April into May were two of my favorite months I had ever had in my short life time. My last semester of college, it was full of new friendships, pure happiness (the kind of happiness you see little kids have when they get to eat ice cream after dinner), and magic. Or it all seemed like magic.
Life was so simple and easy because through every Sunday to Saturday I made every day into a new adventure. It was my last days of college and I wanted to take every inch and foot with a grain of salt. Which is what I did. It is easier to find the simplicity and beauty of being in the same place with all of your favorite people when you know it is coming to an end. Therefore, I saw every day I was given as something entirely brand new. That is how I think you should view your days as you near the ends of your college odyssey.
May 19th I graduated from the perfect little school Salve Regina University in Newport, RI. There are fascinating things about the little school by the sea I got to go too. It stretched as far as the community of people I met, not knowing if it was going to snow one day or be a heat wave of sun, or going downtown on a random Tuesday after class at noon and drinking mudslides with everyone. Like I said, the days were easy and simple.
I am sure it was a random Tuesday, or even a Saturday night? In all sincerity it could have been any day of the week I found the tumor on my neck as I was trying to perfect contouring my cheek bones to go out with my friends. The second I noticed the abnormality on my body, I knew deep down there was something wrong. But. I did not care because I was not going to let the unknown golf ball laying above my collar bone stop me from having another fun night out with my friends. Besides 22 year olds do not get cancer, that goes against the laws of the world!
Unfortunately, some laws are broken. I looked at my friends and said “Have you guys seen this bump on my neck?” They all had a puzzling look on their face and exclaimed “Well you have been sick all year right? It’s a swollen lymph node… you’re good, you’re fine!” Being the space cadet I am, I just took another sip of my cranberry vodka I had probably been nursing for an hour and ignored my worries.
The only reason I truly found out what was going on was because of my mom. She set up an appointment with my doctor the Monday after graduation. With what should have been an hour long appointment turned into seven. Scans and copious amounts of blood work is what that Monday after graduation was. Sitting and waiting on the bleak and freezing cold doctors office bed, I abruptly said to my mom “It is definitely cancer”. After what seemed like two hours of waiting my doctor slowly came back into my room and to explain how I needed further “testing”. OK??? So you mean like a biopsy which will solidify me knowing that I do have cancer in my body? I called it.
I found out I was living my magical fairy tale life with a cancerous tumor only ten days after I graduated. “You have the good cancer! Hodgkins lymphoma we do not know the stage or treatment cycle yet, but it is the good kind!” Here is a piece of advice to people who do not have cancer and say “you have the good cancer” to a Hodgkin’s lymphoma patient, DO NOT SAY THAT. I know people say it to most likely make us feel better, but you honestly sound like an idiot. The news of my cancer did not scare nor worry me, I was pissed off. I am 22 years old and I have to lose my hair? My freedom? My summer? And go through seven months of poison entering my body? Sure thing! That seems fair.
However, being negative about my situation would only make it worse. Now, I was never over optimistic and cheerleader positive, but I saw my cancer through realism. I knew it was treatable and eventually I could be cancer free. I took every day of cancer with a grain of salt. I continued to smile every day like I usually do and wanted to find new adventures. This was the only way to maintain normal Angela again. Cancer was not going to be a sob story of anger and pity for me, it was my newest odyssey.
Why I highlighted my senior spring in the beginning of this little story is because of the pureness and simple joys it taught me. Cancer was not going to taint my existence, it was going to teach me more about life and how to live it.
In a weird and ironic way, cancer has showed me how strong I am, I have not stopped fighting and growing. So whoever got to this part of my story, I leave you with this when my cancer brings on showers, I continue to grow like a flower.