Some of you know that tomorrow is a big day for me. It will be the sixth anniversary of the day I found out I had cancer after a surgery to remove my ovarian tumor. It isn’t as big of a day as March 6th, my last chemotherapy, but it is still a date embedded into my brain. The past years I have often felt depressed around this day, but this year I feel happy. Grateful. Alive. So as I sat in my Humanities class this afternoon I tried to think of six memories I have of that period of time that I don’t usually think of. They’re pretty small stuff, but all meaningful.

1) One person that has drifted from my mind, but I am now happy to remember, is one of my first nurses I had at UCSF, TIffany. I wish I would have found a way to keep in contact with her since I didn’t know I would only be there for one chemo round (I spent the rest at UCSF’s Children Hospital). She had the biggest smile and her energy was the best I could have asked for. I remember her constantly telling me how brave and strong I was and though I didn’t believe it at first, her words always stuck to me. I’ll always remember the morning I got discharged and us getting a picture together; I just need to ask my mom where that photograph is!

2) The night my mother didn’t stay with me was a hard one. It was the last day I was staying at UCSF the first time (twelve days total) and she had gone just as stir crazy as I did after being in that hospital room so long. I understand now that she just wanted to sleep in her own bed for a night, but my selfish thoughts at the time made me think she just didn’t want to be with me anymore; that she had enough of staying with me through my hospital stay and I imagined that she wouldn’t stay with me again. Luckily, she only spent one other night I was in the hospital away from me. If you are ever looking for a company to work for that is great with insurance and families, Costco is the one.

3) The chemo round when I started losing my hair was definitely one of the hardest. I’ve said before that losing my hair was a realization that I was sick; that this was a reality for me. I didn’t expect it to fall out as fast as it did (I would touch it and a chunk of hair would be in my fingertips, I woke up in the morning and hair was all over the bed, and hair would be all over the floor after I walked to the bathroom just a few feet away), so it was just a complete shock. I know it was going to happen, but I just didn’t know how much it would affect me.

4) There was another woman that I was blessed to meet and like Tiffany, I wish I would’ve found a way to keep in touch with her. My doctor had brought her into my hospital room during my first stay to show me what a port looked like in a patient. I was trying to decide whether I wanted to get one or not so she agreed to come and meet me. She was an older women and like most, she was so sweet to me. Seeing her mood as she herself was going through cancer brought a smile to my face and I knew that it didn’t have to be horrible all of the time. I didn’t see her again after that, but she had given my doctor a little care package for me. I think I lost some of the things after I moved out of my mom’s, but she will always be in my mind without them. I only hope that she is okay now.

5) The first time I watched Gone With The Wind was in the hospital. Some people don’t like that movie because of how long it is, but I loved it so much. We were staying at the children’s hospital and we luckily had a room with two beds so my mom got to be comfy as we watched it one night. She went to some mystery room (well, a mystery to me since I didn’t see much outside of my hospital room) and made us some popcorn. This one might just seem silly or perhaps not meaningful, but to me, it is such a good memory. I was a moody girl as I went through my battle and my mom and I got on each other’s nerves sometimes after being so long together, but when I think of that night I don’t remember the tubes that were connected to me and the chemicals that were flowing through my body, I just remember watching a movie with my mom like I used to when I was a child.

6) One of the best memories of my battle with cancer (probably the best, honestly) was one afternoon during my first hospital stay when I was going to take laps around the hospital halls. As we passed one corner I saw so many family members sitting in a waiting area and I just remember how happy I was to see them. I didn’t always feel close to everyone, but after that day, I could never deny the love I have for them. The support I got from my family was what helped me get through cancer the most. I was a fragile girl and knowing that so many people were there for me helped me be stronger.

 

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