On July 7th I celebrated my 20th birthday. I am a cancer survivor. I had experienced unexplained pain for two years. Once I noticed a lump under my ribcage, I had a CT scan; unknowingly this was only the first of many to come. Then the day after my 18th birthday, I arrived early in the morning and waited to have a liver biopsy. About a week later it was confirmed, I was diagnosed with liver cancer. Instead of starting my first year at college I started my first round of treatments at OHSU. I had nine treatments of a medicines, mostly Yttrium-90 and some of them TACE (Transcatheter arterial chemoembolization), they were all injected into my groin and every time I would have a sleepover on the 11th floor in the IRU. In May of 2012 my tumors were to a manageable size for removal. I had liver surgery removing 70% of my liver! Lucky for me, your liver happens to be the only organ that regenerates, so in time it has grown back. Although since then I have had lung surgery as it had spread to my lung and two more treatments on my liver, some pesky tumors were undetectable before, but now we have a close eye on them.
I have kept myself busy with arts, such as painting and drawing, something I thoroughly enjoy, and numerous trips around the world! During the time of the lung surgery (fall 2012) I enrolled at PCC and Portland state, took a couple classes one being Hebrew, I was accepted on a trip to Israel, part of Taglit Birthright trip! Now, I am trying to stay fit, running, spinning, and kickboxing! I am also continuing to paint, and explore the world. Going through all of this has made me realized that I would be a good fit to do art therapy in the hospital with children, and I will definitely be pursuing that in the future.
I have found myself part of an elite group, though no one really asks to join. However, cancer has given me a chance to meet some awesome people, which I have developed a lasting relationship with. Most importantly, I have learned to look at life’s obstacles differently, live in the now, and enjoy the little things.