For my essay topic I decided to do it in the format of a letter to another person struggling with cancer. This letter serves as my story as well as my advice to others battling an illness.
Dear Cancer Patient,
I know what you’re going through. I have sat in the same spot that you are sitting in right now. The same white walls of the same room that you are confined to. I’ve been an inmate at the prison that you are now living in that they call a hospital. I’ve been through the same pain and struggle that you are enduring right now. So since I have lived through it, this is the advice I can give to you.
#1. Do not let cancer waste Your time.
#2.Do not let cancer change who you are.
#3. Do not let cancer win.
From my experience with cancer, I have learned many lessons about how to cope when fighting this disease. To explain, I’m going to have to tell you about my story.
1. I used my sickness as an excuse to submit to my weakness. After my surgery when my cancer tumor was removed, I was in a lot of pain. I suffered nerve damage from my waist down which affected my walking ability. I had severe back pain and I was bedridden for weeks. As time went on, I got so weak from laying in bed all day every day. I lost 40 lbs in muscle. I was easily fatigued and simple tasks became chores. I could barely stand up for more that 15 seconds without feeling winded and wanting to just lay back down and go to sleep. As I lost my muscles I lost my desire to do anything. All I wanted to do was rest. I did not befriend any of the patients on my cancer floor, I did not want to leave my room. I decided to stay hidden and sulk.
2. While I was sick, all I could do was focus on the pain and the sadness. I got sick of being confined to the hospital. I was tired of being woken up every night and never getting more than a few hours of sleep because the nurses had to check my vitals. Oh the nurses. I felt so bad for them. At one stage of my sickness I had really become fed up with everyone that I had gotten so snippy and impatient with people. Every little thing that they did frustrated me and at that point I didn’t care enough to put on a smile and be kind. This was alarming to anyone that knew me personally because acting out like this to other people was against my character. I used to be patient and kind to others. I always had the mindset that I should reach out to people with happiness. But now I had no energy to be happy for others if I didn’t feel happy on the inside. I treated my family horribly. I blew up at them for forcing me to do things that I didn’t want to do, even though they were doing it for my own good. They sacrificed so much for me and I rarely even thought about thanking them. I became selfish in this sense. I pushed away my friends at school. I stopped responding to people’s messages on social media, I wouldn’t let people visit me anymore. I isolated myself, because of my insecurities and because of self pity. I was honestly pathetic.
3. The depression all started when I lost my hair. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was sitting on my bed surrounded by my mom and friends and I was trying on hats with a fake smile on my face. And suddenly I looked at what I was doing and realized that I had no hair. I was bald, I had lost a part of myself. So in that moment I broke down. I got angry and cried because I hated the hats. I was so insecure about my bare head. When I looked in the mirror I felt almost naked and vulnerable. So under no circumstances did I let anyone look at my bare head. Not even my parents. I felt ashamed of not having hair. I had no confidence in myself and that’s the first way in which I failed. The depression only grew from there. I’d find myself having fits of tears, just sobbing over how I hated myself and the life that I was living. I wanted to give up. I was so blind.
You see this whole story is one in which I am not proud of. My journey through cancer although a battle I physically won, was a war that I mentally lost. With my cancer I got through it because of the amazing people around me that did not rest or breath a clear breath until I was in that hall at Children’s Hospital ringing that golden survivor bell. But on my part I had epically failed. I let cancer kick my butt more than I should have allowed it. So now that you are where I was 3 years ago, please take my words to heart.
Make the most of your time while you have this chance to do what you couldn’t when you were busier. Write a book, a song, learn a new language, do anything that you dreamed of doing when you wished you had more free time to let your creativity be the most important thing. Next, don’t let cancer darken your heart. Let cancer bring out the positivity and strength in you. Let your true light shine through . Do not allow it to make you cold. And finally, do not let cancer control you and make you lose hope. There is a difference between getting through it and conquering it. Conquer cancer with your head held high. I believe that everything happens for a reason. So cancer is the time to shape you into a stronger human being and prepare you to appreciate life and live it to the fullest.
Your friend, Faith