One week from tomorrow will find me excited and probably bewildered in Washington, DC, starting out on whatever adventure the next few months will bring. This will pretty much be my first time (ever) not really knowing what I'm getting myself into. This will not be like beginning a new semester of classes, where, yes, the classes may be new, but I generally know how things will go. I have a vague idea of what I will be doing the next three and a half months: A photography internship where I get to take pictures of and around DC. An element of my program, the "newsroom," has us students acting as the DC correspondents for a number of small, New England newspapers, reporting and filing stories for publication. And then we have a class called political reporting, which is about what it sounds like. This won't be your typical internship/classes study-abroad program. This is journalism in Washington, DC in the first year of a new and historic and exciting presidency. This is kind of the beginning of what I really hope is my life after school.
I am scared. But I am also deliriously excited. And, oh, hey, I'm also leukemia-free. tumor-free. all mass and bad cell-free. As of December 17, 2008, two years and nine days after my first diagnosis and my last Wednesday living in Boston, all scans were clear and all tumors completely disappeared. Haha, of course, the universe has never been and probably never will be truly kind to me, and it turned out I actually had pneumonia. But hey, at least it wasn't cancer...? I went on antibiotics for a few days, and now I should Finally be all set. I have a follow-up scan in March, and then another scan every three months for a while, but that is it. I still have the Fear, but I'm not going to let it run me. I, instead, am going to start running for real this time. I am going to bike. I am going to try and get involved in some sort of outdoors group around DC. I want to hike! and kayak on that river that's right down the street from where I will be living. I will live again without pain or fatigue or the persistent cold that Did Not Go Away. I will live. Maybe not as long as some people, definitely longer than others, but I will be alive to see whatever this new year will bring.
This b-log never really became a "blog," per se, in that it never really connected with other blogs or internet sites or activities or interesting nonsenses. There was very little media, aside from the sporadic photos I put up. But it served its purpose for me. It helped me get through two years of chemotherapy and treatment for leukemia and a subsequent face-tumor. It gave me a channel for my thoughts and hopefully gave everyone reading it some insight into what I've been going through. I hope these posts have helped illuminate what it's like to be 20, 21, 22 and dealing with cancer treatments. I cannot say my experience is necessarily similar to anyone else's, because everything that I have felt and experienced and grown from has been unique to me. That said, I'm sure a lot of what I have gone through is not uncommon for other survivors my age. So, you know, we're not all wimpy, sad, bald kids to be pitied or misunderstood. We're just trying to get through our days, the same as everyone else. It is Hard to be a student and a patient. Good Lord, was that hard. But it's just another thing to deal with. Somehow, I did it. I'm not sure how, really. Well, that's not true. My friends helped a lot. The b-log helped a lot when I wasn't in school. But mostly it was my desire and drive to be healthy once more, to live to see better days. I am positive that that sentiment is something we all possess (or, I hope anyway), and so if you ever find yourself where I was just over two years ago, scared and uncertain and alone with a doctor and a hematologist in some nurse's lounge in some strange and sterile hospital, be strong. (or if you are in a completely different scenario, that's fine too. The point:) Have faith in yourself, because when the shit hits the fan, which it is apt to do, you have to be there for yourself. And you'll make it through. Seriously, the bad days can't last forever. They have to change over at some point. That's what I tell myself, and I think it's generally true. So. Good luck. Good luck with your tomorrows. I'm around if anyone wants to say hey or chat or cry or laugh or whatever. I'm always around. Thank you all for everything. Peace, pax, I'm out.