September 15th, 2017
| Survivor: Bone Cancer
I'm not afraid of much but three particular words scare me to no end: YOU HAVE CANCER. These are the worst combination of words. I first heard them on the 15th of November 2011, after a late Friday afternoon appointment where my parents heard “your daughter has cancer.” Then they came home and heartbreakingly told me. Cancer was such a foreign topic to me. I began to cry but I didn't know really what I was crying about. I knew it was bad, but I didn't think it would be as terrible as it actually was.
The next week was a blur - my parents told my family and I chose to tell my friends in a space where we could be all together: a room in my school. At the young age of 13/14, I only told a handful of close friends. Facebook was the last place I wanted them to find out.. There were tears, although some of us didn't even know what we were crying about. We just knew it wasn't good. To this day, I still thank my high school for supporting my decision to tell my friends my way.
The whirlwind of scans and being poked and prodded began. When my surgeon finally told me it was Osteosarcoma bone cancer, he also told me, “We are going to get through this together. I'll take you to hell and back but you'll thank me for it later.” Sure enough, he spoke the truth. Chemotherapy is probably the hardest thing I've done to this day. Due to movies, some people think that you go in a day for chemo and come out that same day. For some cancers, this is true. But unfortunately for me, that was not my reality. I was in the hospital 24/7 for an initial 10 weeks.Then came my surgery to remove the tumour where we would see how much cancer had been killed. Unfortunately for me, only 10% of it was killed.My oncologist sent me home so they could figure out what to do.
An additional 30 weeks of chemo is what they decided,o for more than 7 months it was endless trips to the Royal Children's Hospital, day in and day out! Chemo, scans, blood tests, infections and low blood count! People on the ward considered me as a happy, positive and vibrant person- I would go around visit other children to make their day or just to have a chat. What people didn't know was that behind this positivity, there was a girl who was scared of dying. I distinctly remember saying to my mum "I have had enough and I can't do it anymore, you have to let me go. " I was tired, sick and no longer felt like a young naive 14 year old. I thought the light at the end of the tunnel was gone because my cancer journey felt never ending. But, thankfully, on the 10th of October, it finally came to an end.
Cancer finds a way to consume your life, whether you’re a patient, parent, sibling, grandparent or friend. But what I have learnt is that cancer doesn't define who you are. It is one aspect of your life, but there are so many other wonderful things that define you and the C word most definitely shouldn't! Although I finished chemotherapy 6 years ago, my cancer journey will always continue. Cancer is a part of my life whether I like it or not. It doesn't define me, but it has changed the way I perceive the world and has made me so appreciative of life.
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Bree currently resides in Melbourne but is orignally from a small town called Albury on the border of NSW and VIC in Australia. She was diagnosed with an Osteosarcoma in 2011 and is now 6 years cancer free! She has travelled many places in life and always seeking new adventures. She is a Social Work student wanting to pursue her dream of closing the gap of adolescent cancer care!