An Open Letter to Cancer

Subject: An Open Letter to Cancer
Date: 19 Jan 2016

Dear Cancer,
F You. You put me through hell. You put me through my darkest days. You made me put my body through more than anyone could ever imagine. All I wanted to do was get rid of you, but in order to do so, I had to go through months of tests, hardcore treatments, surgery, laying in a hospital bed, and feeling sick every single day.
I had to put up with countless trips to emergency rooms and admissions to the hospital.
The hospital and doctors’ offices were pretty much my second home.
I was constantly in pain.
Since my immune system was so compromised, I was always worried about coming in contact with someone else’s germs and getting sick.
I became so used to needles, shots, and tests that it was just another typical day when it was time for me to get blood drawn again.
Because of you, I lost one of the most important things in my life. Since you made me feel so horrible, I had to stop cheerleading, but still watched as my friends and teammates practiced, competed, and did what I had loved doing since I was 8 years old.
I became weaker than I have ever been, had to sleep more than I ever had, and needed more help with every day life than your average 17 year old girl.
I was forced to live the “Not-so-average” life of a teenager.
I was unable to drive, lost my hair, could not go out with my friends, and missed out on so many important events of my senior year.
While most of my friends were at football games and dancing the night away at their last high school homecoming, I was stuck in the hospital, not even in my home town, receiving heavy-duty drugs, just trying to escape your presence.

But really, I just want to say,
Thank you.

I know that sounds odd, and you probably don’t get that very often, but thank you so much.
Although I hate you and you pretty much ruined my life, you also taught me so many things.
You taught me to always try harder, love deeper, and laugh as much as possible.
It is because of you that I now know to not take anything for granted.
You revealed to me that life can change in an instant, and even when it does, it is important to always stay positive.
You gave me the opportunity to experience great adventures that may not have otherwise occurred if it wasn’t for you.
For example, I had the chance to ride in a helicopter, gained the experience of having an ostomy bag, and even had a seizure in the middle of In n Out Burger.
You additionally showed me many things about myself that I never would have realized if you hadn’t appeared in my life.
I now know that I am a lot stronger than I ever thought I was; and I now know the quote “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have,” to be true. Throughout this whole process, you required that I be as strong as I could possibly be.
As you forced me to look death in the eye, you also forced me to tell it, and you, that I would not let this defeat me.
You made me realize how loved I am.
You showed me that all of my friends and family care so much about me.
Thanks to you, I have grown closer to all of them and have a strong relationship with everyone in my life.

And now that I have overpowered you, I am more than thankful for you.
You left me with a greater appreciation for life and everything in it.
And although I will always be left with anxiety and a constant fear of you, you truly have changed my life for the better. Forever.