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Christine’s Story (Leukemia)

christines-story-leukemiaWhat did I do wrong? Why does my life always get f****d over? Why is it that all my dreams always fall to pieces? All these thoughts ran rapidly through my head as the glass bottle containing my special dried flowers crashed to the floor of my bedroom.

Memories can be good things, and sometimes when it’s over, they are all you have left. I was blessed with an extremely vivid memory which I am grateful for, but every time the glass shatters I remember what I lost over 10 years ago, all the times the glass has shattered and all the struggles of faith that the sun will shine again for me.

I get angry because all I can seem to think of are the times I had everything, but was too blind to see it, and how it was taken from me, and now at times I feel I have nothing.

This clearly is a bad angry day. There are a lot of these when you are in my situation.

When I was about three years old, my summer and childhood was cut short when I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I can’t remember all the details or even how I got to the hospital but I was with my grandma and she noticed the lack of color in my face, and just like that I went from normal little girl to a small body in a hospital bed with lines and tubes running through my body.

I had no idea back then just how much this would impact my life.

I remember the day before I was brought into the hospital. I was at my old cottage, my favorite place to be as a young carefree little girl. I remember we were at my favorite beach, I was wearing my favorite pink top, that was of course weather inappropriate, but I was a very independent little girl; I had perfect, curly, golden blonde hair, but I never let my mom or dad do my hair or dress me. Even in our family photo I woke my big brother and insisted on wearing my christening dress. I was as wild as my hair, which I hated being brushed, yet seemed to keep its radiance even in the wind of our common boat rides and open hooded car rides in our old Firebird convertible. I was just an untamable and happy kid.

My childhood …well what I got from the first three years, apart from being punished for my random acts of boldness; was the best time of my life. I always look back and think about the life I had and could have had. I thought nothing could stop me …boy was I wrong!

Although I was happy and content being in the hospital, it is not every kid’s dream to be diagnosed with cancer and told “you may not live”. There were times I lied restless in my bed, tired of being tired and tired of being weak. After a point in time, I was allowed in the playroom with another little girl suffering from the same illness, her name was Sarah. We became friends almost instantly since we were both not allowed around the other kids. The people at the hospital still made us feel special, they let us in the kitchen to make pizza and our parents took us on visits to see each other since we were only two rooms apart. Of course, things were still hard for both of us and I always had to fight the doctors to take my most despised enemy at the time; Prednisone.

Sarah was such a gift to me, I had never had someone who understood so much and shared all the physical and emotional pain of the countless needles, spinal taps and loss of freedom knowing you have an IV connected to your chest 24/7. I think even though we were so young, we needed each other. When Sarah passed, part of me went with her and part of her stayed with me. Although, I was unable to attend the funeral, I still think about her all the time. I believe that she died so that I could live and because of that I never gave up. Throughout my life, she has given me the strength to hold on.

Sarah Tereasa Buxton

“Sorrow is not forever…love is”

During my never-ending search to find myself, I hit rock bottom emotionally. I became extremely depressed and drove people away. I became so alone, shut off in my own world of insanity, and I became so desperate for a way out that I became suicidal. My world became a dark place and the only way I could get out my emotions was with poetry. I wrote many poems, some about misery, depression, pain, life, and poems about death. Here are some of my poems.
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Sarah’s Story

My name is Sarah, I am but 4
Trapped staring at the ceiling and at the floor
I don’t even understand what I’m fighting for.

I never did wrong I always did what was right
Now it hurts so bad I can’t sleep at night.
Why is my mommy crying what is going through her head
I’d give her a hug if I was allowed to leave my bed.

My stomach is starving but cannot eat
I want to get up but I’m much too weak
I lay down my head and drift off to sleep
I pray to the lord for my soul to keep.
Then I stop breathing and through the dark I see a light,
My name is Sarah and cancer murdered me tonight.
——————————————

I Once Was Lost

Here I am drowning in the sea
A sea of everything I don’t want to be
A sea of all my failures and mistakes
A sea of my tears and splitting headaches.

