Incurable | Teen Ink


May 13, 2016
By PhiaRose, Lafayette, Colorado
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PhiaRose, Lafayette, Colorado
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Author's note:

Love life because you’ll never get another one

It all started in a plain walled, grey, crowded room. Him and his mother were patiently waiting for the doctor to come in. The nurse had already came in and collected some blood, and said the doctor would be in soon with the results. Now, the results for what?
One day at school, Dakota had not been feeling good. Just like the past few days. It was just a stomach ache. He figured it wasn’t that bad so he didn’t really feel like going to the nurse or calling his parents. And plus he had practice after school, he thought that he really shouldn’t miss practice because they had a big match in 2 days. So at lunch he went to the library to relax on the couches they had in there because he was not hungry. Being a Junior he was looked up as a role model and that’s what his coaches expected of him too. Especially since he was 2 singles, he really needed to work his game. Struggling to run lines and getting short of breathe. He took a lot of water breaks and stops. Stopping at the end of the drill, Dakota was stopped by his coach to talk for a second. His coach asked “Are you okay? You seem tired.” Dakota explaining that he hasn’t been feeling good and that he doesn’t know why, the coach understood and told him to do whatever he thinks he can and not to push himself too hard.
Later on when he was at home, Dakota still wasn’t hungry, his mom encouraged him to eat whatever he could and then to take some medicine and to go to bed and then they will see how he feels in the morning. He didn’t look too good. He felt hot, was a little pale, and he hadn’t eaten all day. Having only eaten a banana he tried to do some of his homework. Later on, having already fallen asleep he had randomly woken up, and ran to the bathroom because he was about to throw up. After that he had tried to back to bed, finally falling asleep some hours later.
That next morning his dad had come into his room wondering if he had needed a ride to school because he was going to leave soon. Dakota turning around, his father looked at him with a surprised look on his face as to how sick he appeared. Walking out of the room and into the kitchen where his mom was, His father had talked to her for a minute saying that Dakota looked pretty sick and that maybe he should stay home from school. She walked into his room taking a look for herself realizing he was right. She made him some breakfast, got some blankets, the thermometer to see what his temperature was and gave him some ibuprofen to see if his fever, nausea and headache would go away.
Soon it ended going from missing one day of school to missing a week because he just wasn’t getting better, and his parents thought he had the symptoms of a cold, so that’s how they continued to treat him. Little did they know what it really was...
Over the past 4 and a half weeks Dakota had seemed like he got a little bit worse everyday. He hasn't been able to keep up with his sports, or school work, lacking sleep and he’s been missing so much because he has been sick. Him and his mother were getting worried as to why he wasn’t getting better. With all the different tests they ran, they made sure the results were not false-positives, so they ran the tests multiple times. After that, the doctor was very hesitant to tell Dakota and his mother that he had Leukemia, a very aggressive cancer and the symptoms were very hard to notice.
After accepting the news and going home to his family. Dakota and his mother had to tell his dad and sister the very unexpected news they just received. They had gathered everyone in their living room and started out by saying that Dakota was going to need a lot of support. Being the one who should tell them, Dakota stated. “So the doctors ran some tests, many times, and I have cancer. And its very aggressive, that’s why I got so sick so fast. Because it’s attacking my immune system and i might not have that much longer to live.”
Dakota still was very overwhelmed because of how his day had been so far, but he looked a little relieved to have gotten that off of his chest. Looking at his mother, father and sister, looking at their faces, their reactions. The look of heartbreak in their eyes finding out that he had cancer. They were all strong enough to pull themselves together and give him a hug. After that everyone had went to their rooms and sat there, in an almost in denial state of mind. Wondering why this would happen? To Dakota.
They had scheduled an appointment to set up all the chemotherapy and other options and as to the payment plan also. Letting his principle and his teachers about his situation and how they can accommodate with the work. The doctor had decided that for every session of his chemo, he will have to stay in the hospital for a week. They will start off with 6 sessions, once every two weeks. The doctor also thought it might be a little less stressful on him if Dakota had tried going to a support group. There was a local group that his doctor had recommended. At first he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go, but he figured he might as well try it out.
Two days later he came to a local coffee shop and in the back there was everyone. Some chairs, couches, tables with food and drinks and people just talking to each other. Mainly keeping to himself, he had grabbed some of the snacks at the table, a drink and a napkin. Getting ready to start, everyone sat down and Dakota sat on one of the couches. Then a girl came and sat next to him, trying not to show too much emotion he slightly smiled at her and looked away, focusing his attention towards the group leader. Her being polite, smiled back. After the group leader introduced himself he said for everyone to feel free in coming up and talking. After the hour was up for the session it let out and everyone was either hanging around for a few minutes or some left right away.
Going home and still not feeling that good Dakota had eaten just some fruit and drank some water. Later going into is room and going through all the messages and note and things he had received from people on his phone and laptop. Putting his laptop on his desk he had started packing a bag for the hospital. Getting his clothes, notebooks, laptop, and all the necessities he will need for the week. Setting his alarm for 5:30 in the morning so they can get to the hospital at 6:30, check into his room, and start his session at seven o’clock. His doctor giving his time to change started by sitting him in a chair, putting in an IV into his arm, and a drip bag. It was gonna take awhile for the bag to empty. He knew he was going to feel worse because that’s what his doctor said was going to happen.
It was later in the evening that Dakota started to feel the symptoms of the chemo. He went to sleep and slept for most of the night, and then nurse came in at 6 in the morning to check his vitals. His mom was going to come at 8 and his dad would be there later on in the day, once he got off of work. And someone would bring his sister by too, whenever she could. He understood they all had lives, he just wanted to see them. He got through the first day, He didn’t feel good at all because of the chemo but he the nurse suggested that he should try to eat to have some energy. Dakota ate some strawberry jello and drank some juice, and some water. He spent some time on his computer trying to figure out how to do some of his homework. Then a little while later he read some magazines and walked around in the halls to kill some time. Later in the day about four o’clock his dad had came and brought him some sketch books because he did like art. Also his headphones, a few tennis balls and some other things to play around with.
Whenever his mom or sister had got the chance, they would take a picture of their dog and send it to Dakota so he could see her. It gave him a joyful feeling for a few minutes knowing they missed him, and took time out of their lives to be there for him, because he couldn't live without them.
One more day until he could go home, He was excited and felt better than the other day, however he was still very weak. Hardly eating that much food, he has been drinking protein shakes, they are easier on his stomach than food. The nurses still coming in every few hours to check his vitals and to get him up and out of bed for some walking. He only had one more night until he can go home. His mom had helped him with his packing and stuff so they can leave and get settled and relax when they get home. His mom went home for the night and said she would be back at 8 am and the doctors said he will be discharged at ten o’clock. He had gotten checked one last time before he went to sleep. Not sleeping very good, waking up every so often, tossing and turning, he was tired in the morning. Soon it was going to be 8 o’clock. Time for his mom to come, he was ready to see her. They could eat and take a walk and read until it was time for him to get released.
Fifteen minutes before 10, Dakota’s doctor came in to give him a check up and to make sure he was fine with going home. With approval from Dakota, His doctor started telling him some instructions that he wanted Dakota to follow. He gave him 3 different prescriptions and some suggestions he wanted him to do. After the doctor left the room, Dakota and his mom gathered everything up and brought the discharge papers to the desk and checked out of his room. Walking out to the car, he had developed a huge headache from the bright sun and he was a little bit light headed also. Making sure he sat down, Dakota’s mother had finished putting everything in the back seats of her car.
Now being at home, his mother walked with him to his room, bringing some of his stuff and setting it down on the floor. He sat down for a little while, and watched some tv. Later that day his mother called him into the kitchen for something to eat, she had cut some fruit and put some on a plate for him. He had eaten it all, that was the most he had eaten in a few days. He felt better knowing he ate that much.
Little did he think he would end up waking up in the middle of the night and throwing up everything, and then some. Eating more food and new medication, it did not agree with his stomach. After cleaning himself up the best he could he went to bed and barely slept that night. Over the next few days he slowly continued to adjust to his meds and how much he was doing and eating, trying to stay happy and hopeful. He knew it was going to be hard to have to do that routine for the next couple of months. Every day he would try and talk to whoever happen to be home and see how they were doing and if they were okay. Most of the time it would get turned back around towards him, making sure he was the one that was okay.

