A Frank Account of Teenage Cancer | Writing

It’s like one day you’re just living your life in a haze of teenage emotions. Wandering the streets of your hometown aimlessly with your best friend. Getting caught up in adolescent arguments and then suddenly, you have a feeling that something is gonna change your life for good.

Like chaos has ensued all around you but you stay numb. Unfeeling. (Naivety? Shock? Blind trust?) Before the emotions come through. And you’re thrown into a world of injections, blood tests, X-rays, green drugs, yellow drugs, orange drugs. But something always tells you you’re going to be okay.

Surgeons, doctors, nurses, dieticians, psychologists, pastors, physiotherapists.

You shave your hair off to stop the torment of waking up with it on your pillow every morning and collapse in helpless laughter as your mum gives you a mohican.

You collapse in the bathroom too but this time of an overload of anti sickness drugs and a doctor has to carry you back to your bed.

Learning to walk again, eating as much as you can but still losing weight, crying with the pain of mouth ulcers and sleeping with your mother by your side every night even though you’re 15 now.

Friends raise money for you, cry for you, pray for you, laugh with you. Strangers smile sympathetic smiles, stare at your headscarves. Family hold you when you need holding and make you smile even when your mouth hurts. Doctors and nurses chat with you and take care of you. These are the people who are keeping you alive.

Waking up in the night to babies crying, machines beeping, people taking your blood pressure and temperature every day.

A blind little boy walks up to you one day with his arms open wide but you can’t pick him up because you’re on crutches yourself. His mother tells you he’s never done that to anyone before. You’ll never forget him. You’ll never forget that moment. Or the two little boys who died while you were on the ward.

You’ll have heart problems for the rest of your life and you may not be able to have babies which breaks your heart in itself. But you’re alive. And your life is beautiful. You swear you’ll enjoy every moment of the second chance you’ve been blessed with.

And then one day, it’s over and you’re a little scared to go back out into the outside world and your hair grows back and you fall in love. You listen to music and dance even though they told you you’d never be able to and read and fill your head with stories and make sure you see the world and everything in it! Most days you wake up and thank God that you were one of the lucky ones…And some days you wake up and forget it ever happened at all.

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