On my off week of chemo I had the privilege to go back up to school to celebrate my best friends birthday. It was my first time traveling since receiving my first round so I was nervous to fly. I had to wear a mask and people looked at me like I had 3 heads. I had to sanitize the seat and everything around me and I remember the man next to me said “are you really sick or are you just wearing that so no one will sit next to you?” I thought in my head, “yeah I freaking wish I was wearing this for fun”, but I told him honestly that I was going through chemo and this was something I had to do unfortunately. His face went from a joking smile to as if he saw a ghost… he told me how sorry he was and truly it didn’t bother me at all, but I could tell it bothered him. After the flight was over he looked at me and said he has two little girls of his own and can’t imagine what I’m going through at this age. I had heard it all before, but to see a stranger have such fear and sorrow in his eyes really dawned on me that I’m going through this and this is real although it didn’t feel like it because I was returning back to my second home. I had one of the best weekends of my life back at school and I forgot that I had cancer for 72 hours, and I felt genuinely happy. I felt like me again, not defined by the word Cancer…not having to worry about being poked by needles or shove medicine down my throat, but I was finally a care-free me.
On my way back home, yet again, a younger male sat next to me asked if I was a germaphobe and that’s why I was sanitizing everything in sight on my flight back, but once I told him the truth he was nothing but kind. That is what amazes me during this process is to see how people can be rude or feel entitled to treat people like they aren’t even a person, but once you tell them something is wrong with you, like cancer, the tables turn and they are nothing but sincere and caring. It’s sad we live in a world where something has to be wrong with you for others to be pure, kindhearted, or just a genuine human being to one another.

My fun came quickly to an end when the next day I had chemo for the second time. I was truly dreading it, as I think I will every time I go, but this time I somewhat knew what to expect and was more sad. I didn’t know how to feel because I had just left somewhere I considered home, where all my closest friends are, and I had just had the best time and reality slaps you in the face and it’s back to the crappy stuff. I was not looking forward to the huge needle they put in my chest and I’m a tough cookie and can handle pain, but holy cow that thing is big and hurts like hell. I went through 5 hours of constantly being pushed with medicine and if it wasn’t being injected in me then I would be taking some sort of pill. After chemo it doesn’t even feel like I’m in my own body. I have no energy to the point where holding my own head up is hard. I can’t walk without a cane, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I constantly am taking medicine to help me through the day, and the nausea is almost unbearable. It feels like I’ve been stranded out at sea for days on end sea sick. I had treatment on Tuesday and it’s now Friday and I still can’t sleep through the night without being sick or barely get through my day my stomach hurts constantly like I’m on a bad rollercoaster. To add onto the pain, my hair is starting to fall out. My head/scalp tingles and that’s how I know it’s not good. I’m scared to brush my hair because every time I do clumps of strands fall out of my head. I sat in my bathroom just blankly staring into my sink in shock of how much hair came out. I couldn’t even cry, I was so numb to see that I soon am no longer going to look like the 20 year old young woman I had always looked at my reflection to be. I told myself that this is what I have to do to become better. I told myself it’s ok, and I more importantly have accepted that each day from now on I will have less and less hair, but that doesn’t define me or my strength through this as hard as it’s going to be.

I know no matter how hard things are that it sucks now, but I will be ok in the long-run and I hope to inspire people to stay strong through tough times no matter your age. It is large events like this in life that make you see who really cares about you, who is going to stick by your side through it all, and how important it is to no matter what be kind to others. To live your life with hatred in your heart is a terrible way to live and I’ve learned once you roll with the punches and stop asking “why me?” or hating God or your life for what is happening to you now won’t change anything… instead change your perspective and realize what is happening is happening not only for a reason, but an opportunity for you to change, grow, and learn. You are the only person in control of your life, feelings, emotions, and happiness… I am strong for myself right now and I am proud to have cancer because it is changing my life every single day.