My name is Summer and I am dying… It took me a long time to get a grip over this fact but now I have and it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. Five years ago, I got diagnosed with Meningioma which is a brain tumor. I was only twenty six. It turned out, the severe morning headaches and visual disturbances which I had attributed to migraines, were due to a tumor in my brain. My life ended and began on the day I got diagnosed. I remember the doctor saying “there is hope”, the prognosis was good and “most” people had a good chance of survival. I kept it a secret from my two best friends- Kit and Sam. The oncologist had said I had a good chance of surviving, so I thought, why worry them. I had planned on revealing my diagnosis to them after the treatment began, but then, somewhere along the line, something changed.
A few months into treatment (which was really hard to keep a secret from my prodding best friend Kit), more tests and scans were performed to check the progress of the tumor. It wasn’t good. The treatment wasn’t working, the tumor was steadily growing bigger and basically- I was among the unlucky few.
The doctor explained to me in the most basic of terms, saying, they had to change treatment methods due to the increase in growth of the tumor. More “aggressive” tactics had to be employed which meant more and worse side-effects. He didn’t add that part, but experience taught me. Severe abdominal pain, nausea- and a whole lot of other life- inconveniencing pain.
I knew I had to tell Sam and Kit because either way, sooner or later, they would find out. Weight loss, mood swings and especially sudden vomiting weren’t things that could be easily hidden. Or even, a patch of “no hair” in the head due to biopsy- that hurt me a lot because I love my hair. And then, Sam broke the news that he and Julie were getting married and I thought it best not to disrupt their happiness and be the bringer of bad news.
But the truth was, that was just an excuse. I was scared, petrified, and in an emotional roller coaster. I had seen what cancer had done to my mother, and even though I knew I wasn’t her, thinking back to the pity state she was in, the “poor thing” look people gave her, I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be reminded every single day that I was a walking time bomb who could pass out, flare up or even leave at any moment. It is in human nature for us to feel sorry for our fellow humans when they are going through a rough patch. I get it, but at the same time, I didn’t want that.
I wanted to leave the image of a lively good old Summer, the girl who believed the world was her oyster, who loved her friends beyond the moon, who was happy despite hidden wounds. I wanted people to remember me as “the real me” and not the cancerous version of me. At times, I felt so mad that I could curse “cancer” itself, whatever it is. But it is still me. This cancer is part of me, it is formed from my cells, my genes! Read more