Sunday, March 9, 2014

My story thus far...

Hello! I think it is only cordial to introduce myself. My name is Francesca. I am an impassioned writer, fashion enthusiast, and proud Make-a-Wish kid/granter. Most of my time is spent swooning over the latest, designer trends, shopping at my local thrift store, or supporting an awful online-shopping habit. I also enjoy cats, coffee, and car rides, among a lot of other irrelevant things. I would say that my style is vintage-inspired elegance with a dash of boho chic. Many of my fashion icons include: Taylor Swift, Vanessa Hudgens, Zoey Dechanel, Demi Lovato etc etc. 

So, now that we have met, and we're practically friends at this point, I'll tell you my story thus far. I'm your not-so-average young gal; I do not fit the typical, teenage demographic. Coming from someone who always prepares for the worst, I could never anticipate what my journey would become. 

Late April, 2013, I became incredibly ill. I had horrifying headaches, my balance was non-existent, I couldn't see straight, and I couldn't hold anything down. After a month of battling this sickness, going back and forth from the emergency room without a resolution, I finally got diagnosed. Early May, 2013, I received a call... They saw something on my brain. After participating in, what seemed like, endless tests, they determined that I had an inoperable brain tumor wrapped around my brain stem. My oncologist and radiologists were unable to tell if it was cancerous or not because it was too risky to remove or even do a biopsy. One wrong move could possibly sever my life. They decided that the best way to treat me would be six weeks of radiation with the maximum amount of treatment.

So what do you do when you get that kind of news? I found it to be incredibly hard to accept. My life, as I knew it, would never be the same. While other young adults my age spent their summers partying, staying up late, and intoxicating their body with unlawful substances, I spent every morning traveling to Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital. While many people who go to the hospital everyday dress in their pajamas, that was not the case with me. Every day, I wore a different outfit to my treatment. The saying is true "if you look good, you feel good." Fashion became the one thing that made me happy to get up and keep on keep in' on.

Last day of radiation; Although it was a blessing to be finished with my treatment, I missed seeing all of my friends that I have met along the way.

For a long while, I was quite bitter. I constantly wondered what I did to deserve this kind if pain and hardship. Then, as I began to gain relationships with kids at Children's Hospital, I realized why I was there; it had to happen in order for me to grow to be the individual that I am. To me, I felt like the other children that I met, were the only people who didn't see me as "sick". Radiation oncology became my new familiar place. Much like in school, when you recognize faces as you walk about the hallway, you say hello and add a wave or a smile. But it was different here. I knew more than the kid's names; I knew their stories as well. Little did they know, their stories became a tremendous part of mine. I stopped asking God, "why?" Instead, I started to treat everyday as a new opportunity and devote myself to make a difference. 

So, this is my journey journal: when the ill fated times make the fortunate ones that much sweeter, where everyday is a struggle, but tomorrow is a blessing, and when hope can be found in a little something called fashion.

Much love and thanks, 

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