I believe in hope. If there was no hope in the world, there would be nothing worth living for. At the age of six I was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia; this is a kind of blood cancer typically found in children. When the doctors told me this, I was stunned. Although I had heard of cancer, I didn’t understand what it was. All I knew was that it was a bad thing, because my Grandpa Chadwick had died from cancer just three years before. I thought this disease was only for old people. My doctor told me that I would have to undergo treatment for three and a half years. Being only six years old, I thought this sounded like a lifetime.
Within the first hour of being diagnosed, I received my first dose of chemotherapy. The doctors performed a spinal tap to test if the cancer cells were present in my spinal fluid. I hoped that cancer was not in my spinal fluid, because it would mean that I needed radiation treatment. When the results came back, thankfully I did not have cancer cells in my spinal fluid. Then, one month after all of this I had my first set back. I was at home trying to get some rest when I got a fever of 105. My parents took me to the emergency room at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and I was very scared. I hoped that the doctors could find out what was wrong with me and fix it. They found invasive nasal fungus growing in my nose. It took a total of eight different surgeries to get rid of this, and after each one my family and I hoped it was the last one.
One year later, again my fever spiked to 105, and the doctors discovered that the fungus was back. I remember the excruciating pain every time I took a breath. The surgeons did their best, and they got rid of this awful disease in nine surgeries this time.
Finally, after three years and one half years of treatment, I was cancer free! I was done with chemotherapy, the painful shots, and the endless surgeries. It was over, so I thought. A couple years after the cancer I was running track, and I developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). My doctor thought the RSD was a late effect from the chemotherapy. All of the nerves in my legs were shooting pain up to my brain for no reason. Even though nothing was touching my legs, it felt like someone was taking tiny little pokers and stabbing my legs with them all over, all the time. I was supposed to be done with these bad things, but I could barley walk.
Now I am 15 years old, and I am running cross country and track. I am very healthy and happy. Looking back, I realize that it was my belief in hope that got me through all of this.
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