Don’t Take Life For Granted

Erica - Casroville, Texas
Entered on June 24, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

At times in our lives, we are faced with difficult circumstances. In these times, we may find ourselves tempted to you to lower our heads and give up. Feeling, these problems may be insurmountable. I believe life is worth fighting for and there is no dilemma that can’t be overcome. Everyday we are given obstacles that we must conquer. When I was just two years old, I was diagnosed with cancer. At such a young age my parents had to watch their little girl battle a type of cancer called Wilms Tumor. The tumor grew on my left kidney. It was such a serious condition that the day it was discovered was the very same day I underwent an operation to remove my kidney. My grandma pointed out to my mother that my stomach was very round and stuck out like I had a basketball belly. They rushed me to Santa Rosa Hospital, which would later become my second home, and prayed for the best.

The doctors told my parents that I was a clicking time bomb waiting to explode. If they had waited one more day to bring me to the hospital, I probably would have not survived. The tumor was ready to burst. The only memory I can recall from this experience is lying on the hospital bed with an oxygen tube in my nose and a gown on. I remember my family crying as they pushed me through these huge silver doors. I told my daddy, “I’ll see you in a little bit, okay?” Thanks to God and everyone who prayed, after it was over, I was safe and returned to my daddy just like I promised I would. Cancer is a very scary experience and undergoing chemotherapy is also a tough harsh battle. I was very young, so I can only go by the memories my mom shares with me. She tells everyone that I was the toughest and bravest little two years old ever. I used to wake up and put on my pretty little dresses, head to chemo, get my sticker for my daddy and return home to ride my bike. It’s strange, but I sometimes can remember certain nights in the hospital and the sweetest nurses who watched over me.

In 1987, the doctors found a hole in my heart (cardiacatrial defect) that would need to be fixed. I would have to have open heart surgery in addition to the ongoing chemotherapy treatments. Of course my stay in the hospital would now extend until I reached the age of 5 ½. Dr. Geiser and her staff were the best people God could have blessed me with. I may have been a sick little girl; however I was one of the happiest little girls on the eighth floor in Santa Rosa Hospital. While I grew up in the hospital, I learned my colors, numbers, alphabets and how to count, write, and read. I was ready for Kindergarten. Since I had to battle through all of my early childhood, the doctors were a bit worried that I may be a little slow at learning. It did not take long for me to prove them wrong.

God makes things happen for a reason and I had to accept it. Every time life seems to be taking a turn my mother says to me, “If you can fight cancer, you can fight anything. You should appreciate and enjoy your life because God has blessed you and you have nothing to worry about now.” These words have gotten me through the toughest moments in my life. They always make me push for a brighter ending. It’s really true; life is too special to be unhappy.

My journey battling cancer has given me a positive outlook over life and has driven me to become the smart and strong minded woman that I am today. Life is what you make it and I really don’t believe that you play the hand your dealt. Everyone is entitled to change their future and it all lies in your hands, not the dealer. I started off life as little fighter and I will continue to fight through life because I am entitled to a happy ending. I put my faith in God and he has walked by my side since the day I was pushed through those huge silver doors. If I could give any advice to encourage all the children who are battling cancer today, I would tell them to believe life is worth fighting for and there is no dilemma that cannot be overcome.