Why I’m Thankful for the Struggle

When you hear the word “cancer” you automatically think the worst, am I right? Well my experience is a little different than most. My cancer taught me a lot.

First and foremost, I learned that every single thing happens for a specific reason. It all started when my mom began cheating on my dad. I’ve always believed “everything happens for a reason”, but I just couldn’t find a reason for this. Later, I found out the man my mom was cheating with is a doctor and was the reason we found my cancer. Eight different doctors told me, “That’s nothing but a swollen lymph node. It will go away.” He didn’t like that answer, so he wrote a script for a biopsy to find out what the lump was. If the cheating never happened, who knows where I’d be. Three months of chemotherapy taught me more life lessons than most people will learn in a lifetime.

In those three Hell months, I lost my hair, but I learned to love myself. Losing my hair was definitely one of the hardest parts. No matter how strong you are, losing your long, luscious hair at 16 years old is hard. Maybe even mentally damaging or at least the stares and remarks that come with the hair loss are. Luckily, I found the bright side to this loss. With the hair loss from my head came hair loss everywhere (yes, everywhere) so HA, I didn’t have to shave. It was nice while it lasted. This loss also brought confidence, confidence I never had before. I realized if I can walk into a restaurant full of people with a bald head, against all of the stares and whispers, I can do anything. Being a 16-year-old girl is hard, being a bald 16-year-old girl is so much harder. Imagine waking up one day and just being bald when you look in the mirror, but that happening every day. 3 years later as I write this with long hair, I have no idea how I did it. Fortunately, with hair loss, came bad attitude loss.

I learned a bad attitude will do nothing but hurt you mentally. Finding the good in bad is a mastery of mine now. It took time and practice, but I’ve managed to find good in every bad situation I’ve been placed in. You’re on a certain path. You can turn, but you’re going to keep going right until you’re back on the same path. There’s going to be downs no matter what, find the good in those times. Some doors close, so better ones can open. You just have to keep an open mind and good attitude.

One of the best things I learned was to NEVER give up. There were days I cried in the morning, unable to move when it was time to go back to the hospital for more chemo, but every day I reminded myself this is three months of Hell for a lifetime of happiness. My parents never let me forget how much I meant to them and that they couldn’t live without me. When I began to realize that my situation impacted more than just me, I pushed harder. By the end of chemo, I was just barely able to finish my chemo due to my low blood counts and how sick I was. I was in a lot of pain, but I promised myself I would be finished in time for summer. I pushed through more pain than I could ever handle again and did it. I finished May 31st.

Throughout my journey I learned so many additional things, but these, I feel, are some of the most important ones. So, remember “everything happens for a reason”, LOVE yourself, lose the bad attitude, and NEVER give up.