It's the beginning of 7th grade.
I sit in my wooden desk thinking my wooden thoughts being a wooden boy and feeling deep inside that something is wrong.
That's when the lump in my throat starts to become noticable.
I breathe in. I exhale. I go about my normal day but I don't feel normal.
My Mom says it's just me being a teenager.
My Dad says if I just soldier along I will be okay.
And they both say that it's all in my head.
And that's when the lump in my throat becomes the lump on my throat.
It's the beginning of 8th grade.
I don't have the energy to move anymore.
I'm seeing six different therapists and no one knows whats wrong with me,
And when I ask desperately what the lump on my throat is they say it's just a reaction from a cold and it'll go away.
But it doesn't.
And finally my dad takes me to see a doctor.
Not a therapist, a doctor.
And I breathe in. I exhale. And they tell me finally what was wrong with me.
It's the end of 8th grade.
I'm sitting in the office of a doctor who has pictures of disney characters on all of the walls.
He steps into the room and says a string of words that I absolutely never imagined would be directed towards me.
"I'm sorry. But the lump on your throat is a tumor."
And inside of me something clicks and I realize that it wasn't just me being a teenager, and that it wasn't a matter of soldiering on, and it wasn't a reaction from a cold, and it wasn't all in my head.
There was something wrong with me.
And everything in that moment burns. Everything I touch burns. Everything I hear, speak, feel, or do, burns. Not my skin but my heart.
What's a 13 year old supposed to say to something like that?
And my mom cries, my dad holds her hand, and I just say.
It's the summer before 9th grade, except I'm not going to school this year.
I sit in my room for hours upon hours watching tv, watching peoples lives that are better than mine, people whose bodies aren't trying to kill them.
People who are happy, people who can eat without throwing up, people who actually feel like people.
I breathe. I exhale.
My mom sends me to six new therapists.
They all ask the same questions, "How are you?".
And I say "Okay."
Because that's just it. I'm okay.
They ask me about the surgery I'm scheduled for.
My mouth says it'll be okay. My mind is screaming "No, it wont be okay. I'm going to die. There is absolutely no one that can stop me from dying. I'm a time bomb."
It's the 17th of July.
I'm sitting in a hospital bed.
There are lights everywhere and I can't feel my neck, but all I can think is,
I'm finally awake.
I look out the window, and I see these bright green trees, and the sky is so blue, and I hear my mother's voice, and even thought I'm exhausted and I've been in an operating room for 11 hours, I'm happier than I've ever been.
And in that moment I realize how important every single moment is, and every single time I breathe and exhale I feel a warm sensation in my chest, and it's not burning anymore it's just.
And I know from that moment on I'm going to be okay.
And this time I actually mean it.
No matter what.