This I Believe

Katherine - Jupiter, Florida
Entered on October 8, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that you’re only as weak as you want to be. It’s common knowledge that the brain is a powerful thing. But to overcome illness and tragedy, is a miraculous thing.

I remember every x-ray, every MRI, and every blood test. I remember the starch white walls of Shands hospital, the green patterned hospital gown, and the white and blue blankets. I remember the feeling of my mother’s clenched hand, the look of my best friend’s face, and the sound of the doctor’s voice.

Last year, I was diagnosed with a rare type of bone tumor in my right shoulder. After my AP Environmental Exam, my mother, my best friend, and I drove up to Gainesville, Florida to meet with Dr. Parker Gibbs, an orthopedic oncologist. After several tests, the verdict was delivered and I would have to get surgery. While the rest of my classmates were relieved about the end of AP exams and excited for summer, I was anticipating major surgery.

However, I never let my anxiety get to me. I knew that stressing out about this set back or wallowing in my self pity wasn’t progressive. Instead, I was thankful that the doctors discovered what they did because otherwise it could have spread to my lungs. I learned that although tough times don’t last, tough people do.

The summer of my freshman year, my best friend Cat was hit by a drunk driver. She shattered both of her femurs, suffered a severe brain injury, and remained in a coma for almost a month. But from the moment she got out of that coma, she was driven. Instead of remaining in a wheelchair like most doctors said she would, she was walking with crutches in no time. She didn’t let her weak body surpass her strong willpower. Probably the most miraculous thing about the entire situation was that her best friend was killed in the same accident. So not only was she recovering from a physical set back, but she was coping with the loss of a friend. It would have been so easy for her to wallow in sadness, but she used this experience as an exemplification that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Whether it is a medical ailment, the loss of a friend, or both, you must realize that mind set greatly influences the outcome of the situation. If you allow your weak mind to fill you with negativity, you will be miserable. Instead, you must grow from the situation and realize that you are only as weak as you want to be. This, I believe.