I learned the importance of health and to be thankful everyday you are alive. Cancer made me realize family and your health are really all that matters.
At age 17, my senior year of highschool, I got very sick. I was ditching school to go home and sleep. I was extremely tired all the time and got a lot of headaches and nausea
I had emergency brain surgery -a craniotomy - that left me blind and in a wheelchair. The doctors said I would only live until 21. I then started chemotherapy and radiation to my brain. While everyone else my age was getting ready for college I was busy trying not to die. I was sicker than I could have ever imagined or even thought was possible, but my family had my back. My treatment was at a children's hospital and I would have to stay there for weeks at a time. My mom, who is a special education teacher, would stay at the hospital with me and sleep on a little tiny couch so I didn't have to be alone. My hair was falling out and the doctors had me on steroids, not the good kind that built muscle the type that made me all fat and bloated.
I was an athlete growing up and I hated being fat, bald, and in a wheelchair not able to walk, so I started doing exercises everyday even though I was extremely weak, tired, and sick. I'd also have to have a bucket near me as I'd have to throw up multiple times an hour. It took me about 6 months but eventually I got out of that wheelchair. I hated and worked my way up to a walker. I kept my exercises up as I still hated the walker. It took a couple of years but eventually I was finally able to work up to a cane. A cane wasn't very typical for someone my age, but it was better than being in wheelchair.
As of right now I am 37 years old and have undergone well over 100 procedures and just had my 22nd surgery, but I can see and walk. I will never give up. The way I see life is everyday I get up it's a good day. I realized no matter how sick or shitty I feel, life and the world doesn't stop, so I try and be as busy and active as I can.
It sounds crazy to say, but it may have been one of the best things that happened to me. I reduced my alcohol intake. I have made it a top priority that I am stress-free, calm, well-rested, and have a healthy diet. The illness gave me a reawakening to always having joy of my life.
Cancer made me a better husband, friend, and family member. It gave me the opportunity to dedicate my life to something truly meaningful.