Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Guest Blogger -Sarah

Todays guest blogger is Sarah. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Sarah!

Hi everyone,
I'm Sarah and I'm a Childhood Cancer Survivor. My story starts when I was five years old. I went into my parents' room one morning and said: "Mommy, my knee hurts" She said I would be fine and to go back to bed and I did so. My mother thought I just hurt myself on the playground or something. This pain persisted for two weeks and then I started Kindergarden and I was able to forget about the pain for a little bit. However on the second day of school I told my mother: "Mommy, I don't want to go to school tomorrow" Of course this worried my mother, and the next morning I awoke with a fever of 103 and my mother brought me to the ER at Carney Hospital in Brockton, Mass.

There I was diagnosed with osteyomitolytis which is an acute inflammation of the bone marrow. I stayed at that hospital for a week. When I wasn't better by the week's end the doctors did a biposy on my right knee and that's when they found the leukemia cells and on Sepetmber 21st, 1990 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblatic Leukemia.

I could not be treated at Carney so, I was transfered to Floating Hospital for Children in Boston. I stayed at Floating for a week receiving high-dose chemotherapy, Prednisone, and many other medications. There are some bad things I remember from the hospital, and some good things too. My Dad would come to the hospital when he left work and come take my Mom out. Before my Mom left she always bring me Skittles and Starburst. Starbursts, chemo and my stomach all got along just fine, however, with Skittles not so much.
"Look Mommy, rainbow colored throw-up!" I remember going down to surgery to get my catheter put in my chest so I could get chemo, my blood counts looked at and go to school. I Went into remission on October 15th but still needed three years of chemo, blood tests, bone-marrow tests, and spinal taps. For me the scariest part of treatment was the spinal taps. I was not losing my hair or the surgery for the catheter in my chest but those painful needles.

I went back to school, then I wanted to go back to the hospital. The kids at the hospital played with me, the kids at school didn't play with me. No one educated my classmates about cancer because people back then were still stupidly afraid of cancer, I'm sorry if this sounds harsh but, get over it! Cancer exists and if don't talk about it we won't find and the stigmas against patients and survivors will never go away. We should not be afraid of cancer anymore, its almost 2009 we need to get over this cancer-phobia.

I've been in remission for 18 years and I am graduating from college in the spring and I plan to be a hospital psychologist for girls and women with cancer. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I didn't have cancer. I love to draw and I wonder would I have my art abilities if I didn't have cancer? Would I be me if didn't have cancer?

I also had trouble seeing myself as beautiful for a long; I finally accepted my scars when I was 17. One scar is on my right thigh from when I was misdiagnosed. I have one my neck from when my catheter was removed when I was eight and I was half way done with chemo, and her sister scar is on my right breast. I think that one looks like a Phoenix. I had finished taking a shower and I noticed my scars in the mirror and I thought “Damn, these are hot”. My Phoenix-scar made feel beautiful about being a Cancer Survivor but not a woman. I don’t think I felt beautiful as a woman until now. I’ve never had boyfriend, I’ve never been kissed, so I thought I could never be beautiful for anyone; then I realized I had think of myself as beautiful before a man thought of me as beautiful.

I have forgiven cancer for the most part, after all most of problems I face today are from chemo, not leukemia. What I really want to know is why does such a horrible disease have such have such a positive word at the beginning of its name? Cancer is trying to tell us something, I think we should listen to it.

8 comments:

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  2. I'm a guy and I had my scars over my kidneys enhanced with bodyart (tattoos) - they look briliant. Your phoenix looks so cool...

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  3. What a beautiful story - I'm so happy for you and for all those women and girls who will be helped by your dedication and compassion. Thank you for sharing and for making this world a better place. Julie

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  4. Wonderful post Sarah. You are a very beautiful woman, inside and out. I'm so glad you shared your story.

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  7. I never thought about the "can" in the beginning of cancer. Why is such a positive word part of a catastrophic condition? Illness leaves us forever changed, not only scarring our bodies, but changing our perceptions of ourselves, and our way of being in the world. I cope with a spinal cord condition which changes my physical abilities, but has made me realize that my strength resides in my mind and spirit.

    Your story is inspirational. Thank you for sharing it.

    Marilyn

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  8. What a beautiful, moving and inspiring life story. You are beautiful! Thank you for sharing a piece of your life with us.

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