19 yrs ago today I was excited to get a day off school when my sister and friends were still in class. I went to the doctor with my mom. I got a sticker from the toy box. I went to another doctor with my mom, my dad met us there. I got a sticker and a toy from the toy box. They dilated my eyes, and I got a pair of sunglasses to wear home. I waited with the nurses and the staff for a very long time, and they gave me candy. I went back to the room and the doctor was crying. My mom was crying. We got in the car, they let me sit in the front seat, I was excited. My dad was crying. I had never seen my dad cry before. I remember patting him on the shoulder and telling him it was going to be okay. We went to another doctor. I got a ring from the prize box, the doctor asked me if I was married, which I thought was so funny. We went to have some 'tests' done. They strapped me into a bed and put me into a machine that sounded like a washing machine. They told me they were taking pictures of my brain, and I didn't know if I needed to smile for the pictures. My parents could finally come in and they were still crying and trying to smile and telling me I was brave. I didn't feel brave, I wasn't scared, but I didn't know what was going on. I didn't get a toy out of a prize box, but I did get a mini can of soda, which was COOL. I got to ride in the front seat on the way home again. My parents were talking about how to have a 'normal' Christmas. CHRISTMAS! I couldn't think of any reason why it wouldn't be normal, and I was excited about presents. My parents said after Christmas I had to have a surgery, because I was sick. I had cancer. I didn't know what cancer was, and I didn't feel sick, so I was not concerned. I was wearing sunglasses and felt cool.
This is all I remember from the day I was diagnosed with cancer. I know there was a lot going on that day, I was unaware of most of it and what it meant. Because of that, I was not upset or scared. Actually through the whole thing-- the surgery the next week and everything I remember having a great time. The doctors were really nice, my surgeon wore a funny hat that looked like a duck, I got stickers, toys, and candy every time I went to a doctor, I also got a teddy bear from my doctor when I had the surgery, so it was not an entirely bad deal for me.
I am happy to report that cancer hardly slowed down the happy-go-lucky five year old that I was. My recovery was quick, and mostly miraculous. Thinking about it now, i think it was a blessing to defeat cancer at the age of 5, as I can't imagine the toll such news would have on me at this point in my life. I can't imagine the toll it must have taken on my parents at the time, but I am also blessed with strong, faithful parents who led a our family past that crisis, while I was barely aware there was any crisis whatsoever.
So on this Dec 19th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis, I am happy to report that I have been cancer free for about a week shy of 19 years now. Praise God! :)