Day 2: It Happened for a Reason
Different things happen for different reasons. Some of them happen to make us stronger, and some happen to make us better people. Describe one thing that happened this year that challenged you to be a better, stronger person, against all odds. How did this affect you emotionally?
A lot of things have happened in 2012 that were very positive. I even relayed those things on a Facebook status I wrote on New Years Eve:
But there is one thing that happened in 2012 that was not so positive. When I was home for spring break back in March 2012, there was a message on the answering machine from a doctor regarding my father’s biopsy. A biopsy? I didn’t even know my father had an issue that even warranted a biopsy. My parents came home, and I told them about the message. An hour or so later, my father received a phone call from the doctor telling him that they had found cancer cells in his esophagus.
Cancer. Every time I even heard the word I would automatically think of a death sentence. I immediately went upstairs in my room and started crying. Cancer! How can my father have cancer?
What happened over the next several months was my father undergoing his treatments. I decided to work remotely in NJ over the summer so that I could go to my dad’s chemo sessions. When I had to ultimately go back to UMD to take my comprehensive exams, I tried to call my parents as much as possible, to get any updates on his progress as he continued on with radiation.
On December 3rd he underwent a PET scan to see if the chemo/radiation did its job. Unfortunately, the cancer has spread, and we may be looking at another round of treatments. What had initially seemed like a glimmer of hope had once again morphed into anxiety and fear.
Things happen for a reason, and in spite of this being a very hard time for me and my family, I have been trying my best to remain positive. Perhaps my father’s illness came as a sign for him to cut back on his drinking and smoking, which the doctors say is what may have caused the cancer in the first place. I’ve come to appreciate my parents more, trying not to take them for granted and to spend as much time with them as possible. And I’ve done my best to apply for academic jobs on the East Coast, so that I wouldn’t need a plane ticket to come home if I needed to.
So yes, even though it has been a really great year, my father’s illness has made it a tough one to deal with as well. But things do happen for a reason, and maybe this situation can help me become a stronger person who can work against all odds to support my family during this hard time.