I was diagnosed with cervical spine cancer at the age of seventeen. It changed my world forever. I discovered that I now will always be a warrior, not a worrier. I learned to love myself, have courage in myself, and for sure know that I was stronger than I thought. I never thought I’d be spending twenty-six days at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Having my mom, dad, brother, sister, so many other family members and even strangers by my side during this entire journey.
I underwent two major surgeries over the course of a month in August. Having PT, OT, and so much more just to regain my strength back. I even had to learn how to walk again. I wore a neck brace for five and a half months. I went through forty-four doses of high radiation and even though it was one of the worst things to go through, I definitely came out a stronger person and was praying that this crazy machine would kill this awful cancer. I was no longer the normal girl in school, I was now known as the girl with cancer. I get asked questions every single day. Days I didn’t even want to come to school because I got stares and talked about in every class. I felt and knew I was the outcast.
Going through this makes you a stronger person for sure. You learn not to take things for granted. Children, adults, and even elderly people are never alone no matter what. There is always someone you can talk to, never feel like you’re different. There are people in the world that are just like you, so don’t be worried. You may feel different, but if anything you’re special in your own way.
I learned that cancer is a serious situation and they need to find a cure. Chordoma is one of the rarest cancers out there, that more than half the world doesn’t even know about it. Even though this took over my life and I wish I was never given it, I know there is a reason for everything. Everything happens for a reason. Cancer will only be a chapter of my life, not the whole story. Love yourself and stay strong. You are loved.