would happen if he died. My head was filled with anxiety and sadness. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas that were once cheery and festive were not as fun anymore. The treatment made him feel very sick and have symptoms of the flu. I would come home from school and he would be lying on a chair sleeping, irritable, and obviously exhausted from his treatment. My whole life my dad had always seemed invincible and strong, now he appeared weak and beaten down. This was hard on our whole family.
After my dad’s first diagnosis we decided life was too short, which led us to go on many family vacations. I remember once telling my best friend, at the time, this and she said,
“You know you can’t just use your dad’s cancer as an excuse for everything”, but that wasn’t at all what I was doing. I don’t blame her for saying this because she didn’t understand it and it can be hard to understand. But, one of the worse things to think after someone dies is that you wish you would have spent more time with them. My family made sure that wouldn’t happen by spending time together on family trips.
Due to the treatment, my dad’s thyroid was killed and has spots of discolored skin on his arms and legs. After a year of having the treatment, they decided he could stop. His tumors had shrunk and had been getting the treatment long enough that his body could fight the cancer on it’s own. A year later after stopping the treatment, my dad got scans and there was no evidence of disease! When people suffer from skin cancer you don’t say,
“My dad is cancer free!”, because that isn’t really true. With melanoma, it never really goes away, it decides when it wants to come back. But, if it did come back, his body could fight it.
Though this was a rough time for my family and I, good things have come out of it. My appreciation and overall bond has became stronger with my dad. Also, my relationship with God has grown. Through all this God was with my family and I. He took care of us even if I wasn’t focused on Him like I should have been. This time in my life also taught me, that life is too short and you need to live it to the fullest and have no regrets. When I say no regrets I don’t mean go do bungee jumping, though it could mean that for you. I mean, show others you love and appreciate them, go on vacations, get out of your comfort zone a little bit, and don’t forget to eat dessert on the way. Thank you for reading my paper and if you take anything away from this paper, life is too short so live it, and live it well.