The first time I was admitted into the Dell Children’s Medical Center was on September 18th, 2019. My recurring headaches were the first indicator, next came insomnia, then excessive sweating, and an extended period of lethargy to top it off. Neither my pediatrician or neurologist could pinpoint the cause of my symptoms, so they called my mom while she was grocery shopping to recommend that I see a pediatric hematologist/oncologist. She just about vomited in the medicine aisle of HEB. The fear of the unknown was what scared me most, for little did I know I was about to spend far more time in that state than I could have imagined.
Two days later, on September 20th, 2019, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. I find it ironic that teenagers find themselves invincible, but I suppose even I succumbed to this belief as well. Truth be told, I never would have thought I’d be diagnosed with a fatal illness at just 17 years old. It was like I’d won the lottery. Backwards. In a mere 24 hours, I was ripped away from my home and confined to a hospital room for what would be an excruciatingly long 2 weeks, followed by 5 additional rounds of chemotherapy that would span across 5 months. Alas, to say I was suffering would have been an understatement. However, I’ve never been one to let adversity get the best of me. I’ve got a knack for finding the light in the darkest of situations, and emerged as a survivor who had undergone post traumatic growth. I may be a backwards lottery winner, but a lottery winner all the same, and if something so unimaginably catastrophic can happen, then I believe that something unimaginably redemptive can as well.
I used to hate going to the clinic, the hospital even more so. I can’t say that anymore. The bonds I formed with the healthcare workers of 4 North were connections that I quite frankly didn’t think were possible in a hospital setting. It was truly inspiring. My battle through cancer was no doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced, but had I not gotten sick, I never would have met them.
It’s the most bewildering thing; a blessing and a curse at the same time. I now know that I was given a second chance in life to pursue a career in the medical field, perhaps in pediatric oncology. I will provide hope to those who are suffering as living proof that there is life after cancer. I’d never even considered a career in the medical field until my battle with cancer, and although it may not have been in the way I expected, it was a necessary trial that helped me discover my passion for helping others. I can’t tell you what an honor it’d be to one day walk through those doors of the Dell Children’s Medical Center not as a patient, but as a healthcare worker.
There’s just something special about the staff of 4 North that’s all indescribable through words, but I just couldn’t go another day without sharing that. It’s about time I finally did. I can’t thank them enough for the work they do to change the face of cancer.
Find out more about how Dell Children’s is expanding cancer care, right here, visit: supportdellchildrens.org/here