My first visit to the National Botanical Garden was when I was a very young boy. I was born and brought up in a place where trees thrive, but this visit was a great experience for me. The garden had well-manicured flowers and comfortable for a morning outing. It had a fascinating and captivating scenery full of trees and rocks of all kinds that never had I seen before in my life. After going round the garden with my mother, I was enthralled by the rocks that existed in the garden. I went to where there was a collection of rocks entirely hidden by shrubs. When I lifted one of the rocks, I unearthed a rock that left me in amazement and made me realize the sheer intricacy of our planet. I tried to take it home because I thought it was a meteorite and everybody laughed at me. I was so heartbroken and swore to keep this ordeal a top-secret. I was supposed to enjoy the experience in the botanical garden, but it ended badly when laughter humiliated me. I mulled over this rock for days, and when it was time to take action, Rock County Junior School library stood out for me. I went back to school the following week and researched in the library to get a glimpse of this rock. I could read until late at night because the school was located not far from home.
Weeks later, my Geography teacher came to class one day, and I recognized what he was carrying in his hand. It was an obsidian rock similar to the one I had unearthed in the botanical garden and had read much about it. When the teacher asked the name of the rock, the whole class was surprised that I gave the right answer. They could not believe this because they used to know me as the most stupid kid in class and had developed unhealthy relationship with them because of such scathing references. I wanted to make a point through this and get away from the unnecessary shame that I had undergone several times both in school and at home. I employed this tactic, and no one noticed my seriousness, but the importance that this moment brought to my life is surreal.
This moment changed my life and attitude towards my grades and classmates. It was time to get away from the physical and emotional stressors in my daily life. I wanted to sort out the mess in my life and figure out how I was going to tackle this situation because it took away my focus and caused a lot of frustrations and academic underachievement. As I was trying to bring light to my already dark life, disaster struck. I became so stressed, but still, so many people have never realized this and the importance of this secret to me. I was diagnosed with lung cancer at its first stage. It was a harrowing moment, and life came crumbling down, and I vowed to keep it a secret except to my family and close friends.
I was only twelve years old, but cancer was a big scary word. It was a hard idea which wrapped my mind for I knew its ending was a worst case scenario: death. I did not even understand much about it, but from a brief discussion from a Biology class, I heard that the body reproduces cells at a high rate as a result of a faulty gene. My knees shook, and I could not bear the pain that I was going through. At that moment, no physical pain or amount of heartbreak could be compared to the feeling I had. I think that anyone who battles this kind of disease has the premonition of death, but I was not going to let anyone know about this.
The next few months were very uneventful. My mother cried for the first time after my diagnosis. I came to realize that even the strongest people in ones life are sometimes fragile. I could not believe this, and I tried to hide my tears. This was the beginning of a rude awakening of the love my mother had for me. Cancer soon became part of me, and I developed a fear that I would have to deal with the pain of thinking about dying. I shut myself from the rest of world and refused to talk about it, thinking that if I did not talk about it, it probably would not exist. Despite this, I maintained my physical fitness even when I was hurting from the inside which assisted me because no one noticed the affliction that I was going through.
The first true meaning of cancer was during my first visit to the oncologist. There were patients in the waiting bay most of them wrapped in either a scarf or a cap. Most of them were wasting away and ha d lost an integral part of their bodies. I saw their faces and felt weird because there I was still intact. I talked to one of them, and she gave me a sad insight of the painful medication process and the money that was required for treatment. She could not find a reason why I was there with them in the queue and thought maybe I had accompanied someone. Since I was diagnosed, I accepted the situation and people could not notice that cancer was part of me.
About a year later, I was taken to seemingly a million appointments, and gratefully I was strong enough to start chemotherapy. It was the beginning of a harsh battle with cancer that came with many ups and downs. I incurred huge debts in the treatment that I was unable to pay, one moment I could be in a remission and the next minute is the relapse. I had nothing else to do other than being strong and never giving up the fight. Doctors gave me few weeks or days to live, but I beat all the odds and amazed the doctors on my response to medication.
Years passed, and I continued with the fight. I was still a student, and my priorities changed. I became absorbed in my social life and the activities in school. I was less worried about my status and but sometimes I was scared of preparing myself for the worst, yet more years passed. My body had been through a lot of surgeries and chemotherapy treatments that made my body to grow weaker and weaker. The doctors had always had negative comments about my status and had prepared my family for the worse, but I kept fighting on. I realized that cancer would not steal my joy, and having it is not a death sentence.
Cancer diagnosis taught me a lot of lessons and this experience was important to me. As I went on with chemotherapy, I realized that I could help victims to fight this disease because I achieved the impossible and I could help someone do the same. I became an intern at the St. James Hospital cancer center despite little training. I learned new things each day that assisted me to grow and successfully coached other people on how to manage cancer.
Having cancer was also important because it helped me to save lives and keep my own. I continued to grow stronger as I helped patients to grow strong despite the suffering. Notwithstanding the onslaught of cancer, I refused to let this stop me from finishing the internship, and when I was sick, I could still do everything to show up. I wanted the patients to know how to cultivate the spirit of fighting and that no matter what happens, it should not stop one from living life to the fullest and assisting others.
Furthermore, cancer has also taught me to use the available treatment options. After diagnosis, the doctor showed me the value of evaluating the treatment options available. I chose the doctor who diagnosed me. I also found a medical facility based on my financial position and health insurance. The insurance plan I had covered the multiple surgeries and chemotherapy but other issues that were not covered arose leading to huge bills.
Lastly, this experience is important because I got to know the value of friends and family. My fight and survival were because of the people who were close to me and spent a lot of time with me in my hour of need. The visits by friends and family encouraged me so much and wanted to fight on so that I could live and see them again. I learned not to take them for granted.
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