Most females in their 20’s think about what classes they will take, the guy at work that’s super cute, or what’s on the agenda with their friends. I had just moved to a different city and had started a new journey. But quickly that chapter ended and I was shoved into an unfamiliar, painful, and scary place that I never thought I’d be in. Cancer happens to other people. Not to you. I was 19 when I was diagnosed with Leukemia. My thoughts shifted from what homework was due, to hair loss, infertility, suffering, and other side effects. My priorities changed drastically. I was no longer worried about social activities, jobs, or the projects I was engulfed in at school. I was fighting for my life.
Having cancer is a full time job. A days-worth of work consisted of tackling the plethora of side effects of each medication. Every day is a battle. Whether it’s physical or mental, I was struggling. Friends mean well, but the shock of having cancer eventually wears off and it became old news to friends and family who didn't see what I went through every day. There were days spent bedridden in excruciating pain that not even morphine could subside. But there were also days spent with my mom when I laughed harder than I ever had in my entire life.
I see now that my life wasn’t put on pause, but went down an extremely different path from everyone I knew. I forged a stronger relationship with my mom, brothers, and sisters in law. Once I hit the one year mark, the thought of having cancer no longer felt surreal or like a horrible nightmare I needed to escape. I found acceptance and am thankful for the ups and downs, the people I met, and the strength I found within myself. Through my cancer, God has shaped me into a strong, compassionate person. I am able to appreciate life’s precious moments and I hope that never goes away. I can be proud of myself and the obstacles I have fought and continue to fight. Although my journey is far from over, I continue to find strength in God and the people at my side.