And then I got sick my sophomore year and my world turned upside down. Everything changed in one moment, in one word. Cancer. And my life wasn't about futures anymore. It was about surviving to see the next day. It was about fighting to keep both of my legs. It was about simply trying to stay alive.
Thankfully, I had books. And on the days that I was awake enough to read more then a sentence, I had the opportunity to escape the nightmare I was living in. I could live in worlds that weren't mine; where people were not touched by the world of cancer and their lives continued on in wonderful circles of words and images and places and adventures.
Thankfully, I had writing. And on the days that I was feeling well enough to take lighter doses of anti-nausea meds, I would update my carepage blog and write about how I was feeling, what I was facing and figure out how to cope with the huge task of staying alive. On my worst days, I would write it all out and once it was out, I felt better.
Reading. Writing. These things saved me from losing my mind, helped me cope with heavy things such as losing full functionality of my left leg, losing fellow friends on my floor, losing friends at school because they didn't understand what I was going through. And when I finally reached the other end of my fight and came out a survivor, and started dreaming again and making plans for a future I once thought I'd never have, I knew one thing. I wanted to study English.
I'm now an official five year survivor and trying to take advantage of every opportunity of living life that I can. My life is a miracle and I want to give back to others as much as I can with my second change at life. I recently went through my third knee surgery this last April and after a total knee replacement that has given me most of my life back, I am now in a position to go abroad and teach English in China. I'm so excited for this incredible opportunity to see the world, to teach little kids English and most importantly, to serve and to give as much as possible.
To those who have encouraged me and supported me on my goal to recover from my surgery and to make this dream come true (parents, siblings, extended family, Symone & Jillise, and of course, Dustin) words will never be able to describe how thankful I am to you. There was a time when I thought I would never have the functionality or strength to be far away from Boston. A slip on ice would put me in the ER without any questions asked. But, with words of constant encouragement and with constant love, I was able to fight through my knee replacement and get my life back. I know now that I can do anything I put my mind to. I can beat cancer. I can travel the world. I can teach English in China.
I hope to keep this blog updated frequently as my adventures unfold and take you all on this incredible journey that awaits me.
Cancer was one chapter in my life. I finally feel like I can close it and look forward without having to glance over my shoulder at it. I am ready for the next chapter:
Chelsie in China