My Experience with Cancer

Whether it be yourself, a friend, or a relative, many people have had experiences with cancer. Some are more serious than others, but they are always painful. Struggling yourself or watching someone else struggle to hang on to life is not the way we like to spend our time. This is my story, and how I dealt with everything that came with it.

Sadly, my younger sister was one of those more serious cases. She ended up being diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a pretty uncommon cancer found mostly in children, at almost three years old. After that she relapsed twice. Before she was ten years old, she went through a feeding tube, trach, and losing her left eye. It wasn’t an easy battle, but she fought until soon after she turned ten years old.

My sister then went into a coma a couple weeks after her birthday, and she passed away a few days later. Luckily we were able to be with her the whole time, and she was able to be at home instead of in the hospital.

The grief wasn’t easy though, and I’ll tell you how I handled it. Keep in mind, I am not a doctor, nor am I training to be one. This is only my personal experience and how I handled it.

Be Positive

Not everyone passes away from cancer. In fact, technology has evolved, and so has medicine. Therefore, you, or your loved one, have a very good chance of surviving, and living a great, full life. You won’t get anywhere without the will to fight, or the positive outlook on life. Things may be bad now, but if you fight your hardest and make the best out of everything, you’ll have an even better chance of making it. Anyways, if you’re always a grump because you think you have a horrible life, how are you going to make friends that actually understand what you’re going through? Remember, you’re not the only one, so be positive for yourself and others.

Make The Best Out Of The Time You Have

If the cancer you’re experiencing is one of those more serious types, think of the song, “Live Like You’re Dying.” This goes right back to being positive, but it also involves doing those activities that you might not have otherwise done if you weren’t diagnosed with your disease. For example, there is the Make A Wish Foundation that grants the wish of kids that are diagnosed with a life threatening illness. You can ask for a shopping spree, or to meet one of your favorite singers, and they will do their best to make your wish come true.

My sister asked to go to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This was probably one of the best parts of her life. I will always be thankful to Make A Wish because they gave her something that she might not have got before she passed away.

Just keep in mind that every minute is a blessing, and you need to make the most out of it. You don’t want to regret anything.

Be Supportive

I don’t regret any of those hour trips to the hospital to spend time with my sister. I’m happy to say I spent as much time as I could with her, and I know that I supported her. If you are a family member or friend of someone going through cancer, be supportive. Treat them like they were never diagnosed with cancer. Most cancer victims don’t like being treated differently because they have a disease, and they will appreciate it if you could be the same person towards them.

The point is to do whatever you can to make them happy. That means supporting them, and being what they need: a real friend.

Grief

The worst part is that some people don’t make it through the battle. I had the privilege of watching my sister take her last breath, and I will never forget it. I will also never forget how much I struggled with just that single memory let alone all the others.

Grief is definitely not easy, easy being an understatement, but you can make it through all of the challenges losing someone brings.

First, talk to people. Don’t lock yourself in your room. It is healthy to have alone time when you need it, but it is more healthy to get out and talk to people. It will not help to hold everything in, so vent to whoever you trust, and cry when you need to.

Next, find activities that help. I found writing to be very helpful. I could get all of my feelings out by writing poetry. You may find music, drawing, or exercise helpful. Just find what works for you, and use it. Nothing is going to be easy during this time, but some things will get your emotions out and make the weight on your shoulders less.

Finally, don’t forget. You may want to forget them, or you may not. The key thing is that moving on is not forgetting. It’s just remembering them in a positive way, and living your life the way they would want you to. I love to sit down and think of all of the memories I have of my sister, but I also make sure not to dwell on it, and let it hold me back. That isn’t what she would want. Think of what your loved one would want for you, and try to fulfill that.

Cancer is not a word that anyone wants to hear, but it does happen, and you need to know how to handle it. These are the ways that I found helpful during my personal experience with cancer.

(In remembrance of all of those people who lost their lives to cancer.)