Leukemia, as many of you know, is a cancer. It damages your body to the point where you are so comfortable with death and dying that it becomes an afterthought because in your mind you’ve already died. You see so many of your friends pass away at such a young age that it is devastating to the point where you become extremely emotionally advanced or numb. The resemblance that trauma has with a double-edged sword is that you either skyrocket or hit rock bottom.
In my case, I have always been unafraid of the possibility of dying. I’ve only worried about what my family would do without my existence, physical that is. When you prepare for so long to die, you don’t prepare to survive. That might sound obvious, but it isn't apparent.
When I was five, I was diagnosed with leukemia which put a strain on my parents and family; I attribute my leukemia to one of the reasons why my parents divorced. We were going through a lot at the time, especially since during that time frame, our house was set ablaze while we went on a trip to California. We became homeless to the confines of hotel rooms, and all of our belongings, keepsakes, and family and baby pictures were gone with the house.
I believe this led to a cascade of additional life events that I would only become a better person. Through my experiences with discrimination, cancer, homelessness, etc., I can discuss those issues from personal experience to make a change on these social issues as I progress my career as an aspiring civil rights/ criminal justice attorney and neurosurgeon. If I were to give advice to anyone who is dealing with a terminal illness or cancer, live every day to the fullest, make those memories, and prepare yourself for the unexpected and the expected because life can be a rollercoaster. Sometimes you just have to get on the ride and hope for the best while trying your best.
Even though we were going through a lot, we persevered. My father took me to a wing of the hospital after an appointment and asked me what form of treatment would I prefer. I think it was a post-op cancer center because I saw kids my age recovering from leg amputation surgery which made me really scared of orthopedic surgeons. I had this fear that doctors would come take away my leg because my doctor at the time discussed this option. This situation led to a discussion between my parents about naturopathic and other alternative options. We decided to seek Eastern medicine treatment because of our Asian, Hispanic, and Native American backgrounds which I attribute to the remission of my leukemia at 12 years old. Since then, I have been on a journey of academic triumph with the occasional barriers that I have broken along the way.