Cancer, a word I still find difficult to say, became part of my life at the age 13 and ironically it saved my life. I was a mischief-maker headed down the wrong path quickly. Cancer slowed my roll, not immediately (nice try cancer!), but ultimately.

I had just begun High School when a fever and chills brought me to the doctor’s office. After follow up tests and a biopsy it was determined I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 6 months of chemotherapy and 2 weeks of radiation is what the doctor ordered. Initially I felt like nothing could stop me. I thought to myself its only going to affect my body I can keep on.

I coped through the beginning of treatment by living life more dangerously. I guilt tripped my parents by saying “If I’m going to die I want to do what I want beforehand.” Then the side effects kicked in and I wanted to leave school. The plan was to not let others, including my parents and family, see me in a weak emotional state.

I was homeschooled for half of my freshman year and returned to school to face everyone with barely-there hair. Still denying what had happened to my schoolmates when asked why I had cut my ginormous hair I’d say “I just wanted to.” Thank goodness music artists like Toni Braxton were sporting short hairstyles at the time. I felt this helped my story seem more believable. Having cancer made me feel like damaged goods and I didn’t want to share something that made me feel so vulnerable with others.

Needless to say, treatment was not easy but in the end I feel thankful for the experience because it not only provided me with a special lens to move through life with but it has also prepared me for other health scares I have had since. I can’t wait to share more with you.

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