Cassandra W. on December 17, 2018
I was Diagnosed with:
Type and Description of Treatments:
At the age of 2 I had a tumor that was visibly growing out of the left side of my neck, inside my nasal cavity, you could see it coming out of my nose bulging the soft pallet of my mouth and it was centimeters from my brain. I went 6 months being misdiagnosed by my doctor who kept prescribing me antibiotics until we saw a specialist and received the worst news. I became a resident of Cedar Sinai Hospital and underwent radiation and chemotherapy for 2 years and went into remission just after my 4th birthday.
How do you feel today?
I dont feel like i will ever be the same. theres so many late side effects when going through it as a child.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
everything. you go from being out on a pedal-stool and get all this positive attention from everyone thinking youre not going to make it and by the graces of god you do and then people leave you alone because they figure youll be fine now.
What is going well for you right now?
Im Alive, but with survivors guilt.
What is not going well for you right now?
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
ive been bullied and made fun of my entire life
When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?
i isolate in my room.
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
I have had dreams and goals but here i am at 29 and i still have so idea what direction to go in life or how to have my own.
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
currently unemployed, been seeking for i years now. theres a lot of discrimination against being a cancer survivor because employers are more reluctant to hire due to having health problems.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?
i havent had a solid job in 7 years.
What has helped you continue to work the most?
the hopes that some day things will turn around in my life.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?
my whole life today is dealing with side effects, I have hypothyroidism, i look physically different to the point of people not being able to handle it in public and think its okay to make fun of someone not knowing what they have gone through, i suffer from manic depression and severe anxiety, ive used illicit drugs to numb the world out, never last long enough. i have ADD trouble focusing, procrastination keeps me from moving forward with my life to start a new chapter. i pushed away all my friends and spend my days home, alone, in bed.
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
Dont let the ignorance of others make you feel that you are any less than who you are. BE proud to have survived an illness not many people get to walk away from pursue your dreams in life and dont let yourself waste away just living to die.