Reflecting On My Experience With Cancer
Although this is primarily a music website, occasionally I like to dive deep into random thoughts I might have. This is a previously written work I did for school this past semester. It’s edited a bit since it’s original posting, but it’s essentially me reflecting on my experience with cancer at a young age. It’s not being posted as a cry for pity for my own benefit, but as a way to express a point of view through it compared to the current pandemic.
Life is arbitrary, and living through a pandemic is a clear example of the unpredictability of what we deem as living. I’m not entirely sure what I can say about “my experience” through a pandemic without sounding like I’m making it about myself.
No matter how terrible or dismal I can make my scenario sound through this strange time, the truth is that there’s always someone who has it significantly worse than me. But we’ll see, maybe someone can have some “relation” or “entertainment” through this.
In September of 2017, at 19-years-old, I was diagnosed with stage-3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. For those of you that are unaware of what Lymphoma is, it’s a cancer that affects the lymphatic system.
Being that it was in a later stage, I had to undergo a regimen of chemotherapy called ABVD for six months at Roswell Park. If it had been stage-1 or even stage-2, the duration of chemotherapy would’ve been significantly shorter.
Before chemotherapy began, I had to take a leave of absence from school, given the situation. Afterward, I went through countless scans, surgeries, and other random medical exams to figure out just how bad it was.
Without going into too much detail, I came out of it okay and frequently go back to Roswell Park every four months or so for scans to make sure everything is copacetic. Hopefully, this doesn’t sound like too much of a sob fest, but I have a point, I promise.
With the current actuality of a pandemic going on, it made me wonder how different of an experience I would have with cancer if it happened today rather than a couple of years ago.
Basically, if a pandemic were to happen while I was undergoing chemotherapy, I’m not sure what I would’ve done. For those of you that don’t know, while someone undergoes chemotherapy, the immune system becomes senselessly impaired.
For example, after a couple of months of chemotherapy, my white blood cell count was so low from it that I wasn’t allowed to leave my house other than to go to Roswell. The reason I stayed home is that if I had gotten sick with any virus, let alone an illness like COVID-19, I would’ve died.
Luckily, my immune system finally got back to normal levels after my last chemotherapy in March of 2018.
I can only imagine the stress of patients at Roswell right now. I feel lucky in an odd way that my treatment went as smoothly as it did. Don’t get me wrong, it felt like it was perpetually existing forever, but it’s nothing in comparison to what patients have to go through today.
Let me paint a picture in your head. Speaking for myself, I went to Roswell every Friday for six straight months. As each week passed, I got weaker, I lost all of my hair, and couldn’t do anything but wither away until the next strain of sickness-inducing medicine got pumped into the port on my chest the following Friday.
Take my scenario and imagine that a patient is going through what I went through right now. It might even be roughly the same situation, but instead, they have a pandemic on top of it. It’s unfathomable and should take a toll on any “normal” human being. I know it does on me.
Besides cancer patients, there are homeless people, people without families, poor people, people who are immunocompromised like I once was, and countless other situations that are significantly worse than my current position because of this pandemic.
Sure, I had cancer, but from my perspective, there’s always someone who had it worse than me. Plus, today, I’m perfectly healthy and can do all of the things I want to do, like write about my cancer experience on my music blog.
Like everything in life, this pandemic will pass. Rather than make this pandemic about us as individuals and how it ruined a trip or any replaceable event, hopefully, we can learn what sympathy truly means.
Anyway, my next post will be about something related to music as usual. If you’re looking to support our blog, click HERE for our Amazon affiliate link.
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Originally wrote this for my school blog HERE.