I’ll be honest: There was a point in my life when I believed this day would never come. That’s a harsh reality for an 18 year old to come to terms with.
Over the last 2 and a half years, I’ve been able to reflect on what it means to overcome. I’ve had to grow up and learn lessons that many adults never come to understand. I’ve had my life flash before my eyes and I’ve been told that the journey was going to be difficult.
But, I’ve also been reminded that God’s sovereign hand over me was all that I needed to get through each day. I’ve been reminded of my strength and the human body’s capabilities to physically fight with you as your emotional and mental strength fluctuate with your ever changing situation. I’ve been reminded of what it means to love each day, rather than assume that the things in your life will forever and always be there. I‘ve been reminded of the BLESSING that can be found in our healthcare system. These people have changed my life y’all. I have built countless relationships that will forever hold the most endearing place in my heart because without those conversations about Princess Diaries, common life activities, and the cooperation of my short hair that day...I don’t know if I could have gotten through it. These men and women fought for my case daily, so that I could write these words...so that I could be here now.
Last year at this exact moment I had just finished an extensive amount of a heavy 8 day - I’m talking every 12 hours nonstop - chemo treatment. A few weeks before that I had harvested my stem cells for an Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant where my body was going to be wiped clean of EVERY blood cell, both the good and bad ones, therefore compromising my immune system and breaking me down to my most vulnerable state in order to kill off every blood cancer cell in my body.
To summon my inner transparency: my experience is a result of the way that I have approached it. Cancer is just about one of the most evil things this world could battle. There is so much uncertainty in every conversation involved with this disease. There is so much pain involved with battling something so physically and mentally. There are so many sleepless nights and ‘hard to breathe’ moments.
Yet, I would not trade it for anything. Which is probably the confusing thing about my perspective of this disease. I have gained an understanding of a level of faith that in my opinion is nearly impossible to obtain having not walked through a dark time. My understanding of the Lord’s presence is something that I will never take for granted. Personally, this kind of relationship was found in the moments when I LITERALLY could do nothing else but ask God for his hand. I’m talking feelings of complete brokenness…feelings that I did not experience…IN ALL HONESTY until I had found out I would be going through cancer treatment for the third time ending in a Bone Marrow Transplant.
Today is August 9, 2020. Our world is really screwed up right now and we all know that things have ceased to go the way that we had planned for them to go. Whether that be on a personal level, or in response to COVID-19, or racial injustices, or death, or in my case…cancer. If my words do not reach you in any other way than this next sentence, then let these be the only words you remember: His plan is greater. It is impossible as humans, for us to let ourselves assume that we can control the events that are to come in our lives, because we will never be able to do that. We can work toward goals, share aspirations, get the job, move to the new city, and start the new school, but none of this would be possible without a plan that God has already crafted for us before we even drew our first breath. Cancer was written into my story. A Bone Marrow Transplant was written into my story. Hardship was written into my story. Surrender was written into my story. Joy was written into my story. Sacrifice was written into my story.
So what does August 9, 2020 mean to me?
A year ago today, as previously mentioned, I received my Bone Marrow Transplant: a shot at a new life and new blood cells. Cells that had been rid of disease and an attempt at ridding myself from Cancer for good. The experiences involved with this transplant are stories and realities I am willing to speak about with anyone willing to listen. As many of you know, I am an open book when it comes to my diagnosis and my relationship with the Lord. If you have questions or are just curious, please reach out to me.
Celebrating this day or my ‘1st Blood Birthday’ as one of my friends has called it, means continuing to be vocal about my response to Cancer. Today is a celebration of being one year out from one of the darkest times of my life, but it is also a continuation of my praises and communication of what it looks like to walk through something like this. Today is a reminder that the Lord is faithful as well as detailed and purposeful.
I have my official 'One Year' scans coming up this week on Wednesday, August 12th at 9:00 am. I would appreciate each and every one of your prayers.
Happy One Year. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
Author: Rylie York