The silence and bright lights surrounded my life for three years;it was fearful. I’ve never felt death walk around within dull walls until I stepped foot into what felt like a dream, a dream that felt endless.
I remember binge watching Grey’s Anatomy and witnessing a surgeon perform brain surgery for the first time. Most of the time everything works out perfectly, but there are those difficult surgeries that turn out devastating and the hardest part is telling their family the bad news. My brother was eight when he was diagnosed with brain cancer and my family definitely did not know how to handle anything at first.
Every three minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer. I remember asking “how did he get it?” Yeah. I know. What a rhetorical question to ask, but I’ve always been a curious person. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death among children in the United States, so I thought I was going to lose him forever.
How do you prepare yourself for the worst news ever? You don’t, you learn to cope. Everything, and I mean everything, drastically changes. Denial becomes a big factor in trying to cope, but staying in denial gets you NOWHERE. I was embarrassed. Angry. Worried. Hospital visits are the worst. I just hated the way they made my stomach churn like an endless whirlpool. It’s common to have Nosocomephobia, especially from horrible and terrifying past experience. Arguments and noise fill your everyday life. Money becomes a huge problem predominantly because of our low income. You need to be ready to hurt and ache. For the most part you feel numb and clueless. Your life is welcomed with arms and quickly ends in a goodbye. I couldn’t have imagined how my brother felt. One thing that does change that you would least expect is your loved one. The physical changes are heartbreaking, from losing weight to burn marks from radiation. My brother was not my brother anymore. How can I say that? Well, Cancer changes you!!
You learn to attend events in which they support and help fundraise. I was in eighth grade when I made the decision to cut my hair for St. Baldrick’s foundation. I cried. A lot. As time went by I grew more aware of what was actually occuring and realized something important—bravery. Bravery comes in all shapes and forms, so it’s amazing what hope and faith can do. Remission is the best fucking part. Complete remission is like death for cancer, it’s gone.
Despite the statistics of possible death, my brother was strong and kicked cancers ass. So, carry a diary around and be ready to face this endless dream because cancer will be around for a while. But, stay strong and have a great support system to guide you. Don’t let cancer ruin you or your family. Also, cancer t-shirts become prized possessions. They were my practice attire during every volleyball season. I felt proud.