Cancer Awareness: What do you think of when you hear the word ‘cancer?’

 

Emma Fowler, 13, at right, pictured with her siblings, Alec and Grace Fowler, is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma at age 8.

What do you think of when you hear the word “cancer?” For many people, it’s someone’s name. For some, it’s even just a word. But for me, it’s a memory.

When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with a bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. My tumor was wrapped around my spine and had to be removed almost right away. During treatment, I had chemo, radiation, blood drawn, x-rays, MRIs and much more.

The thing that took the most time was re-learning how to walk. I had physical therapy almost every day. I couldn’t even do a simple task such as putting my socks on.

One of the hardest parts for me was missing school. But my second and third grade classes got Skype hooked up so I could video chat with my friends and I even took a spelling test over Skype. My friends were all so nice to me, which helped a lot. When I lost my hair, they wore hats with me and I didn’t feel like I had to wear a wig.

When I had a bad day or felt really sick, the best way for me to get through it was to think of what was on the other side and the fact that I could look forward to going home. I remember that my brother, sister, and dog, Lucy,  would be waiting for me when I got home.

This month, I will celebrate my five year anniversary of being off of all treatment to get rid of cancer. I still have to get tests done every six months. Knowing that I could go in for a test and it might not be clear is scary, but I try to think positive and keep my thoughts on today. Not what could happen down the road.

Having cancer has definitely made me a stronger person. People take so many things for granted like friends and family and being able to walk and having hair. My experience has shown me how important it is to have good friends and a supportive family and to let the little things go.

Today, kids my age often say “YOLO,” which stands for You Only Live Once. Even though we sometimes say it to be funny, it really is true.

Emma Fowler is an eighth grader at Greenville Middle School. Not only did she teach herself how to walk again after her diagnosis, but today she plays volleyball, basketball and runs track.

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