blockquote>This is not new, I am copying and pasting this from my Myspace blog because I don’t think I will always have that one to remember. I believe I originally typed this up in 2005.
So, let me start again from the very beginning. The week or two prior to my doctors appointment, my mother and I had both noticed that my stomach had grown a lot. In my mind, I just figured that I had gained a lot of weight or something along those lines. My mother too thought I had either gained weight, or I was pregnant. Well, there was no way I could have been pregnant at all. Haha. I guess I should have thought something was wrong since my stomach was not feeling like a normal stomach would. I am not exactly sure how to describe it. It was kind of hard? I guess that will do. It didn’t feel fat at all. But I didn’t think anything was wrong, so of course I didn’t do anything about it.
A week or so had passed and I was sitting in the break room at Costco, and the thing was, I couldn’t sit down. It hurt so much to sit down. I remember I had to leave the break room, and I could not find my mother in the office. So I stood there, outside the office, leaning against the wall while one of her co-workers called her over the radio. Once she arrived, I got the car keys from her and went to the car to lie down. I still didn’t think much of the pain, but luckily my mother insisted that she set up a doctor’s appointment.
I remember that it was a Wednesday afternoon. After school, I was not looking forward to going to the doctor’s office. Even while I was at the doctors, I did not think that anything serious was happening to me, or my body. They asked me if it were possible that I was pregnant. I told them no, but I was still required to take a pregnancy test. I don’t remember much of what she told me, I just remember her telling me that I needed to go to the Emergency Room right away. So, that is what we did.
While in the Emergency Room, I felt starving. I had not eaten anything during that day, and just my luck, I was not allowed to eat anything while I was in there. I had to drink something with a contrast in it for my CAT scan. It was banana flavored, but tasted nothing of the sort. It was really nasty, and I didn’t finish all I had to drink. If I tried to, I would have surely puked. We didn’t just go in and out of the ER. We were there for hours. After the CAT scan, we still had to wait for the results. The doctor came over to us, and told me that a tissue mass had grown in my stomach. I had no clue what that meant. He continued to tell us that I would have to undergo surgery to get rid of it. At that moment in time, I was not scared, all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed. The doctor however would not let us go after that. He made phone calls and tried to find me the best doctor he could, so they could help me. I think at about one or two in the morning, we were finally released.
At five o’clock the next morning I had to wake up and head out to San Francisco. I had an appointment with Dr. Chen, who works for UCSF. While heading towards the building, I noticed on the side it said “Cancer TreatmentCenter“. It still hadn’t hit me, what was wrong with me. But I soon found out, as we talked to the doctor. I had a tumor on my right ovary. My surgery would be scheduled for a week later. I would have to be in the hospital for three days or so, with six or eight weeks out of school. The doctors told me that many teenagers had this kind of problem, but most turned out to not be cancerous. Boy, how wrong they were.
The day didn’t end there, however. I had to get an ultra sound so they could get a better look of the tumor. When we went back to Dr. Chen’s office, she told us even more. The pictures were not clear about where exactly my tumor was. It was for sure on an ovary, but the question was, was it also on my uterus? If it were, that would mean that would too have to be removed, and I could never have children. At this point, my mom began crying. It hurt me even more to see her crying. I was scheduled the next day to have a PET scan.
I was in so much pain during the PET scan. I had to lie under a big, loud machine without moving. I didn’t get to just go in and out of there, either. The tumor put so much pain as I lay there, that it was just impossible. I had to take some vicodin so I could relax and actually get the scan done. Luckily, the results from the scan came back showing the tumor was not on my uterus.
Honestly, I was not scared at all. I believed what they said, that everything would be okay, that it would not be cancerous. I was not scared right before the surgery, because I didn’t know what surgery was like. After the surgery, I was in so much pain. All I wanted was to eat or drink something. After I was awake for an hour, they brought my upstairs to my room. It hurt so much to room. I don’t think I slept much that night.
I remember in the morning when Dr. Chen came in. I remember her telling my mother and me… that I had cancer. I don’t remember how I felt. My tumor marker had been about 9,000 after the surgery. The normal range was below six. Remember how they thought I would only stay in the hospital for three days? Well, that three turned into twelve, because during the visit, it was decided that I would start my chemo treatments. It was not during my first chemo round that I felt sick, at all. All I wanted more than anything was to go home.
When I first came home, my body still hurt so much. I didn’t have much of an appetite. I was tired all of the time. I remember my family visiting. I loved seeing everyone. It was wonderful knowing that many people were supporting me.
I had to go back to the hospital every three weeks for five days. The two Wednesdays in between those visits I had to go to the clinic to get a dosage of a medicine. I remember that medicine was the one which made me extremely exhausted.
Now, the hospital visits were what I dreaded the most. The first day would never be so bad. The days where I felt nauseous were the worst. I never wanted to eat. If I did I would throw up. And when there was nothing left to throw up, I would still throw up. I felt so horrible throughout my treatments. All I wanted to hear my doctors say was that I didn’t have to come back anymore, that I didn’t need any more treatments.
Aside from feeling sick, another side affect is hair loss. Losing my hair hit me hard. One of the nurses said it didn’t seem like I was going to lose my hair. I think during my second five day round, which included Thanksgiving day, was when I started losing my hair. At home, I had started losing it, but it was not intense. But while I was at the hospital, it got worse. I would slightly touch my hair, and a lot of hair would fall out. After an hour or so of just laying down, I would look at my pillow, to see it full of hair. Oh, how messy my hospital room became. There was hair on my pillow, my bed, and all over the floor. It was slightly embarrassing. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. The day I came home from that treatment, I shaved my head.
I can’t explain how happy I was when I was told it was most likely to be my last round. Even though I still had to go through that round, just knowing that I wouldn’t have to come back for five days ever again had made me so happy. No more restless nights. No more having to wake up every half hour to go potty due to all the fluids they put in me. No more having to check my vital signs at all hours of the night.
I don’ think a lot of people know how hard cancer can be, mainly because they never had to deal with it. I always think that people were around me while I was sick, still don’t know how hard it was. But honestly, I think they do. I can’t imagine what it is like to see a loved one sick and helpless.
I am so glad that I was able to get through cancer. A lot of my family members, as well as doctors and nurses have told me that I am a very strong person, but most of the time I don’t feel that way. Most of the time I felt like I was such a weak person.
This whole cancer experience… is one I will never forget. If I could, I would change it so that no one else in the world would have to grow through it. Sometimes, I think that smokers deserve cancer, because they know it can happen to them. But the truth is, I don’t think they deserve cancer. No one does.
The only good thing which came out of all of this is the lessons I learned. I learned to be grateful for everything there is in life, and to not take it for granted. I know that so many people do take life for granted, and it really saddens me. There are so many worse things that can happen to us in life, yet we make such a fuss over the small things which do occur. I think we all deserve a slap in the face for that.