To offer this world since I have now faced my mortality, my life is full of meaning and passion because I know that the only certainty of life is that I will die.
In comparison to the age of the universe, my life is relatively insignificant because my time here is very limited. This understanding allows me to appreciate the present where I find gratitude for the sense of aliveness that I feel inside of me. I am thankful that I woke up this morning, for the long deep breath that I just took and the peaceful feeling I felt as I exhaled. I am grateful that I am able to go outside, feel the sun on my skin and hear the birds sing. I will never complain about having to go to work or class because I am thankful to even have the opportunity and ability to do so.
Dylan Crane’s Story
This wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did. Cancer. Stage 3 Germ Cell Tumor. The size of a cantaloupe, sitting on my heart pressing in my right lung. I would have to go through chemotherapy and open chest surgery. I was 14 years old and this was supposed to be the best summer ever. Baseball, golf camp, and hanging out with friends. But it didn’t go that way. No hair anywhere, just gone. Skin color gray, thirty five pounds vanished.
A weird journey, it was like a dream, but it wasn’t. It was real. Real pain, real emotions. Had to get out. Each day was the same: go to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, check in, get hooked up, go to sleep, wake up, puke, and go back to sleep, then puke some more.
Graduation was near I was twenty-five and ready to continue to work on a master’s in nursing. I was focused on that exciting day. Surely there would be many wonderful memories from the events of that day. Two weeks before graduation is when my life took a turn.
Friday, November 30 th , 2007 is a day that will always be embedded into my memory. That was the day that I heard the words, “you have breast cancer.” Well, I was not too surprised because I have a strong family history and just a year before my younger sister had gone through a journey that I will now face. I pleaded to the doctor to wait until after graduation. I needed to at least close that chapter of my life. He agreed since the ceremony would be less than six months away. My mother was by my side when the diagnosis was given.
When I was given my plan of action I immediately felt overwhelmed and tears began to flow down my face. I didn’t know what to feel. All I knew was that my life would be changed forever and hoped that in the end I would be strengthen.
Kristin Banks’ Story
My name is Kristin Banks, I have Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and I was diagnosed in March of 2006. I went through 26 weeks, 12 cycles of chemotherapy in the summer of ’06 and that did not work, then I went through 5 weeks of radiation therapy in fall of ’06 and that did not work, in spring of ’07 I started high dose chemotherapy in preparation of an autologus stem cell transplant and had my transplant in June ’07.
However the transplant damaged my lungs and I have been on prednisone and oxygen since August of ’07. In February of ’08 I was having some problems again and my doctor did a CAT scan and discovered a tumor and that my lymphoma had returned. I am now undergoing chemotherapy again. I have completed 2 cycles so far and have 3 more to go before I get scanned again to see if I am in remission.
Originally from Valley City , ND I moved to Fargo , ND in the fall of 2005 to begin my life as a college student in pursuit of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Since that time I have taken classes at NDSU, MSUM and MSCTC.
During my freshmen year at NDSU I realized the campus was just too big for me so fall of 2006 I transferred to MSUM and MSCTC. I was really looking forward to the beginning of a new year, on a smaller campus. I registered for fall classes and it seemed to me the change to a smaller environment was a better fit so I then registered for spring semester.
Noelle Weaver’s Story
Here’s my story. In May of 2007 I started to feel extremely run down. Naturally, I thought it was from working full time and going to school. After putting up with a sinus infection, headaches, hives, and an odd rash stemming from my feet I decided to go to the emergency room one morning. Little did I know June 3ed would be the day that changed my life. When I arrived in the hospital room, the doctors came in and dropped the bombshell, I had Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. I was floored. How could a 22 year old that had never been severely sick all the sudden have a life threatening illness. I had known someone my age who had leukemia and had died so immediately I thought my life was over.
Jacob Penner’s Story
Hi, I am Jacob Penner. My leukemia was discovered after a blood test I had taken because we were trying to find out why my back was not healing. I had hurt my back from lifting various heavy objects at the end of the school year and then over the summer of 2006 and the pain was not getting any better. Leukemia made my spine weak and as a result it has curved forward. I have since lost about two inches of height and have a very difficult time straightening my back. I have been wearing a back brace for quite a while now; while it has been a great help to prevent further curving, it will not make my back straighter in the long term.
One Saturday in October, when I was 12 years old, I had a seizure and I was rushed to Shands Hospital . That’s when I found out I had a brain tumor and was told I could have been born with it because of the large size of the tumor. I took radiation and Chemotherapy, which lasted for about three, or four years, but the tumor came back on September 1st of 2006. During those hard times I had my mom and my big brother, Chris at my side. They were both my angels, but a few months ago on February 19, one of my angels passed away, my mother. Due to the loss of my mother, I almost didn’t go to my graduation. Inside, I felt I couldn’t make it without her, but I knew my mom would want me to go and I graduated in the class of 2007.
Rachel Baumgartner’s Story
In November of 2002, I found out that statistically speaking, I had weeks to live. No one in the world had ever survived a relapse of my type of cancer following a stem cell transplant. Despite this, I have always said that, “Cancer is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me.”
The year was 1998 and I was a 15-year-old school sophomore. On December 4 th my legs and chest had the sensation of feeling asleep.
An egg-sized tumor was strangling my spinal cord. My breathing was slowed and shutting down my body. We met Dr. Bob, and he became the first good thing in my whole experience. Then came the fact that I did not die that weekend.
The first time I was diagnosed with cancer I was a shy and quiet 16 year old. I shared my diagnosis with very few people but it was obvious to see that something was wrong when I lost all my hair and missed over a third of the school year. As a result of missing so much school and trying to keep my diagnosis in secret, I lost almost all my friends that year and for the rest of high school.
Coming to college was like a dream for me; a fresh place to start where no one knew my past…until my cancer came back. However, this time was different. I refused to let go of the new friends I had made just because of a medical problem. It wasn’t worth it to me to keep it a secret; this time I was proud to say I had survived cancer twice.