Eighteen years old. While legal in many respects, I would argue that an 18 year old is still a child.
When I celebrated my own eighteenth birthday, I felt like I was living in two worlds: that of a child and that of an adult. But my feelings came from more than just the right to vote or other legal ‘adult’ provisions. As I approached 18 years old, I was very sick. I found myself going from doctor to doctor, with few answers. And just a couple of months after my birthday, I found myself thrust into a chapter of life that no one would ever seek for themselves.
At the very young age of 18, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. (I’ve shared some of that story before – HERE).
Adult stuff, no doubt. But I was no adult.
Thankfully, we lived in an area with an excellent children’s hospital. And thankfully, I was still young enough to go there for treatment.
Thirteen months later, I had endured chemotherapy, several surgeries, life-threatening bacterial infections, meningitis, drug-induced comas, hair loss, weight loss, and more. I had missed the majority of my final year of high school.
But I had also survived.
Today, February 15, is International Childhood Cancer Day. The good news is that survival rates have increased since I went through treatment, and there are better treatment options than 20 years ago.
But the fact is, until we reach 100%, it is simply not enough.
I look forward to the day when the diagnosis does not carry with it a possible death sentence. I look forward to the day when children (anyone for that matter) do not have to endure what I endured. I look forward to the day when there is a cure.
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