Waves of sorrow wash over my face
I go under with a silent grace
I fall down deeper in my depression
Deeper and deeper into my obsession

I’m overwhelmed with all my faults
My skin is burning from the salts
Salts of what I could have been
If only I could have seen
What the future has in store
How soon I would reach the shore
How my storm dried up in the sun
Maybe I am a lucky one.

Now I’m walking on water because I have Faith
This tortuous dungeon I have escaped
I hold his hand as he walks me to land
I bend down and kiss the merciful sand

So happy to have found happiness again
Now the sun overpowers the rain
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
I once was lost but now am found.
———————————

I Will Not Die

I used to think the world was fair and that life works itself out
But now I’m confused and my heart’s filled with doubt,
The threads of this dream are starting to unwind
I’ve come to learn the world is unjust and fate is unkind.

I always thought you were real but my perception was blind
You’re blurring my vision and playing with my mind,
Slowly like the sands of time you’re ripping away at my soul
You’ve taken all I have, all that makes me whole,
Driving myself crazy trying to fill that empty void
But I can’t pull it together, my confidence you’ve destroyed.

You’ve taken my happiness and replaced it with hate
So much hatred and anger I just can’t take.
You’ve poisoned me enough, I’ll break down and cry
But never will I give up, no I will not die.

You will not take me down, you will not conquer me tonight
I will not lie down in my grave I’ll stand up and fight,
I maybe bleeding but take off that smile if you think you’ve won
A knife through my heart is nothing, the battle’s just begun.

There is warrior inside me that you failed to see
A strength you missed while you were judging me
She will not give up as easy as you think
I’m drowning in depression but she will not sink.

Through all the pain and criticism she will stand tall
When pushed passed the limit she will not fall,
I will take whatever you give to me
And with god by my side I will be free.

I won’t bow down to you and just take the abuse
You can’t break my faith, don’t try there’s no use.
So you can turn that smile into a frown
Because this is one girl that just won’t go down.
————————————-

What If Faith is Not Enough

When reality finally hits you it hurts
When the truth comes into focus it’s brutally painful.
Hope isn’t always enough
It’s not always a happy ending.
What happens when faith is not enough?

I get hot flashes
My depression splashes
My soul is cold like stone,
the fear of being alone.

So now I lay me down to sleep
I pray you lord my soul to keep
Don’t let me die before I wake
I pray you lord my soul do not take.

I barely have a past
And may have no future
Empty pages of a book
A story left unwritten
A life left unlived
A hope left in the dust.
Please don’t take me yet
Your mercy you won’t regret
I am down on my knees
Begging you please
Don’t take me away.

At night I dream a misty graveyard
A tombstone the name I cannot see
A flashlight in the darkness
A figure so lifeless I cannot breathe,
Then I awake not as fearless as I may seem.

If this is my future
And if it comes to pass
And this breath be my last
Then this thought to you I cast.

What if faith is not enough?
Then life would be rather tough
With nothing to believe in
And nothing to justify
Nothing to keep you sane
Nothing to grasp when you fall
You will have nothing,
nothing at all.

Sometimes that is how I am
Falling in the darkness
With nothing to take hold
This feeling leaves me cold
hearted, soulless, empty.
All I feel is the pain of being unreal
No one knows how this life feels,
when you are so lifeless.

So now I lay me down to cry
I pray you lord you can’t let me die.
Now I lay me down to sleep
Close my eyes without a peep
Never to be opened again.
———————————–

My story begins at the age of three in the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

I saw the tears in my mother’s eyes and the concern on my father’s face. I had no idea why or what was happening. “What’s going on momma?” I asked her. She didn’t reply, she just held my hand and started to cry.

Read all my stories and poems at http://childhood-cancer-survivor.com/

Christine
Ontario, Canada
Submitted 08/16/2020

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.

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