Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Anniversary?

Wellllll I figured that I was past due for a post. There are a lot of thoughts going through my mind right now, so hopefully I can wade through my summer-logged brain and tap into my writing skills acquired throughout a whole year of AP English. Based on the quality of that last sentence I should do just fine. (haha just kidding, I am not going to try that hard throughout the whole post or it would probably be relatively short)

First day at Primary Children's
It has now been 2 years since the dreaded day of diagnosis. To be honest, there were days when I never thought I would make it this far. It all seems like a blur, and at times I wonder if any of this really happened. One of the hardest things for me is to let go of the past and stop thinking of what could have been. Lately I find myself using cancer as an excuse for why I'm not where I want to be. Sometimes I have to wake myself up and realize that this happened for a reason, and I'm exactly where I am supposed to be. I read in Lance Armstrong's book a while ago that post treatment was harder treatment itself, and I remember thinking at the time that he was crazy. But I have come to find that this statement is so so true. When you are going through treatment, you are doing something about the situation, you are attacking the cancer. After treatment when you're "all better", you just sit around helplessly and wait to see what happens. I struggled a great deal with this when I came home from the hospital and everyone was still in school while I sat at home still feeling sick.

I am delighted to say that I am over that part of the fun, but adjusting is still so weird to me. I am now graduated, and I feel as though I have been cheated of one year of high school. I don't feel grown up, or ready to move on. I am nervous for the future, and worried to see how my body (which, I like to say has been aged 50 years) holds up while trying to fulfill my dream of playing college volleyball. Everything is so unknown. But I think that is a valuable life lesson that I had to learn all to early: That life is unknown. And we just have to hold on to what makes us happy and run full force into the dark abyss of the unknown. (good imagery yeah?)

I also have a hard time with the fact that I am doing so well. My longterm BMT check up was scheduled for june 12 (my diagnosis date). When I found out it was on this day I got mad at my mom for scheduling it on my "bad luck day". All she said was, "Well it's time we turned it into a good luck day." And a good luck day it shall be. (Well, still not fond of the date but who can blame me?) Everything looked good, and normal. Which is great. But then we go over to the floor and visit some friends who aren't so lucky, and who are still fighting this stupid disease. I wonder every day why it is that God has given me a second chance, and these adorable "Cancer Fighting Cuties" still have to fight for their life, some of them not making it in the end. Life truly is not fair, but I will trust that the man upstairs knows what he's doing.

So...enough of these troubling thoughts. There is SO much that I am so happy to be alive for. I will just name a few: FAMILY- I love my family, and love spending time with them. Cancer brought us closer together, and now I hold on to the times we have just a little bit tighter. FRIENDS- I am so glad I got to go back for my senior year of high school, and to be with my friends for one more year. I couldn't have made it without them. FOOD- this subject is very near and dear to my heart. There is something about having typhlitis and not being able to eat for 3 weeks, or months of no appetite and IV nutrition , that REALLY makes one treasure food. I love having an appetite again, and I love eating good food. SCHOOL- yes, I said it. But I think I said it before. I will take the stress of school over sitting at home doing nothing any day. Although I find it ironic that I just now discovered Netflix now that I am extremely busy. Oh well. SHOWERS- I have now had my central line out for over a year, and every time I step in the hot shower I think 'this is so much better than sitting in a bath tub up to my waist' either that or, 'ahhhhhhh'. HAIR, HAIR, HAIR- I have hair! I love it! I can now put my hair on a bun on the top of my head. I can't believe it is long enough! I love being lazy and having the luxury of throwing my hair into a pony tail, or worrying about how I am going to wear it. SOOo nice.

Me in June, 2012

It is so, so easy for me to list off all of the things that cancer has taken away from me. But when I take a closer look it has given me and taught me so many valuable lessons. Cancer does not define me. Although this statement seems like a "No Duh" , it is really hard for me to realize at times. I am who I am despite cancer. There is more to me than my story, and I think I tend to use it as a crutch sometimes. I always think, "oh, if they only knew what I have been through." But it is time to make a new story, and time to realize that everything has happened as it has for a reason. I look forward to many more showers, great meals, hair cuts, stressful school days and late nights, volleyball games, times with the people I love, and many more Happy Anniversaries.


  1. awesome post. great to hear things are still good and you are moving on to some great and exciting things.

    Forever Strong
    Robert Smith

  2. Great post. It must be very confusing trying to sort out your life after something so traumatic. And wrestling with the questions about why some people survive and others dont is one of those things that I don't think we will ever have a satisfactory answer for. But it makes me think that we should just be grateful one day at a time for what we have because life is beautiful and short and one never knows what will happen.
    Anyway, so happy that you are feeling better and I wish you the best as you move on to college!

  3. You're amazing, Rachel! I seriously look up to you SO much. I'm so glad you're doing so well. :)

  4. Love, love, LOVE you Rachel. You continue to inspire. Maybe you should look into a writing career - you've got a gift. Keep moving forward - you've got a bright future ahead! :)

  5. Rachel, I am glad things are going good. You inspire a lot of people. Keep strong. :)

  6. Well said. You're inspiring. Good luck as you start college and playing volleyball!

  7. Best wishes Rachel. I know you will do well in anything you choose.

    As for your concerns and matter who we are or what we experience, the human side will always questions the what ifs and whys. As spiritual beings we put our faith in the Lord and remember His plan is well laid and we are all on the paths we need to be on to learn, grow, and move closer to Him. It is not fair, in our human mind, for some to do well and others to not but, those sweet children and adults going through illness and hard times have the opportunity to be even closer to God. Good or bad He will bless them and help them. He was there for you and He is still there for all of those going though it. We all just have different degrees of challenges because of our unique individualities.
    You are beautiful and although you do not know me well I am so very proud of you. I wish you much joy, peace, success, and love in all that is to come.
    Connie Pond

  8. Rachel you are AMAZING!! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Your words are so powerful and you will do phenomenal things. Look out world... here she comes!!!