*Time lapse to about 5 months later...*

Dakota had went to another check-up that his mother and doctor had scheduled to see whether he was getting better if there was any change at all, They had known since the beginning that his Leukemia was very advanced, so they had been somewhat prepared if it happened that he didn’t get better. They had walked into the doctor’s office hoping for good news.
That's when the results and came and the doctor had shared the news with Dakota and his mother.  The little hope they had in their eyes shattered when they had heard that his cancer had gotten worse.
It was the fact that it was actually true that he didn't have that much longer to live, that terrified him. He had walked out of the doctors office worried about how his father and sister would react to the news. After getting home, Telling the news to the rest of his family, he had spent some time in his room going through his photo album. And by looking through his photographs, he was thankful for the life he was given. He knew that he had a good childhood, his life was good, he was thankful. And his mom had walked into his room and she had seen that he felt better which made her feel better.
Over the next few months he continued to live his life, Try to stay as well and healthy as he could, while also living each day the best that he could. His family seeing that he was getting weaker and trying to be there for them too, made them be there for him that much more. It was towards the middle of fall when he started to have trouble getting around and doing some of his normal routine. He was not moving as much, barely eating, Not talking as much unless he needed someone. Everyone, including him, knew he was getting worse.   They were being very supportive and tried to be with him as much as possible without pushing him too much. He had a dream one night of many different things. Winning 2 singles championship at state, going to his senior prom, being offered an art scholarship to his favorite college and finishing high school with a gpa of 3.75. He woke up a little joyed by that, And his family had a bbq over the weekend. They had his favorite, brats and potato salad. There was a lot of food; hot dogs, hamburgers, some soda, ice tea, chips, dip, beans, and some dessert that his mother had made. That was definitely a good day for Dakota even though he didn’t feel great later on, he still had a great day spending it with his family.
A few later, he continously was throwing up, and then came out some blood, so his mom rushed him to the hospital. She called his father, told him to pick up his sister from her school and that they needed to get to the hospital. She was yelling at him on the phone, because she secretly had a very bad feeling about this time going to the hospital. The doctor’s had stabilized him some time later but he did not have long, Dakota was very ill. He had spent his last few hours with his mother, father and sister in his room. He had died that night around 9:35 pm. His family had his services a few days later.....

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