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"At the age of fourteen, my life changed forever. I went on a journey that most teenagers would never imagine."
I found out that I had cervical cancer in the ninth grade. I was attending Creekside High School at the time. Between the months of August and November of 2008, I traveled back and forth to different doctor offices. I missed a lot of school and it drained my family and me. One of the worst feelings in the world is not knowing what’s really going on in your body. I will never forget the moment when I got home from school and saw my mother’s facial expression. I could tell something was wrong, because her face was full of anxiety and concern. When she informed me of the doctor’s diagnosis, I cried for about fifteen minutes and stopped.
I started my treatment the Monday after I found out. I had to get radiation everyday of the week and only received chemo therapy on Mondays. My chemo treatment started at nine o’clock in the morning until six o’clock that evening. Although the therapy lasted nine hours, the side effects were not unbearable. During therapy, I met other patients in my age group who were battling cancer as well.
The second part of my treatment, I had to be hospitalized for radiation implants. The first time I went in to get this procedure done, there were complications and I had to get a blood transfusion. The second implant was similar to the first, but they used a different instrument which was successful. After the procedure was done, I had to lie extremely still on my back for fifty hours. The third time it was done, I had to lie on my back for thirty hours. My mother wasn’t allowed to stay in my room, due to radiation exposure. She could only come in my room for a certain amount of hours, but she was always right outside my door. When the nurses came in, they treated me with so much care. They didn’t leave the room until I was comfortable and had everything I needed.
The last time I went into the hospital was on June 9, 2009. My doctors went in just to see how much the tumor had shrunk. I remember the morning when I was lying in the bed waiting for my doctors to come and roll me down to the operating room. My mother and I were talking as one of my doctors walked up. She explained to my mother and me the procedure that was going to be done and depending on the size of the tumor, what would have to be done in the future. Then I remember saying, “You’re not going to find anything, I’m healed!” My doctor looked at me with the expression of hope. The other doctors that were on my case had finally arrived. It was time to go down, so I hugged my mother and said a prayer. As they rolled me down, I was praying to be healed and that the surgery was successful. When I awakened from the anesthesia, I could barely speak. I asked my mother how the surgery went and I got the one answer that every cancer patient hopes for. I could do nothing but thank God for his marvelous miracle. Not only was I healed, but there wasn’t any scarring and no sign of a tumor ever existing. I am a cancer survivor!
Before I was diagnosed, I didn’t realize how many teens, kids, and babies were affected by cancer. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the different types of cancer. Like most teens, I always wanted to have fun with friends and didn’t have any knowledge on what this disease could really do. Now that I am more aware, I am even more appreciative and have a different outlook on life.
This experience has opened my eyes in so many ways. It taught me to be selfless and to always be thankful, because there are many people in the world that are worse off. For this reason, one of my goals in life is to start a foundation for teenage girls and women, who suffer from cervical cancer. Even though this disease is more common in women, teenage girls should also be checked, because cancer doesn’t discriminate. I want to be an inspiration to someone else that may be going through the same things I went through. I share my story because I know that it can help them push forward. I want them to be able to say, “Wow, if she made it through, then so can I.” Having cancer does not mean it’s the end of the world. Sometime you have to go through the storm to get to a better place. The most important thing when going through a battle is to always stay positive. I took my own advice and chose to turn my fight into a positive experience.