You Always Fought Beside Me

I’ve had Leukemia for six months. It started with the small lump of skin on my neck which I made out to be a spider bite, or something of the sort. Then I noticed that I was abnormally exhausted from easy exercises. It wasn’t until I got bruises on my hands from playing tether ball, however, that my mom finally realized that this was no common coincidence.

She took me to the doctor where they inspected the strange lump and the dark bruises and sent us to the blood work lab. They mentioned a few possibilities including leukemia, however none of them were ideal.

My mom and I went out for lunch after that. She took me to my favorite restaurant and we enjoyed our noon hour. Then we went home and awaited the phone call that would determine what our next steps for my treatment might be.

When the phone did ring, the answer was terrifying. My white blood cell count had come out very high. They wanted to schedule a bone marrow biopsy to test for leukemia in a hospital. The biopsy went smoothly, but the results came back positive.

Wanting to know how far the leukemia had spread they performed a spinal tap to see if they could find it. Fortunately, they could not find anything. But they did not get their hopes up. They performed a CT scan and found signs of leukemia in my brain. They started chemotherapy instantly.

The chemotherapy is exhausting and has its own challenges. After each session I find myself vomiting. The nausea drugs do little to help until after the first few days. My hair has long disappeared and instead in its place is a bandana. Every other week I attend a class with other cancer patients struggling with self-images.

The hardest part, of course, is the people around me. It hurts me so much when I see my mom crying in the kitchen, or my friends talking about how much they missed me the day before when I was at therapy. It takes all I have not to burst into tears knowing that I might not even be here for them forever.

I remember my first chemo session. They injected it with a needle and I almost vomited on the spot. I didn’t sleep that night, but rather lay on the couch with a bowl dosing off only to be woken into restless fits. The next week they prescribed nausea drugs.

It also took several weeks to find foods that I enjoyed eating. After my first chemo dose my tastes changed completely, turning from spicy to sweet and salty to fresh.

Everyone is so kind to me. I have so much candy I have no idea what to do with it, and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have help on an assignment regardless of the fact that most of it is make up work from the last time I was gone for whatever reason.

Now I stare at one of my classmates in disbelief.

“Seriously,” he says, “Haven’t you ever considered the fact that you might die.”

Realizing he is serious I respond carefully, “Of course I’ve thought about that, but what’s the point. Think about it. Would you?”

With that I turn on my heel and walk to my next class.

“Brooklyn!” I hear one of my friends, Kaily, call from behind me, “How are you feeling? You were gone yesterday.”

“Oh,” I smile, “I slept in and my mom didn’t wake me up.”

She laughs and we walk to my next class together. It’s times like these where leukemia is the most painful, because I can tell I’m slipping away. One day I might not be in their picture frames anymore, but in a photo hidden away where tears may be shed over it once a year.

But even though I have my lows, I will never stop fighting. Since I was diagnosed I have served at several free will dinners smiling and taking time to get to know people I might otherwise not. I also spend time with the elderly, visiting them when I feel up to it.

The next time I have a chemotherapy session, I have a blast. My oncologist lets me ride down the halls in his office chair. We play a game of chess that he wins. Then he leads me to complete my session. As in routine he sticks the needle in and my arm tingles, and before I know it the needle comes out.

Before we leave I use the bathroom and look in the mirror. My mom is still talking to my oncologist and so she isn’t here to see the tear run down my face as I stare at my confident face with baggy eyes and sores on the gum of my mouth. I also take a moment to relieve myself of my food.

A few weeks pass by and I get more and more tired. I start to run a fever and stay home from school two weeks in a row. I also lose several pounds in a very short time. My mom takes me to my oncologist where I will undergo another CT scan to see if the cancer is spreading. When the scan is over my oncologist looks at me grimly.

He takes us to a private room and talks to both of us.

“The CT scan shows signs of the leukemia getting worse in Brooklyn’s brain. We will change the chemotherapy drugs and see if it helps, but by the extent of the spread I can’t guarantee it will work.”

My mom looks at him with tears in her eyes, “Are you saying?”
He nods, “I’m afraid so.”
My thoughts come out foggy, “But you told me we would beat the cancer.”

He gives me a faint smile, “Brooklyn, we aren’t giving up yet.”

I stay silent as he shows us the CT scan and what it means.

In the next week I only get worse to the point where I am forced to stay at the hospital. More than once my family, friends, and my pastor’s family come to visit me.

My oncologist comes in once a day to see me. My chemo sessions become more and more frequent. Then one night I see him talking to my mom outside the door. My mom appears to be crying. A feeling of dread builds up in my chest as I breath in through the tubes they have given to make breathing easier.

My mom comes back in and leans over me crying.

“Brooklyn,” she whispers, “please don’t leave.”
“Mom,” I smile, “Nothing can separate us. Not even cancer.”

She gives me a faint smile, “Your father would be proud of you. You’re a warrior just like him.”

“I bet he’s proud of you too,” I whisper.

“And why is that?” she asks.

“Because you always fought beside me.”

She smiles at me and holds my hand, and that very night I got to see my father with my own eyes looking down at my mother, and the place where I lay only moments before.


[Author’s Note] Sorry for the longer post, but I really like the story here. I didn’t acctually write this today because I’m feeling a little bit of writers block *Gasp!* But I wrote it at the beginning of the year. Hope you enjoy and have a great Thursday. Also in the future I will be posting ever Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Have a good week and I’ll update on Saturday. Feel free to leave feedback below!