When I was a child, I had been afflicted with many medical issues such as ear infections with four sets of tubes, a stigmatism in my left eye, asthma and scoliosis. At the age of 5, I had been suffering from what they thought was fsgs. But little did I know and all my doctors know that down the road I would face life threatening illnesses that would become the toughest, life changing events ever in my young life. Not only would I be on the edge of death, but I also would be on the precipice of the most spiritual awakenings of my life.
My first life-changing event came on October 25, 2002. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had to undergo a major surgery to remove my ovaries and fallopian tubes, while my uterus is still intact. I also underwent 3 rounds of chemotherapy which took 5 months of treatment. If the doctors hadn’t caught it before that Christmas, I would not have seen my 16th Birthday. I managed to keep up with my studies through my sophomore year of high school with the support of my family, friends, and an unwavering faith that I would beat the Big C. I have become and am now a 9 ½ year survivor because of this.
Six years later at the age of 21, I experienced my second life-changing-event. My kidneys failed. After many tests and research I was finally diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation called Fraser’s Syndrome. During this time I was put on dialysis where I was poked with two needles and dialyzed by a machine 3 times a week for 3 ½ hours. This lasted for 26 grueling months and slowly I could feel my body dying out. Again, I tried to see the positive side of the situation and remained faithful, strong, and true . I held onto hope that I would receive a kidney soon.
On September 26, 2010, I received THE BEST phone call of my life, a life-saving kidney was waiting for me. Although I was originally back up and had to wait overnight for more testing the surgeons came in and told me the kidney was mine. I wasn’t scared of the surgery or anything. Instead, I was amazingly happy. I knew I wasn’t going to be tortured with having to watch my liquids and suffer from dehydration or watch every single food I ate and starve. I knew nothing would go wrong and just prayed everything would go smoothly. Thanks to a deceased donor male in his 30’s, whom I have yet to meet the family or have a picture of, had the foresight to make his wishes known to his family and make the ultimate sacrifice in saving another life such as mine.
I am 25 now. I am staying healthy and will forever be eternally grateful to be cancer free and I will honor the memory of my donor by living my life to the fullest. Because of these experiences, my perspective on life has changed amazingly. I now apply it to my watercolor paintings, writing and photography. I want to help inspire others to get their warrior gear on and sharpen their sword because they have a right to fight. Like a kid who believes in unicorns, fairies and believes they can fly; I believe we all already have wings. We all just need to learn how to fly our own paths in life to become who we are meant to be. We just have to believe, have faith and hope tomorrow will bring another amazing chapter of our lives. As I like to live by a Japanese saying from Okinawa, ‘Nankurunaisia’. ‘Live for today. Look forward to tomorrow and everything will be okay’.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.