We have all heard the first 12 words of the song composed by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston for the Disney classic, Cinderella: “A dream is a wish your heart makes/When you’re fast asleep.” To some, those are just lyrics from a song, but for many–including myself–they hold a meaning that can’t be described in words. Let me start from the beginning.
I was 14 years old and had just finished up my 9th grade year of high school. On my summer breaks I would always volunteer at the local summer camp on the military base in my town. I had braces at the time, and one morning while getting ready for my shift, the bathroom door swung open and hit me square in the mouth. OUCH! My mouth bled for a while and my mother thought I had knocked something loose in my mouth because I just wouldn’t stop bleeding. I had also been recently sleeping a lot and complaining of being tired. Being the concerned mother she was, she made appointments with a dentist and a doctor for me to get a physical.
The physical came first. We went to the hospital and they did the normal poking and prodding, including blood work. We left the hospital and went to visit friends. By the time we got home there were 12 messages from the hospital saying we needed to come back. The lab had an error and wanted to re-run my blood work. We went back, and they drew more blood. We waited, and the test came back the same. They said that my blood counts were off, and they need to send me to a specialist. They told us not to worry. I was just anemic. My mother asked if we could go home to get clothes. They said no because if I got in an accident, I would be hurt badly thanks to my blood levels. They threw me in an ambulance and drove me an hour to the hospital to see the specialist. More tests were done, and the doctor came in. He had already spoken to my parents, and I could see the hurt in their faces. The doctor said, “You have leukemia.”
At that point the world ended. I thought it was a sick joke or a very bad dream. Without going into all the tests and medicines that are hard to even spell (let alone pronounce), the next year of my life was spent in and out of the hospital. I couldn’t go to school. I even spent my birthday in the hospital. I was probably the worst patient that ever lived! There was a light at the end of the tunnel, though, in the form of friendly nurse who wouldn’t let me quit. In addition, I would soon discover a factory that cranks out granted wishes like the Goofy Candy Factory.
Contributed by: Shaene Carson (NDH#21) Shaene is the DDL Charities and Projects Blogger.