Sometimes, it can be really hard to see the reason why things happen. I have personally ceased to try and find the “why” in it all. Within the last 6 months, I have learned that not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 young people I know have relapsed. Some are having bone marrow transplants. Another of those young people lost her battle and passed away peacefully just this morning. Others have relapsed for the second or third time and are attempting to beat the odds. Many of these teens are my friends. With that, I can’t help but wonder why. I get angry, I cry, I pray, I hope, I hurt.
Not only does such news make me mad, it makes me scared. It scares me because of how fast it all happens. It scares me because I don’t know what will happen to them. It scares me because I worry I could find myself in their situations at any moment. It scares me because it spins the world too fast and makes me feel as if I have once again lost control of my life.
I have often thought that cancer can be as much of a blessing as a curse, because it unites people, refocuses people on what is important, and provides motivation to persevere. These past few months have put me to the test, however. After a while, it becomes less and less easy to find the good in so much bad. It becomes harder and harder to feel safe, to realize that life cannot be the predictable journey for which we often wish.
After all the times my heart has sunk and my eyes have welled with tears in the last few months, after all of the helplessness and fear I have felt, I have only just today felt like I am once again on solid ground. Why? Well, it is because I see the way these amazing young people are handling all of the incredible unfairness that they have been dealt. I see the way their families, friends, and communities rally together to support them. I see the way they smile and exceed the expectations of their doctors. I see the way they persevere. I see the way they handle tragedy with incredible grace and courage.
It is from their examples that survivors, like me, must learn. As survivors, we are blessed with having lived through something that could have killed us. That being said, we are all the more prone to emotional reactions towards hearing others have to face what we know all too well. Therefore, as much as we have learned from our own experiences, we must also learn from others. We must remember not to waste too much time being sad, asking why, getting mad, or feeling hurt. We must allow ourselves a short time to feel those feelings and then move on. We have to continue the positivity and fearlessness shown by those going through it for the first, second, or third time. More importantly, we must remember that fight instinct that kicked in right after being diagnosed. We have to remember that instinct that told us we had no choice but to persevere, however unfair life may seem. For all those still fighting, you inspire me every day <3