It's a funny thing to think about. February 1st, 2002 I was in the operating room for my first surgery to remove a cancerous brain tumor. It has been ten years and still it seems like it was only yesterday. I mean that. For many years I wanted to hdie my cancer for reasons of not shame, but pride. I believed that there is no use in having people know as they will treat you differently. I've learned that if they treat you differently because of cancer they are truly not worth your time as a person.
I remember playing a video game a few days before my surgery on a PlayStation 2 that we had at the time. It was probably later at night, at least for an eight year old. I remember very clearly it was a WWE wrestling game. I'm not sure why I remember this, but I know I unlocked almost everything in my time of recovery. My Mom asked me if I wanted to go watch TV with her and my Dad. For some reason I started to cry and told her I just wanted to play my game. I don't think there is any reality to an eight year old about the possibility of dying, or the idea of God, or anything of the sort. I just knew I had to have surgery. I knew I had a tumor on my brain. I knew I was really sick, but that was because I felt sick all of the time because of the tumor. Quite honestly I don't remember anything until the day of the surgery. I remember the car ride home from the doctor when I was officially diagnosed January 27, 2002. I remember not really understanding what was wrong with me. I just knew my Mom was really sad in the front seat. I remember fasting in preparation of the surgery.
February 1st, 2002 is a day I will never forget. I remember a guy dressed as Steve from Blue's Clues in the hospital wing. I was at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center awaiting my surgery that was to be performed by Dr. James Wilson and Dr. Sami. I don't remember a whole lot, but I remember when they needed to start my IV. My Mom and Dad were gone in the cafeteria and my grandparents were in the room with me. A nurse came in ready to start it, and I wasn't ready. I wanted my Mom and my Dad. I was too afraid to say anything because they were older and I didn't know what to do, but I recall my memere being worried about it. I remember them puncturing me and I only remember lots of pain and lots of crying. I think this is when I became extremely afraid of having bloodwork done because it was so traumatizing to me. My Mom and Dad got there in surprise I think, and it took the nurses many times to get the needle in. I remember feeling faint and sweating coldly then almost passing out as they hit a vein wrong and collapsed it. When it was done and over with I had wanted to die.
I don't remember much more. I don't remember being put under. I only remember waking up and having my Mom and Dad near me. I think they had a radio playing KISS music because they were my favorite band at the time. I could barely speak. I could barely do anything. I don't remember anything, but I know everyone one by one came to visit me. I remember one visitor in particular. My brother Ryan. He's older than me by ten years, so he's not my oldest brother. I remember him crying. I also remember his friend Marc bringing me a video game and I couldn't even say "thank you." I also remember my other grandparents on my Dad's side visiting me and I couldn't say anything because I was so exhausted. I remember having extreme dizzy spells during their visit and I couldn't do anything to make them leave because I was too afraid. I remember only eating spaghettios, bacon, pickles, and hot cocoa. I remember the principal of my school visiting me and all of my teachers and I even remember the guy who came in to shave the rest of my head after the surgery. I remember waking up to see the Patriots win their first Superbowl. I remember getting my KISS blanket. I remember going home, trying to walk, and falling and hitting my head on a table and crying saying I was sorry. I remember a lot, but not everything.
So, yes, I am a cancer survivor. And that has made me extremely bitter, extremely loving, extremely confused. You better believe I don't wonder why I lived and so many others died. You better believe I don't ask myself why God would accept some prayers and not others. I feel guilty sometimes. I feel like I need to live up to a standard that is more than other people I know because I am living while others are buried in the ground. Little babies, little kids, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters. I've had days of prayer, and days of telling God how he can go and be forgotten about. Why me? This was only the beginning really. February 28, 2003 was my second surgery. But, I'll wait until that time to bring it up. How do I feel now? I feel fine. I'm alive. Still asking why me, now believing in an uninvolved God, now trying to be the best I can be. If mistakes are made I'll be sure to rectify them. I owe it to myself, to others, and to people I will never meet. There is blood in me that is not mine. I need to live for much more than myself because of this, and it's not something I take lightly.