I suppose everyone has their own way to find a happiness. Whether it comes from their family, their friends, their lover, or even from themselves. Mine was from all. Born from a wealthy family, having a good talent at music, become the most popular girl in school, and also having a caring and loving boyfriend. Everything was so perfect. Until one day, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkin lymphoma. I was in senior high school when I felt my body was getting weaker and weaker everyday. I started losing my appetite and weight. At first, I was so glad. I told my boyfriend about what happened to me. Instead of happy, he was confused and asked me to meet a doctor. I said no, I thought he always like that because both of his parents are doctor.
One day, I have just finished my rehearsal for the annual violin concert, I did not know why I felt so tired that day, so I decided to go home first. When I took a shower, I felt that my underarm was swollen. I also got some bruises around my jaw. I thought it was because of the violin practice, then I told my mom. She took me to a doctor. The doctor asked several questions and asked me to do the CT and PET Scan. After waiting for almost a week, the result showed that I got a lymphoma.
Since that day, life is not the same anymore. Not only my body, but also my vision of life started to change. I kept my distance with most of my friends just because I did not want them to pity me. I spent most of the time in my bedroom. I was really mad at that situation, indeed. How could I not? I could not even play my violin for more than ten minutes or I will get bruise under my jaw. I even quit from the concert because I could not play the violin properly. My only thought when I was diagnosed was about the possibility of dying. I was sad, depressed, anxious and scared. I was grieving for myself. Instead of praying and starting a healthy life, I started to become addicted to alcohol. I did not know why, but it helped me to forget my pain. I could not say my family and friends did not care about me, they did, but they will never understand my pain.
Until one night, I found an online community of cancer survivors. I was randomly searching about cancer survivors on browser to pity myself. I read a story about a man who was diagnosed with stage IV non-hodgkin lymphoma, I read his stories and tried to send him an email. He then replied my email and asked me if I want to join a community of cancer survivors. And I said yes. Since that day, they taught me how to find a “new normal” and we kept on motivating each other to survive. They said, “We are not alone”. Now, it has been four years post-diagnosis, I begin to feel better, gain strength and feel more like myself. I thank god everyday that I found the community that changed my whole perception of life and helped me to find my sunshine back.
1. Illustration by Maya Bintari
2. Adobe Photoshop CC 2017