Cancer affects people of all different ages, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and more. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by this terrible disease, yet they hope that it never happens to someone in their family. I didn’t hope enough. I don’t understand how a healthy 49-year-old man can get cancer when he never smoked, drank, was physically healthy, and never did anything to harm his body. Somehow, he did. In fall of 2017 my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at 49 years old. Almost a year after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, he received that news. Somewhere in the following months, he had developed two different types of liver cancers that I can’t even pronounce.
The hardest part about cancer is the history. My dad and I never had a great relationship at all. He divorced my mother, moved out, came back, and now remarried my mother. Of course, this happened over several years. I have that history stuck in my head. His history is a little bit different. He was healthy, never smoked or drank, he ate right too, and somehow, he still got a type of cancer no person in any lineage of our family had gotten before. He did nothing wrong. There was no history to warrant this happening. The history is the hardest thing to deal with. It is extremely hard to still know that he’s sick and nearing the end of his fight, but nothing in the entire world makes it harder for me than knowing that my dad did not do anything wrong and he just out of the blue developed this horrible disease. That is the concept my family and I still cannot grasp.
There are hundreds of thousands of people who probably have gone through the exact same thing. I wouldn’t know. There is no support group for me. Caretakers are one of the least remembered people in cases of cancer in my opinion. I found one group, but my age excluded me. The closest thing I can do is Relay for Life. The American Cancer Society does not provide any support groups near me for kids my age. I want to raise more awareness for young caretakers like me. I am 19 years old and I have spent more hours in the hospital, doctor’s offices, and bedside than I want to ever do. I am 19 years old and I am a caretaker of a cancer fighter. I am the daughter of a great man who lived a great life.
To anyone who has been affected by this disease in any way, know that you aren’t alone. There are thousands of people who understand the struggle you went through and how it affected you. Whether it was a few months or a few years, the impact of cancer leaves a mark. It is up to your mindset to determine whether that mark is a good one or bad one. Cancer was a good mark in my family. It brought us back together. My parents remarried and I am closer to my brother now. We are together in this fight now.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
For more information about Cancer and all things related to it, please visit https://www.cancer.org/
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