Only One Life
Only One Life
My name is Clara. I’m a 15-year-old girl living with my parents and pet beagle, Bruno. My life so far has been a real rollercoaster.
I was born into a loving family as a single child and I’ve never wanted siblings because I already have Bruno. We used to live in Germany when I was little but we moved here, to Canada when I was around 9 years old. I really miss my old friends back there but I have a family who help me through everything. I love reading, writing and watching soccer matches. And guess what I have tubes through my nostrils! I know that was random, but really, I have tubes through my nostrils.
My parents got me everything I’ve ever wanted but there’s one thing that came on its own,
something I never wished for: cancer. It’s been around 3 years since I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I remember it as if it was yesterday. For a long time, I had trouble breathing. This was one of the main reasons why I never took part in sports even though I liked soccer. We often visited the doctor to get my breathing issues checked but they never found anything wrong in me. I absolutely dreaded these visits but now the hospital is my second home. When they didn’t find anything wrong, we just thought it was normal, like how people have asthma and stuff. I remember how I had to carry around an inhaler in case I was feeling out of breath.
One night, a couple of months before my 12th birthday, I started choking in my sleep and then I could barely breathe. Obviously, my inhaler didn’t really help in this situation. It felt like my life was being sucked out of me and I felt like a doll, not being able to do anything on my own, it was a horrible feeling. I was immediately rushed to the hospital where they checked me to see if anything was wrong and then they saw it. There was a tumour growing in my lungs which is why I had difficulty breathing. I was sort of missing in action when they were investigating my lungs as I had passed out on the way to the hospital and was unconscious till the next day. By the time I woke up Dr Maria and Dr Jacob had finished investigating my problem and obviously there had been some bad news. In my case though there was a lot of bad news.
My doctors said that I was admitted late so the tumour growth couldn’t be stopped but it could be slowed down. They said the most I could live for is 16. The hope that I would be fine was left shattered after this, I was completely devastated. We wept and sobbed and cried but then just learned to accept it. After all, it is a part of me. We decided to enjoy the last years of my life together.
After a few chemotherapy sessions, I was discharged from the hospital. There were chemo session and check-up every 2 weeks. They were closely monitoring the tumour growth. Now, instead of an inhaler I was made to carry around a machine that would do my lousy lungs’ work. By now I looked really weird. I had to drag around a machine with me, I was bald because of the chemo and my skin was pale and under oxygenated.
I did have a few friends here, in Canada, but after my cancer transformation they didn’t really hang out with me anymore. We sometimes meet but we aren’t very close. Because of my cancer I couldn’t go to school anymore. Sure, I was kind of happy as I didn’t have to take that math test that was due the next week or sit for boring physics lessons but I did miss my school.
My mom enrolled me for classes conducted by an institution that taught children with cancer so they had all the equipment that I needed in case something happens to me.
I know what it feels like to almost die and honestly, it is nothing like how they describe in the movies or books. This experience is the answer to a question asked by millions, ’what does it feel like to die?’ and it's really exciting to hold that answer while still alive.
I’ve learnt a lot of thing from my experience of cancer and one of the most important things I learnt was the value of life. It hurts me to see so many people just taking life for granted while so many out there are battling for a chance to live for longer.
Over the years I made more friends. I met Hanna and Agnes at a cancer conference that I was invited to. Both of them are cancer survivors and amazing advisors. It feels really nice to talk to someone who’s actually been through the hardships of cancer.
I find it really thrilling how I could die any second now. Some just burst into tears at the mention of my death and others get really worried about my mental health. It’s absolutely hilarious seeing people’s reactions to this thought.
I don’t feel very well and it getting late. I think I’ll read a book and head to bed.
As I start reading my favourite novel, I can feel my soul departing on a journey to gods land. I can feel my vision fading. I can feel my heart steadily slowing down. I can feel my life being sucked out of me. I can feel myself dying.
This life couldn’t have been any better and I’m grateful for everything in my life, even the cancer.