“I think about cancer every day. It gives me the drive and the passion to do everything that I do.”
The first time I was diagnosed, I was two. Being so young, the illness never had much of an impact on me. I lived life how I wanted and did not think much about how sick I had been. Sure, the thought came to my mind a time or two but mostly I just wanted the whole thing to be behind me. I did not want anyone to know what I had been through and did not like to share my story. I had worked myself into thinking that if people found out I had cancer, they would think I was weird, and would not accept me. However, that all changed the second time I was diagnosed. I was fourteen and had more friends than when I was little. The whole town knew about me and my cancer. My private life was soon a public event. I became a household name and everyone knew of me. Now, I am cancer free and the people in my town have forgotten about me and my battle. I, however, have not.
I think about cancer every day. It gives me the drive and the passion to do everything that I do. Even though I am not sick anymore, cancer is a way of life for me. Being re-diagnosed with the same exact kind of cancer thirteen years later opened my eyes and made me think about the direction of my life. I realized that my calling in life is to be a nurse. I want to work with childhood cancer patients at the same hospital that treated me during both my fights with cancer.
I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. There are days when I try to think of different careers that I could do, but I always come up short. I want to be just like the nurses that took care of me. I want to be the reason for a child to smile amidst all the frowns. After they have been vomiting all day and just do not know how they can make it through the night, I want to be their reassurance that everything is going to be alright. Being able to see a cancer survivor strong and successful gives people hope for the future. Even though things are rough now, brighter days are ahead. I want to be the reason for a cancer patient to have faith not only in the world around them, but in themselves. I want them to remember to laugh and just have fun in life. Just because you are diagnosed with cancer, does not mean that you have to have a negative attitude about everything. Live your life whether you have cancer or not.
I guess that is what I learned from having cancer. You may be diagnosed with a life threatening disease but you do not need to let that bring you down. Always have hope in tomorrow because tomorrow is a new day. Having cancer made me grow as a person. Looking back at my life, I am a whole new person with a completely different mindset. I did not let cancer define me but instead, I embraced it, and it has helped mold me into the person that I am today. I am not afraid of sharing my story anymore. I want everyone to know the miserable battle that I was in, and that I came out a winner. My calling may be nursing, but I think my ultimate purpose on this earth is to inspire people, and to show them that faith and hope are two things that should never be forgotten. Even in your darkest hours, cling to those two things, and remember that something better is right around the corner.
I am truly blessed that I survived cancer and I cannot wait for the day that I can share my story with a child, or even a family, who feels hopeless. Hopefully, it will give them the push they need to keep fighting so that one day, they can share their story, just like me.
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