By Megan Smith, Osteosarcoma Survivor
In movies, when a cancer survivor rings the remission bell, it is portrayed that the next day, life is automatically back to a normal pre-cancerous life, or, dare I say, an automatically better post-cancer life! That is what I based my reality on when I heard the words, “you have cancer,” and then I counted down every single day until I, myself, got to
ring the bell after my cancer fight.
That reality could not have been farther from the truth. The magical little bell, though it symbolizes a lot, does not bring back whatever “normal” is. Just like when you graduate and walk across that stage, you don’t wake up the next day a new human with a life that is completely different because you got a piece of paper. Finishing cancer treatment and ringing that bell is no different.
If anything, for me, that bell was like waking me up from one nightmare and preparing me for many new wonderful challenges. That day reminds me of how far I have come and how far I yearn to still go. The steps to and from the bell were the beginning of the end for a lot of things. Some good, some terribly bad, some indifferent. Those steps were also the start of some of the best things life has offered thus far.
With the ding of that bell and those steps (that months earlier I wasn’t sure I would ever get to take), came some new titanium, a scar (both physically and mentally), lots of frustration, a million falls, and the hardest work and perseverance I have ever put into anything! Cancer will forever be a part of my story and, to this day, it has been humbling and unpredictable.
My journey has allowed me to wake up every single day with extreme thankfulness. It
has taught me that no matter how many times you get knocked down, you get back up and
try again. Take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, and work hard.
I promise the journey is worth it.
At age 24 Megan was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer found in children and young adults. Megan finished her cancer treatment in 2017. Megan is now a collegiate lacrosse coach at Lee University and a consistent Austin Hatcher Foundation volunteer.
"When you get diagnosed with cancer, you feel like you're all alone in this world. When you walk through the Austin Hatcher Foundation, people welcome you, they help you however you need, and they walk with you through every part of the journey whether you just got diagnosed or, like me, have been in remission for years." -Megan, on the Austin Hatcher Foundation