Cancer has a way of stealing from someone. Cancer takes away life's innocence and slowly saps a once love-filled, happy life. One becomes bitter, finds reasons for resentment, and loses innocence. This process happens gradually, throughout the pain and agony of the treacherous battle against cancer. Having gone through this ordeal myself, I find it imperative to diminish the spread of such thoughts.
Over my countless meetings with hundreds of patients and survivors, there is a broad spectrum of the affects of the cancer negativity. Many still retain their innocence, their positivity on life, while others have begun to succumb to cancer's harsh realities and seethe with anger. I remember enduring both of these emotional states at a variety of times in my treatment. The alterations would occur depending on how chemotherapy was affecting me, whether I was receiving disgusted looks at my appearance, or if my blood counts were blissfully high; my mood was in constant pendulum.
As I began further interacting with my heroes, and getting to know patients and survivors better, I found that helping them to preserve their zeal for life, and remind them that there is so much good in the world, that there are so many people who love them, and that cancer is merely an obstacle to overcome in order to blossom into their own greatness.
With that in mind, I wanted to share one of the things that makes me happy in this world with two patients in hopes that they might also embrace the elation. I was lucky enough to have Xavier (the first picture, in the black hat) and Mohammed (second picture, in the blue hat) and their families out to Shedd Aquarium on a lovely Monday afternoon. It was important for me that their families were also there as cancer is fought by them all, not just the one with the disease. Without the strength and love of the family, success is nearly impossible.
We spent the day learning a multitude of wonderful facts and experiencing once in a lifetime encounters with the aquarium's inhabitants. I am so grateful to have been able to share in their joy and innocence, and help win back what cancer has stolen from them, me, and millions of others all over the world.
Special thanks to Shedd Aquarium, James Clark, and Kayley Ciocci for their time and effort in making this such an amazing experience!