On That Time I Had Cancer


Four months ago I visited my doctor for what I thought would be a routine checkup. One thing led to another, and she, in her heavy Ukrainian accent, informed me that I may have cervical cancer – that I would find out for sure in another two months once I saw a specialist, but that it was a reasonable reality.

Let me preface this by saying I am 22 years old – so you can understand my horror. I suppose there’s no convenient time to have cancer, but the c-word was not something I was expecting to hear. Not now, not ever. But definitely not now.

I remember every bit of the rest of that day. I remember running until I was out of breath, laying on the grass in the dark of the night, looking up at the stars thinking about all the things I still wanted to do, the places I wanted to go and the people I wanted to be with.

I remember the cool breeze against the hot tears dripping down my face, as I thought about how I would tell the ones I love. For the first time in my life, I was at a complete loss for words.

When you are a twenty-something, you are so accustomed to feeling fearless – like you can take on the world at any moment. Vulnerability is virtually non-existent.

Much later I was informed of a wrongful diagnosis. In the moments leading up to that though, I realized just how easy it is to forget that life is a gift and no one knows what lies ahead. So spend each day doing what makes you tick. Never hold back on words or feelings. Value the people who are strong enough to tell you they love and support you – but most importantly, the ones who don’t wait for life’s tragedies to show it. TC mark

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.

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