The Truth About Cancer
All of us, including me, have a story that defines who we are as human beings. As songwriter Delta Goodrem once said, “I feel like I lost my innocence to cancer”. I too have lost my innocence to cancer.I was diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma on my scalp in November of 2011. My treatment involved two major surgeries, the second of which involved general anesthesia, a skin graft, and a seemingly infinite recovery period. Thankfully, I am now cancer free.
Since I have had cancer, I have learned the true meaning of friendship. I had so much support from friends and family. I learned that true friends are people who are there for you even in the most difficult of times. My biggest support resource was my blog that I put together to document this whole experience. As of right now, my blog has been viewed 1,227 times by the general public. People have showed me more compassion that I would have ever thought possible! This blog has been cathartic for me because it acts as an outlet for me when I am stressed about any aspect of this experience.
Being a cancer survivor has helped me be thankful for my health, and to have a new outlook on life. I appreciate my health so much more now that I know that there are people out there who die of cancer every day. Before the cancer was diagnosed, I used to think that only elderly adults were cancer patients, and that this would never happen to me! Now I know that cancer does not discriminate, and teenagers are just as likely to be diagnosed as older people are. I am also more careful about my health now that I know how fragile it is. I am always careful to use sunscreen, to get regular checkups, and to get as much sleep as possible.
I have learned to be more independent since I was diagnosed. I learned how to advocate for myself, not just with doctors and hospitals, but with my teachers as well. I missed a week of school second semester sophomore year, which explains why my grades went down that semester; however, I learned an equally valuable lesson- how to advocate for myself, which is a lifelong skill. During my absence, I worked on being assertive by emailing my teachers about missed work and then going in to see them when I returned to school. Being assertive and advocating for yourself is the only way to accomplish things in life. Being able to advocate for myself in college is a valuable skill that I possess.
Last but not least, cancer made me a stronger person. Presently, I do not become devastated when I hear bad news; rather, I think to myself, Ok, what’s the worst that could happen? I will just deal with it- I have no other choice. Before this diagnosis, I used to become hysterical in the face of bad news. I used to panic and become incredibly distraught. Now, when life gives me lemons, I am able to make lemonade!