Ten years old, first day of fifth grade, I can tell this story countless times, and it will never fade. The mild leg pain as I awake for a new day, assuming it’s a growth spurt, telling myself it will go away. Forcing a smile as I got on the bus, waving bye to my parents trying not to fuss. There are six hours in a school day, that day I could only handle three. And if you had a fever of a hundred and twelve, I think you would agree.
Clinic after clinic, vital signs after vital signs, getting tested like a lab rat under all these guidelines. New people, new faces, everywhere I went. I didn’t expect a minor leg pain to get to this extent. Arrived at the ER, everything was a blur, thinking why oh why did this have to occur. Sitting all alone, empty room, fluorescent lights, ten years old, I had no say, I had no rights. Patiently waiting and waiting for results, wishing I heard an answer from these dang adults.
She opened the door, no sign of mom and dad, I knew this white lab coat lady was going to say something bad. Sat next to me, her hand rubbing my back, took a deep breath and looked at my eyes. Receiving the most dreadful news and refusing to hear these rotten lies. Ten years old, I have so much to live for, so much to do, unfortunately, this nasty illness was not just the flu.
Days went by, weeks went by, months went by, a year went by. Suffering, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally, I’m ready to say goodbye. Countless wires attached to my body, adults thinking I’m made of steel. Drug after drug, pill after pill, shot after shot, it was all surreal. Steroids, Spinal taps, EEG’s, MRI’s blood transfusions. Radiation, Chemotherapy, Seizures, Stroke, in a state of Coma, well you get the main conclusion.
Didn’t think I would live to see the day when I got out of this depression. People were amazed by my courage, my attitude, and my day by day progression. Ten years old, I did not ask for all this. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if my life had just been plain bliss?
I try not to ask questions, God always has a proposition. I gradually came to realize going through cancer was part of my mission. From this brutal traumatizing experience, I am the person I am today. I’m a two-time Childhood Cancer Survivor, who has learned to value life, to not take things for granted, and to live day by day.
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All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer. If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you! Please submit your idea at https://elephantsandtea.org/contact/submissions/.