|2011 Skagit Tulip Festival|
On August 14th I had my 13th clean MRI in five years. That day also marked my last appointment and end of my patienthood at Seattle Children's Hospital. It's kind of a funny feeling, like being cut loose from the mothership or something. It feels very similar to when I finished treatment and was no longer going to the hospital for weekly visits. It's kind of like the end of an era or something, the close of a chapter in my life's story.
As I have been walking through the past to tell this story it's almost like I'm writing about a different person, a separate version of myself. I am who I am now because of that person and the experiences I had then. My hopes and dreams and what's important to me now were all shaped by my experiences then.
Throughout high school I would always say "last year" when I was talking about anything from when I was sick. Since I went away to college that time seems so far away. The new place and separation, I think, allowed me to put it behind me. I may have moved forward, but will always carry with me my experience. It is what inspires me to want to help others in similar situations. That is why I love working at Camp Korey and with the Sunshine Kids and why I want to become a child life specialist.
Thank you for taking this journey with me. I am glad that I took the time to go through the past and write down my memories because they have already started to blur and fade.
I want to end by sharing with you a poem I wrote while I was on treatment. I have done a lot of writing about cancer starting with my This I Believe essay, then my CaringBridge entries and blog posts as well as many scholarship essays, but this piece has always been my favorite.
Give & Take
I was the girl with the Curly Hair
Until cancer took it away
Leaving me to Figure out
Who I Truly am
cancer ripped me from my “normal life”
But showed me who my True Friends are
And introduced me to some New ones too
cancer can give me bad days
But it will Never make me bitter
cancer stuck its big ugly label on me
But I covered it with a Smile
cancer took a year of my life
But it gave me a greater Appreciation for the rest of it
cancer left me weak
But gave me the Strength
to find the Courage
I didn’t know I had
Thank you again for taking this journey with me.