In November 2016, when I was 9 years old, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. My parents took me to MD Anderson, where I had chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. I also got daily injections for 11 months, to keep me from developing blood clots.
I’m glad that all of those treatments worked, because I haven’t shown any signs of cancer since my surgery in February 2017. I still had to finish my treatments after surgery to make sure the Ewing’s sarcoma was completely gone, but I learned a few things during those 10 months.
Here are three of them.
You can get used to anything
Of all the treatments I received, the Lovenox injections worried me most. Those were a shot in my stomach every day — and sometimes twice a day — for months and months. The chemotherapy didn’t really hurt or scare me, but it did make me lose all my hair.
The radiation therapy didn’t hurt either, but they made me feel really sick. And when I saw the radiation machine for the first time, I thought it looked like a giant donut that was going to eat me. So as silly as it sounds now, I have to admit, I was a little afraid of it.
Over time, though, I got used to everything. To deal with losing my hair, I found fun hair garments to wear. I learned how to handle the IVs while getting chemotherapy. And I even learned how to sleep with a bandage wrapped around my middle from the radiation burns. I had lots of peeling skin, and it was always itchy. But after a while, there wasn’t much that felt scary anymore.
You can always find happiness
The worst part of my Ewing’s sarcoma treatment was being attached to an IV pole when I was an inpatient for chemo treatments. I just felt really sick all the time and I hated it. I would lay down on the cold tile floor in the bathroom sometimes and just cry, because I hated throwing up so much.
But if you have a positive attitude as much as you can, your treatment will go faster. So, even if you don’t want to be around anyone, try some of the games, like bingo, or watch movies with other patients and families. Do any of the activities that MD Anderson offers, if you’re not feeling too sick. It will help distract you from what’s going on, and make the time pass faster.
Also, try to set aside the bad things after they’ve happened and enjoy the good things in your life. Because sulking and being sad about having cancer doesn’t help at all. And there’s almost always something to smile about. I got free food and special treats (like ice cream!) whenever I wanted them. And when I missed a friend’s sleepover birthday party due to treatment, my Mom and I had a party of our own. We pretended we were celebrating our own birthdays. We did each other’s makeup, watched movies, ordered Thai food and ate s’mores.
I can do anything
I’m still healing in my stomach area from the surgery and radiation, so I have to be careful in PE if we do certain activities. I also have to be more careful about germs, washing my hands a lot and trying not to be near people who are sick. But mostly, I feel pretty good. I’m starting to get my energy back and enjoy playing outside again.
Before I got sick, I didn’t give much thought to my future, but now I’m feeling more excited about it. I feel like I can accomplish more, like my dream of being an actress. My first dream was getting through my cancer treatment. Now that that’s finished, I feel unstoppable, like I can do anything.
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