Region: Englewood, New Jersey
Cancer: Leukemia and Melanoma
"Cancer is a war and we are just soldiers. But we're going to win!"
During my cancer, the treatment was so strong that I became paralyzed. I developed avascular necrosis which meant that I now have chronic pain and must replace all of my joints. I’ve replaced three so far. I was an inpatient in an isolated room for over a year. After my cancer, I had chronic cases of pneumonia that kept me in the hospital for longer than I’d hoped and probably should have killed me. Thankfully, I learned to walk again after three years but still struggle with it. My cancer(s) gave me the strength to know that I can do anything. They gave me the ability to love like no other. And they allowed me to connect to myself more than ever before. I know myself and understand my thoughts. Even though I am physically weak and living with chronic fatigue, I am strong. Strong in the sense that I can endure surgery after surgery and still stay sane (on most days). I won’t say that I no longer fear because I do, but I will say that the connection that developed between me and myself has allowed me to grow well beyond my years.
The most important thing about cancer is a state of mind. Although it seems impossible, staying positive and enjoying whatever life has to offer is essential. Cancer changes you. Even if it doesn’t necessarily show, cancer changes the fighter forever. You become a new person and sometimes you need to grieve the person that you were before. It’s ok to be the “new you”. It’s ok that not everything is the same as it was.
I want fighters and survivors to know that they are not alone. Cancer is a war and we are just soldiers. But we’re going to win!