As a busy summer was coming to a close, I began experiencing a dry cough, arm swelling, shortness of breath, and a lump under my armpit. These symptoms led me and my parents to the doctor, ending up in the emergency room three days before I was supposed to start college. What was supposed to be an exciting new chapter of my life turned upside-down in a matter of minutes as the words “you have cancer” came out of the doctor’s mouth.
I knew it would be too difficult to balance school and cancer, so I made the hard choice to cancel my classes that year and focus on treatment instead. Although it was the best decision for me, it was very difficult to watch the rest of my friends move into their dorms while I was spending my time in the hospital.
After months of chemotherapy, I was declared cancer-free and finally started college. After everything I went through, I gained a new sense of motivation and determination to do well. Starting classes brought on some anxiety, and I didn’t know how chemo would affect my brain nor if I would have trouble learning. However, the transition has gone pretty smoothly and I am adjusting to my classes.
I decided to major in communications and plan to advocate for cancer in any way I can, whether it’s through public speaking, writing a novel, or starting an organization. I am up for any challenge, open to whatever the future holds, and grateful for every day.
By Lauren Mae