The day I knew, my heart dropped; I swear I could hear a thunk as it hit whatever organ was below it—was it stomach?—you will have to forgive me: I was never the best at biology.
“It’s cansur,” said the man-in-white with a stupid accent. I remember my mom’s face froze in terror before she broke down and wept right there. Dad? Well, Dad didn’t flinch; he was always like that: poker face and emotionless. I didn’t cry, though, no. I just, felt nothing, I guess. However, later that night—when I went out of my room to get some water—I found Dad slumped on our dining table with both hands over his messy hair. That was when I couldn’t take it anymore. That day, I learned how salty tears could be.
Ever since that day, I felt like a fragile sticker was slapped on my forehead. Everyone I knew started behaving differently toward me. There was this one time when Luke—my best friend—gave me his bacon. Luke. Giving up. His bacon. It made me feel special, yes, but it also made me realize I was different. And frankly? It made me sick: just because some cells inside my body decided to grow uncontrollably didn’t make me less me. But bacon was bacon, so I stabbed it with my fork and welcomed it with my mouth as I devoured both the bacon’s flavor and Luke’s pouting face.
It has been eight years but I could still remember everything clearly as if it happened yesterday. Cancer has emphasized the fact that moments don’t come twice. And that I should cherish them while I can.
Me? Well I’m alive. My cells are dividing uncontrollably, still. But I am alive and that’s what matters. For those of you suffering from cancer, if there is one thing you should know, it’s that cancer is a word.
It’s not a sentence.