As a cancer survivor, I feel that I–and others like me–have the responsibility to share the story of my cancer experience.
Diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone caner) at 17, I dealt with “all things typical”: shock of diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgeries, good times, bad times, feelings of hope, feelings of despair. In my future articles (and there will be more!) I will share various aspects of my two years as a cancer patient, as well as my current “survivorship.” However, I thought it only appropriate that my first article be about an object that holds every emotion, thought, dream and fear I had during this time (and sometimes even now).
It’s been there since the beginning: my diagnosis in August of 2000, three major and two minor surgeries, remission in August 2001, relapse in November 2001, my remission in 2002. Even after two and a half years of post-chemo remission, I still find myself turning to it every once and awhile.
A simple journal filled not with a day-by-day account of my cancer journey, but nonetheless, a collection of words that accurately, realistically and truthfully reflect my feelings about my experience. The pages are filled with quotes and poems that I have read in books, heard on television, seen on cards from well wishers. They contain messages of hope, triumph, courage, love, inspiration, and faith. My plan is, for each article, to take a quote from this book and relate it to a particular aspect of my journey. Though I applied these to cancer, I now realize as a survivor, everyone can gain something from these messages. They are indeed words to live by.
The passing of Krista Hong reminded me of my responsibility to share my story, to reach all those dealing with cancer, patients, and supporters. Her death resulted in a long overdue discussion with Geoff, where we spoke of this responsibility and my articles will be just a part of my contribution. I leave you with a poem that is one of the first in my collection. Reading it, an image of Krista is created, her great impact in her short time, and inspires me to share my story.
No Road to Steep
By: Maggie Bedrosian
There is no path so dark,
nor road to steep, nor hill too slippery
that other people have not been there before me and survived.
May my dark times teach me to help the people I love on similar journeys.