Author's Note: I was inspired to write this article from Morgan612's "The Voice of Cancer" series. Her series truly made me think about what others have done for me. In the BBS I have been posting a lot about my father's cancer lately, so don't think this is some "trying to measure up to Morgan612" type of article. The first paragraph of my article is a insight on the last day of school. Enjoy.
It was June 6th, 2008. School had just let out for the summer and I stumbled down the stairs of my school's hallway. I stepped through the double doors and scanned the parking lot with eyes like a lion on its prey. A beeping horn called me. I loved the feeling of the south Florida wind blowing through my hair as I let down the window. The final year of my elementary school days was over. Next year, on August 18th, I would be a middle school girl. I would walk through the same double doors I came out of, and travel amidst the slamming lockers into my sixth grade homeroom. This was a whole new chapter in my book of life . . .
Only until June 9th, 2008 when my father was diagnosed with colon cancer; curable but tragic.
I spent many days in a hospital room peering out the fourth story window. The IV bags that hung from the pole on the right side of the hospital bed were uncountable. The hours my mother spent fighting with nurses and negotiating with doctors were numerous. The opportunities that were handed out to my brother were tragically sacrificed. The tears my sister cried were tears of devastation. Of course we all worked together to pull through this medical mess, but I am not sure how we would have survived any of it with out the help of family and friends.
I have to admit, I was a bit selfish. But being eleven years-old was nothing I could change. I complained that I wanted to have fun and get out of the hospital room. Of course I wanted to go to the beach, hang out with the friends and the whole nine yards, but I pushed away those who tried to help. Several times I received text messages and sympathetic phone calls I never wanted to answer. I took all the fun and locked it up in a box where no one could find it. I threw away the key and buried it in a hole. I rejected anyone who wanted to take me away from the hospital walls.
Rejection is a powerful word and it is exactly what I did. If I was not in the hospital I was in my room. If I was not in my room I was in the hospital. I went to bed late and woke up early. My sleeping patterns were all out of routine. All the times my friends invited me to visit them were returned with a groan and a hard "No".
I craved the seawater and the hot sun on my cheeks, burning my skin! The sand clutching my sweating arms and the rain beating down on my bicycle helmet as I raced home from the park with my best friends. How I wanted it! It was a craving, a thirst. Never did I take up on the offers of going into the sun, never did I touch the ocean water. I rejected everything that meant something to me.
Oh, how I wished I had a home cooked meal like I did every day of the week during the school year. How I CRAVED the traditional Italian meals on Sundays after church. The hospital cafeteria was not too bad, but I was not too fond of living on salads and cheetos. Many times helpful friends cooked my brother, sister, mom, and I a home-cooked meal. I loved the smell of the hot metal that contained a plentiful amount of food. For once in a blue moon I was not eating McDonald's nor was I munching on expired cheetos. But as soon as the smiling faces holding hot food right-out-of-the-oven came traveling through my kitchen, I hid my face in a pillow trying to reject the smell.
I never wanted to see a human face. So to accomplish this, I pushed, shoved, yelled, screamed, and cried. I FORCED away the helping hands, the hands that reached out and tried to gently fight back. No, I did not want to stay in the familiar hospital room nor did I want to watch another recap of "That's So Raven" from my bed. Many people tried to cast their fishing wire, hook me, and drag me back into civilization. But I tugged down to the bottom of the murky waters and took their pole with me. I took the bait down, and the helpers on land walked away.
Now what have I done?
The phone never rang and never again did I receive another text message. I finally got what I wanted; to be cut off from the regular world. I was completely consumed into the universe of IV bags and medication. The world of cancer seemed completely natural and it felt like I always existed there. My vocabulary only contained medical terms. GREAT! Look what I did! I liked the attention, and every time I rejected someone I would smile. How terrible! They have officially given up. The hands I always saw reaching out contracted and pulled away. They were gone and no where to be found. I lived in a lonely world with me, myself, and I . . . plus doctors.
Today is Monday, February 9th and here I am, sitting by my computer writing about the princes who have tried to help me, the princess, and successfully sent them away! I swear, I would make a good tyrant the way my behavior was.
In fairy tales, the princess would love to be saved by the gorgeous prince. I, princess Kelly, was sucked away in the highest room of the tallest tower, happily held in captivity! Outside the window of my dungeon cell, was a fire breathing dragon with black eyes and a deep red shell. The dragon blows fire at every prince that shows up and never once leaves the castle. The loyalty she maintains to her prisoner was never demolished. Though she was free to come and go as she pleased, never once did she leave her helot unaccompanied. But wait . . . was I the dragon?
I, the dragon, am sorry. I realized I hurt those who tried to help me. In my days of devastation, there was a variety of hands that worked to keep my family moving and I rejected each hand that tried to touch me. I never fully burned the princes that tried to help the prisoners; my family. Until the last blow of fire did I realize what I did. All the while, I was searching for help but little did I know the help was starring me in the face, hitting my cheek, and kicking me in the knee. For those hands I rejected, I am truly thankful. Now, in the early days of February 2009, do I realize how blessed I am to have the family and friend's support. Even though I never expressed it, I loved it.
Never reject a helping hand.