Burkitt’s at Eighteen Months

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I was diagnosed on August 2nd, 1993 with Non-Hodgekins Burkitt’s Lymphoma. I was about to hit eighteen months old on the 25th. My diagnosis went like this: My grandmother babysat me on a regular basis, and noticed that I had become lethargic and had trouble breathing. She forced my mother into taking me to a pediatrician. The pediatrician took a quick look, and told my mother “She’s fine. Probably just a flu.” However, my mother knew otherwise and wasn’t leaving without an explanation on what was wrong. She refused to leave until I had another check. Sure enough, I was sent to Sick Kids Hospital (Toronto). The cancer at that point was in my lymph nodes, tonsils, and had spread to my right kidney. I fought the Burkitt’s for about a year. I’m fortunate that I was too young to remember it. I grew up with (and still take) constant tests. Cancer has partially been a gift to me in the sense that it made me more compassionate towards other people. It’s given my life a bit more meaning, as well. As horrible as the disease can be, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. What doesn’t kill you may not make you stronger, but it will certainly change you for the better by giving you a better understanding of your importance in the world, and how important family and friends are. I hope this gives people suffering from any disease, for another or for themselves hope. Don’t take the people around you and yourself for granted.