This post was written by Thalassa as an essay for school. She brought both Eric and I to tears as she shed light into moments of how this experience has affected her. I think she should consider starting a blog of her own! But in the very least, she is always welcome here. :)
This summer, I was exited for my whole world to change as an 8th grader, but my world changed in a whole new way no one would ever suspect. One Sabbath Day (day of rest and relaxation), I was woken up in the middle of the cold dark night to see my parents worried faces looking down at me. “Is something wrong?” I asked startled. “Dad is going to the hospital,” mom replied, “he is having some stomach pain, he will be fine. Nana and Poppie will be here soon.” (Nana and Poppie are our grandparents.) This comment was met with my brother’s wide eyes starring up into my anxious parents’ faces, and both of us held on tight to them. In a few minuets, they were off in the car and my brother and I were waiting in an empty dark home. A few days later, Eric (my brother) and I were sitting in a bland but clean hospital room, the kind that smells of strong disinfectant, next to my dad in the bed. I was staring in horror at the wall next to my dad, as my mom, in a heartbreaking tone, explained that my dad was just diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer which had spread to his liver, and he maybe had 5 years to live.
Immediately, my mom sprung into action, and in a little while, had a fully functioning plan with the cancer center at UCSD. Dad was going to have lots of chemo and then, if all went well, a liver resection. A plan was in place, and dad could leave the hospital but our lives were changed forever. We began to cherish every moment we spent together, we began to pray more to God for healing, and whenever we could we would use our new annual passes to go to Disneyland. But even at Disneyland, the feeling of loss never truly went away. In everyday life between trips to Disneyland there was still work to get done. My math bar kept growing, and schoolwork from school kept piling up. The everyday challenge of getting in the right mindset to do school was hard. I wanted to shrink away and hide, to cry and dwell in self pity. Instead I ran to God, Whose grace and mercy held me and washed away my fears. Then the first chemo day came. My mom and dad sadly trudged out the door into the cold of dawn to get poked with needles, and to be filled to the brim with poison. Eric and I were left at the house, to do school alone while our grandparents looked on. But, God was with us. Dad came home from chemo tired, and feeling drowsy; we never knew if he needed to sleep or could stay awake for a little longer. And I, a scared little girl, could just wait. Still, I got some little goals done. I sang my heart out in musical theater, trying to escape the icy grip of fear but mostly failing. Also, I learned how to ride a bike which has been a goal of mine for five years.
Cancer is one of those things that you have to take on day by day. Sometimes we just cried, sometimes we got a lot of things done but as long as we had God we were just fine. Pretty much nothing I thought would happen this year went the way I thought it would. 8th grade I think is safe to say, was the worst year of my life. Despite that, I still kept my grades up in the A range. And I learned how to deal with hard things - pray and love the people that are around you instead of attacking them, even if you feel like it. I still shared my “world famous coloratura” in the theater, and pedaled faster then everyone else in my bike class on two wheels. Working through difficult things is hard, especially when it keeps going with no end in sight. And it’s still going - the newest update is that my dad’s tumors in his liver are getting bigger so liver resection might be thrown out the window, and that the chemo has stopped working. Even with this news, my family still has hope. I have learned to, even through hard things, truly pray, have faith, and love others.