It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything. The past few weeks have been my time to finish, process, and try to prepare as much as possible. That’s how life goes. You’re always trying to complete or finish a task at hand. You’re always trying to process your current situation, good or bad. You are always trying to prepare for the future, whether it’s known or not.
May 11, at 8 AM, I completed the last final of the sophomore year; I had four finals that week. This final was for Anatomy and Physiology: Head, Neck, and Thorax. I put hours I couldn’t even count into studying for this final and hoping for the magical 75% on the final to keep a B in the class. A 75% may seem easy, but I had a 60-something on all of my lab exams, and my lecture exams were in the 70s. The only grades that kept me at an 80.5% in the class were my intro exam, quizzes, and bonus points. In the weeks approaching my final, I was the student walking laps around campus while talking to myself to review for this final. I did every suggested study technique I could think of because I was going to achieve that grade. I went to the class to take the test with my hundreds of flash cards in hand prepared as best as possible to pass this test. When I completed it, I turned it in and walked out feeling exhausted. It wasn’t even a sense of relief. It wasn’t until the following day that I received the email that grades were posted; this was the moment of truth. At this point, I received the grades for the three other classes I took, and I got As in all three. I logged into BOLT where grades are posted and learned that I got an 84%! This was where relief set in. I just passed A&P with a B! This professor even suggested after I explained my cancer situation at the beginning of the semester, that I should drop the course as I would not have been able to handle it. Well, I just handled it. This past year has been the farthest from easy as I spent only a handful of weeks not pumping poison into me, yet I ended the year with a 3.5 GPA. Life may not be easy, but there are still accomplishments to be made.
So if anyone is following along, you may have realized from my previous post that I relapsed the week before finals week. Not the best timing of news. My oncology team pushed to discuss treatment options right away, but I decided against and to wait until after finals week. At this point I wasn’t sure what my future was going to look like. I knew I needed to focus on my academics before I scheduled anything for treatment. So an appointment was scheduled for May 11 in the afternoon to discuss my treatment options. After I completed my final, I packed up my remaining things in my apartment and sent off for home. I got home around lunch and dropped my things off at my mom’s house before heading to the front street of Harrisburg to walk and process. There were so many questions: Why me? Why now? Did I miss something? Could I have done more? Is this how my life will end? I know the last may seem dramatic, but at this point in my life, I’ve faced too many negatives and trauma that I didn’t know how much more my body could take. The time comes for everyone, whether it be age, illness, or something else. The questions previously mentioned constantly run through my mind and still do with an end that probably won’t come. I spent about 2 hours on front street until I found my car and made my way to my appointment. The options provided were previously discussed when I was first diagnosed: either some form of treatment or no treatment at all. I’ve always been and will always be a fighter, so the later option was really not an option for me. I will fight for my life. So, with the decision to continue treatment, chemo and surgery were scheduled with another PET scan and more blood work to check for any changes. The scan and blood work came back with the same results which provided some relief that it hasn’t metastasized more. With that, my “first” chemo was scheduled for this past Friday, May 18. I felt so defeated walking back into the clinic for treatment. I knew my chances of returning were high, but it’s only been about 2 months. This chemo really kicked my ass. It was the heaviest I’ve ever faced and it really took a toll on my body through this past weekend. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I know none of this will be easy. I DO know that I will fight and do everything I’m told and everything I can do to make it to the end. I will get through however many chemo treatments it takes (number isn’t set yet) and I will go through surgery next Thursday. I will constantly be trying to process all of this, but I have a wonderful support system in my life that I know will be there for me throughout this process.
With everything that I have faced (more will be discussed in the future), there is always something to prepare for, whether it’s academically, health, or life in general. You can never prepare for everything. No one knows what life will hold next. So when I say I’m preparing, I mean I’m preparing for what I know. I know I’ll have more treatment to go through. I have accepted this for what it is. I have gone through treatment before, so I have an idea of what to expect. I can mentally prepare for the toll this will take on me. I know there’s a chance I will be attending college in the fall, so I am preparing by planning my apartment and the things I’ll need to complete another year. I also know there’s a chance that I won’t be able to attend college in the fall, so I am also preparing for that by discussing my options with my advisor. I’m the President of the Student Veterans Association on campus, so I’m also preparing for that by scheduling the events and preparing the Vice President in case I can’t be there. Then there’s the filler events that I know and can prepare for like work, birthdays, and trips. There is always something in life to prepare for; it’s just never known until you get there if life allows for it to happen.
Finish, Process, Prepare
We all do these three things, whether they’re noticeable or not. And we all do things differently. Life is filled with so many ups and downs that we can’t all finish, process or prepare, but as long as you keep fighting to get through, then I think you’re doing it right.