My name is Khiana Bradshaw. I am a sophomore at the D.C Everest Senior High, and I am a cancer survivor.
Even if you’re going through rough patches in your life right now, just try to stay positive and keep going. That’s what I had chosen to do, and here I am today. Without my positivity and smiles, I’m not sure where I would even be right now.
When I was in eighth grade, I noticed that it really hurt when I ran in gym class. I tried to see if I could find anything that would show what was hurting me, but standing up I couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Then I laid down. There was a large bump on my lower left side, almost the size of a cantaloupe, sticking from my guts. Of course my parents were concerned, so they took me to see my doctor. Just feeling around, my doctor could not figure out what it was. He had thought it was something between my muscle wall and skin because the mass had been moveable. He sent my to get an ultrasound the same day. After getting the results, he still couldn’t tell what the mass was, but he sent my family and I to the general surgeon anyway. The meeting with the general surgeon lasted literally five minutes just for him to tell us that the mass was something with my reproductive organs. He could not operate on me.
A couple days later we were sent to a gynecologist to figure out what was wrong. He told us that it was, in fact, one of my ovaries. Immediately, my mother began to panic because her side of the family has a rough history with Ovarian Cancer and such. The gynecologist sent us to Aspirus to get me in for surgery. Gowned, with an IV going, a woman came into my room and told me and my family that they were not equipped to operate on something that could be potentially cancerous. My mother and father were quite upset at the news, but they understood. My cousin had been there too for emotional support more or less. By then, I had not eaten since the previous night, so I was starving. We decided on going to Noodles ‘N’ Company for dinner, and my mom got a call from that same woman. The woman told my mother that they could still possibly get me in at the Marshfield Hospital where a doctor there would be able to be able to operate on me. Only, the doctor wasn’t there. It was his new assistant whom we’ve never met. My mother was furious at that point, hanging up the phone so we all could eat and relax. December 13th, 2017 I had my surgery, and that same day I had been diagnosed with NeuroEctodermal Ovarian Cancer, and Yolk Sac Ovarian Cancer. The Yolk Sac cancer had been taken care of with the surgery, but the NeuroEctodermal the Doctors were not so sure about. The NeuroEctodermal cancer was typically only found in women in their 60’s, not 13 year old girls. This cancer also could not be tracked through my blood, so the doctors had decided that Chemotherapy and monthly scans were the only way to make sure it was really gone. The Chemotherapy lasted seven months, and they had hit me with the five hardest Chemo drugs they had. The five that they used would have killed anyone older than myself, and even then at my age I hardly had a 1 percent chance of survival. The Chemotherapy drugs they had used were Doxorubicin, Ifosfamide, Etoposide, Vincristine, and Cyclophosphamide. These five drugs could have, and should have killed me, but they didn’t because I fought against it all. When I had first learned of my cancer and that I would be starting Chemotherapy treatments, I had been terrified. I mainly looked toward my mother for guidance on what to do. First hearing that you have the deadliest cancer that you can have for a person your age can really rattle your nerves. I remember not wanting to go to school. I didn’t want to hear or answer peoples questions. My dad had been mad that I was staying home, but I didn’t care. To me, my dad didn’t care about my feelings, and he didn’t care about my wellbeing in this whole matter.
During my treatments I was even more scared. Even with my mother there with me, I felt like I was constantly alone. I didn’t remember where I was most of the time, and sometimes I would wake up feeling lost with no remembrance of what day or time it was. Sometimes I still feel like that. Sometimes I still feel like I can’t remember where I cam after waking up from either a nap or just normal treatments. There are nights where my body goes right back on that schedule when the nurses would come and check on me every hour, and I would wake up every hour and not get back to sleep for another roughly 30 minutes later. But I have never let any of that stop me.
I pushed through the treatments with a smile, and positivity. Each and every treatment my mother was there with me, spending nights and days with me there in that hospital room. I knew it was killing her just as much as it was killing me to see me in such pain and discomfort, so no matter what had happened to me I kept a smile on my face. I kept doing what I knew would make her happy and what I knew would keep giving her hope that I would make it out of that hospital alive and well after every single treatment. Each treatment we would cuddle up and watch movies on her laptop, or we would do arts and crafts together and just talk. Sometimes we would go on walks around the hospital to get me moving around. I would sit on the bottom on the IV pole sometimes and she would pull me around while we joked and laughed together. Any time I felt myself going into a rough patch with nausea and sickness, I always stayed positive and kept my smile.
What I went through was very rough and hard on my body, but despite that I was strong, positive, and optimistic. Even when I felt like breaking down and crying, I didn’t because I didn’t want my mother to know I was truly in pain.