This I Believe

Abigail - Lynchburg, Virginia
Entered on December 8, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: courage, fear, illness

I believe that courage is more than physical; courage is facing what you know to be an almost impossible battle. I believe that courage is facing the enemy, not without fear, for we all have fear, but without wavering or changing one’s position. In the past year I have come to the conclusion that my brother is one of the most courageous people that I have ever met. No, he has never faced bullets, except for playing Halo 2, and he has never saved thousands of lives, although he has gotten us out of many scrapes in our younger years. My brother has endured a wealth of pain and suffering as cancer and chemotherapy rips through the bones and muscles of his twenty-one year old body.

When he was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma, another fancy word for bone cancer, the doctors quickly got out their label-maker and stamped him with a 15 percent chance of survival. They determined that this type of cancer is rather rare and told us that he had the choice of two treatment clinics in the United States. It was very hard watching as he lost his curly brown locks and toned muscle. He can no longer run unreservedly like he used to on the soccer field due to the rod that has replaced his left femur where the cancer ate away at the bone and muscle. He can no longer work out as he once used to, nor can he stick with the major he had first intended. Yet, he continues to get up on certain Monday mornings to drive with my mother to his heavy-duty chemotherapy sessions. When he comes home, usually five days later, he heads to bed immediately and wakes up some hours later a normal man, wanting food and something to do. He no longer lets cancer slow him down, working important assignments and church-oriented events around his chemo sessions. It has almost become a normal part of our daily lives, as this up-coming April will mark the two year anniversary of the struggle against his cancer.

I applaud and respect anyone that has ever endured chemotherapy. A patient is literally subjecting their body to great pain, for the greater good of targeting and cleansing them of the cancer that invades and destroys their system. They endure all of this, at the slim chance of returning to their lives, where they may not be able to do the same things they did once before with ease. Although the bracelets have become nearly non-existent with an almost parallel meaning to match, I continue to wear my Lance Armstrong “Livestrong” bracelet. It has become a very cliché thing, however, it was once striking to see how many people knew someone that was fighting the battle against cancer. This bracelet serves as a reminder to me, to hold strong to the things that I value in life, to be courageous as cancer patients are courageous, as my brother is courageous.