Everything happens for a reason and our pain is not for vain. Hi, my name is Rebecca Yanez, I am 22 years old and a 2x acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivor, as well as a sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis.
When I was 7 years old, I was a professional dancer and very active, one day I did not feel right. My doctor said I had a stomach flu but nothing was adding up. My mom and I went the next day -- while walking to the bathroom I blacked out. From there I was sent to the hospital where we were told I was 85% cancer and my liver was engulfed with it over my stomach –which is what she missed. At that moment my doctor told me it would be a good idea to call family to come to City of Hope to see me because I would not last another week. – I was supposed to have the stomach flu.
I immediately had a port put in, bone marrow transplant which did not take and rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. This was all to attack what they could and keep me comfortable till the end. My faith stepped in at this moment as a seven-year-old girl and I knew this soon will pass and I will move on.
Months later I went home and there were many battles I faced the next 6 years which included relapsing twice where I did not want to fight any longer. Along with the cancer I had to have many reconstructive surgeries due to the chemo not allowing bones to grow the way they should. I will always have surgeries in my life due to the cancer and rheumatoid arthritis attacking certain joints. BUT-- I made it through my battle even when everyone said I would not and now I rejoice in VICTORY that I am still here today to give hope to others going through the same journey.
I would not change my life one bit because it made me who I am and gave me a different look on life that many never get. Today I have Rheumatoid arthritis as a result of many different health issues and secondary cancers. I will always be in a battle but it is what I chose to do with it that makes the difference. I choose to look on every day as a blessing rather than focusing on what I cannot change. Cancer is awful but it is what you take out of the battle in which you can do something amazing in the world and bring encouragement to those around you. Never give up no matter how dark it is around you, know you are not alone. I am proud to say I just graduated University of California Riverside.
Never give up, pull on what keeps you grounded and gives you hope in this world when all else fails you. It is always worth the battle to get where you are supposed to go. Much love to all survivors out there.