At the start of the decade, I was 11 years old. What I found to be most important was the 6th grade, not going over my monthly text limit on my phone, adding new songs to my iPod, and staying up with friends to watch iCarly specials in our favorite pajamas. I had no idea what the next 10 years had in store for me. I thought that it would be finishing middle school, heading to high school with my class, and family vacations with the ones I love. I expected a very normal way of life, something I’d always known. A few months in, I have come to find that it wouldn’t be at all what I expected.
I was diagnosed with cancer.
I found myself thrown into a world of doctors, nurses, tests, and experiencing days where I felt so weak that I couldn’t even get out of bed. When the 10 months of chemotherapy and radiation were over, I was informed that my “new normal” would be MRI scans every 3-6 months for at least 5 years to make sure I was okay and stayed healthy. With this reality, I promised myself that I would have a normal life. I tried to remain strong and push the fear of having to go back to the hospital until it was time to worry again. When these monthly scan dates would approach, I allowed myself to cry but just for a moment. My family and I drove to the hospital, I climbed into the machine and laid still for hours.
I told myself I would get through it so I can return to my life. My new life after cancer that I had fought for since I was that little 11-year-old girl.
Finally, at the age of 18, I was declared a survivor. My doctor smiled as he said the words and the grin couldn’t escape my face. The words I had longed to hear, that I was free. Free to go about my days, free from the hospital.
In this decade, I finished middle school. I graduated from high school. I got my license. I went to prom. I danced many nights away. I was accepted into college. I laughed. I cried. I made new friendships, kept the old. I fell in love. I was declared cancer-free.
Looking back, I realize that I still was able to do everything I wanted and dreamed of at the start of it. What I hope is that I can use what I went through to serve as a message that you can get through anything. Life will throw so many curves at you but that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want to. Fight for that dream, fight for what you want. You can make it there. You can make it anywhere.
And as for the next 10 years, I won’t worry. I know it will be big things coming my way.