By: Keonna Collins
As the doctor entered the room I knew what was going to come out of his mouth was nothing but bad news. He sat down on his stool and said “Kimberly, I’m afraid you have lung cancer.” I couldn’t believe what he said. I heard it but I didn’t want to believe it. As he continued to talk about this thing called lung cancer that I have and all of the possible treatments. I honesty blocked him out.
“Ms.Brown do you hear me?”
“Yes, I hear you.” I said
“I understand this can be rough and a lot to take in a once but…”
That’s where I stopped listening to him and blocked him out once again.
“Dr. Wright I have one question for you, when am I going to die.”
I wanted to get right into it.
“Well Ms. Brown with stage four lung cancer being the most harmful and hurtful cancer most are expected to be alive 5 year years after diagnosis.”
I let the doctor finish informing me about the stage 4 lung cancer I have but the only thing I took away was the 5 years that I have left on this earth. Exactly 5 years to create and finish my bucket list.
The drive home from the doctors office was probably the worse, all I could think about was how could I tell my family?
As I’m sitting at the red traffic light I grab my phone and google “how to create a bucket list.” I scrolled until I saw “The common age to make a bucket life is around 65” I’M 27!
*The light changed to green*
“Sorry”, I yelled to the cars behind me.
There were only two days until Thanksgiving and I figured why not tell all my family at once while they are all together in the same place. But what if they don’t want to hear my bad news on the day of Thanksgiving?
Here I am, a 27 year old, 5’3, African American female with stage 4 lung cancer. I can’t seem to wrap my head around how and why.
Lung cancer actually floats around in my family. My great grandma (Nana) had lung cancer and she sadly lost her battle to it. Will I be able to fight it or will I loose my battle too? When the doctor asked me did i have any questions I said no, but really I’m full of them.
It was Thanksgiving Day and I didn’t get much sleep the night before due to the problem I have with overthinking.
I’m in the car jamming out to a new Chris Brown song that I barely know the words to, but I’m feeling great.
Arriving at my mom and dad’s house i walk in and got comfortable like i still live here. I see my mom in the kitchen putting her blood sweat and tears in to the food.
“Hey Mommy, Happy Turkey Day”
“Hey BabyK, why dont you put on a aporn and help me out.”
Baby K was a nickname they had given me when I was younger. Baby because I’m the youngest child and K because my name is Kimberly.
Saying black people are never on time would be a stereotypes. But with my black family it is most definitely true. It was 7:00 pm and we were just starting to eat. As everyone got there food and started to get sitted, I started to get butterflies and my chest began to tighten.
“Kimberely, can you please pray for this lovely Thanksgiving dinner we are having?” My mom asked.
“Sure, everyone please blow your heads. Dear Lord, we thank you for this food we are about to receive. Thank you for bringing us all together, please watch over me as I struggle to fight this stage 4 lung cancer. In your name I pray, amen.”
I knew when I opened my eyes and looked up everyones face would probably make me want to cry. I waited about 10 seconds then I decided to look up and I was right. Everyone’s eyes were on me, 18 pairs of eyes looking deep into my soul.
No one said anything for a while then my dad said “Baby K, do you want to talk about anything. What did you say about stage 4 lung cancer? I decided this was where everything had to come out. “Yes dad, stage 4 lung cancer. The most harmful cancer there is, the one that kills the most people. Your 27 year old daughter has stage 4 cancer.”
I’m sure everyone had at least hundreds of questions to ask me but they didn’t. Instead we went on with dinner like I didn’t just announce that i was going to die in 5 years. I don’t expect my family or anyone to feel sorry for me because these last 5 years of my life will be the best 5 years.
After dinner was over we gathered in the living room and spoke on what we are thankful for. I don’t know if it was just a coincidence that everyone said “Kimberly” or maybe they were trying to say I’m sorry and I care about you. But when it was my turn to say what I was thankful I was ready, I had a speech prepared to go.
“Im thankful for the 27 years of life that i have lived, for my parents that gave me the opponturiny, for my family for always being there for me and lastly my doctor for informing me about my cancer. If it wasn’t for my doctor I don’t think I would be looking at life the way I do now.”
Weeks had passed and I still had not created my bucket list but I wasn’t sure if that was appropriate. I had not decided if I wanted to live my life to the fullest or silently suffer.
Deciding to suffer in silence was probably the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life. But I belive it was the best for me.
I became distance from my family and friends, I even started to miss my doctors appointments to get my treatments. The treatments made me depressed and weak. Even though I had given up and wanted to die, I didn’t want to die this way.
My sister Brooklyn had been trying to contact me for a couple of weeks but I honestly didn’t have energy to call back. Today was different, I decided to call.
“Hey Baby K, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Are you busy today?”
“No not at all, wassup?”
“Can you come over to my house at 4:00pm?”
Yea, I’ll be there.”
Brooklyn is older then me and also more successful than me but she is probably the closest person to me. I wanted to go out, have a good time for once in a while.
I called Brooklyn “B” sometimes, I’m not sure when I started calling her that but I felt she needed a nickname since I had one.
“I have a better idea, how about we stay home instead of going out. I will go grab some snacks and start a movie.” Brooklyn said.
“ I guess that’s fine, but if it’s boring we are going out!” I said.
Brooklyn and I sat and watched movies all night long, eating snacks and laughing. Without her coming over I’m not sure what i would have done I’m sure it wouldn’t have been good.
It was 8:00am and I got a call, i looked at my phone and it was Dr.Wright. As much as I wanted to just watch it ring I answered it.
“Hello Ms.Brown, this is Dr.Wright and I’m sorry for calling you this early but I have some outstanding news.”
“Yes, it’s fine i was up anyway. Go ahead.”
“ The last time you were in we took some test to check on your cancer and I’m pretty sure this is a miracle because not one spot of cancer showed up.”
“ARE YOU SURE? IS THIS FORREAL?”
“ Yep! I double checked, congrats Ms.Brown but you have beat cancer!”
That conservation took place on June 3 and it was probably the best day of my life. I had beaten cancer. There is no medicine like hope. Believe in yourself and don’t get distressed
Cancer can touch you, but not your soul; neither your thoughts, nor your heart.
Jeffersonville High School, 2019