Sitting in the doctor’s office every second seems to take hours. The room was so quiet that even the shift of my own weight in the chair sounds like a dozen pots and pans hitting the floor. Desperately trying to pass the time I stared at the pictures on the hung up on the wall trying to pick out as much detail as possible; reading the captions under the pictures a thousand time thinking or possibly hopping that the next time I did the words would be different. Then the torturous silence was broken by the sound of the door opening and the clock on the wall resumed ticking at the normal pace as the doctor finally entered the room. Walking all the way in and shutting the heavy wooden door behind him he did not sit down, he just stood there by the door with a dis-hearted look on his face. Finally he looked at me and in the most sincere way he could said “I’m sorry to have to tell you this but you have cancer”, and then he walked back out of the room.
Over the next few weeks and months following the worst news I had ever gotten in my life I went to two other doctors hoping to hear different results. Unfortunately this did not happen. Everyone I spoke with told me basically the exact same thing, “you will only have three to five years and conventional treatment (chemo, surgery, and radiation) will have little benefit for you.” And with that I went on with the help of my friends and family to find out as much as I could about this illness that would eventually be my downfall.
I started my research by looking back through some of my old college text books about human genetics and biology just to kind of a brush up on the subject and relearn the basics about cancer. Then I started to look for the most recent cancer research papers, articles, and books published in order to find out the newest procedures being used to treat cancer. I talked to researchers doing work in the field just to find out if they had any ideas that could in any way help me. I even found a small number of people online that were going through the same thing I was. I managed to find some scientists that were working on some new experimental treatment, which after finding out more about it I was very interested in trying. I had already, a long time ago, made the decision to dedicate my life to scientific research in ways of extend the human life span. Maybe this experimental treatment is how I would be able to achieve my goal in life and maybe help others at the same time.
For the most part I tried to not let this cancer change my life too drastically. I got a part time job so I had something to do but it wasn’t too demanding and I was still able to spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I exercised almost daily with my mother and a small group of friends. I continued to research possible ways in which I could extend the length of time I had left. I did the things that make life worth living, shot some pool with my best friend, went fishing with my dad, played basketball with my brothers in the summer, went camping with my sister, we would have late night bon fires at friend’s houses. I took the time to stare up into the night sky and, while surrounded by friends and family, watch as time would literally came to a stop.