Prologue

My parents and I walked down the spiralling corridors of our local hospital. We passed cardiology, listening to the faint buzzing of heart monitors and the sobs of emotional family members, then we passed neurology, often passing men and women in wheel chairs, presumably because they have had problems with their spines, until we reached oncology. Cancer. I have cancer. My parents haven't told me about the cancer yet, but I know. I knew the second we entered oncology for the first time, simply because I know what the word means, we have been coming for weeks now. Besides, if I never knew, I would have just googled it.

I often listen to their conversations, sitting with a glass against the wall, hearing the best part of the conversation. I don't know when they're going to tell me. I don't think that what's stopping them from telling me is that they are worried for me, which don't get me wrong, they undoubtedly are, I think that it is the fact that they do now want to accept that their daughter has cancer. The only thing worse than a kid having cancer is the suffering that the parents have to go through. They want to take the pain away; they feel guilty living their lives because mine will be ending soon. I think they're trying to find a loophole, like a lawyer would in a court case, but unfortunately, I don't think that's how these things work.

After listening for a couple of weeks, I decided to research with the little knowledge I have. I searched the web with words that often came up in the hushed strategic whispers, and it looks like I have stage four anaplastic thyroid cancer (every type of anaplastic cancer is stage four.) I'm not likely to live for the next five years, as the five year survival rate is 7%. I think that I am a pretty strong person, but I am scared. They're so many things that are out there for me, so many things that won't be done. My eyes often skimmed the school books in those hot summer days, knowing that revision is important, I'm one of those kids who do their homework, who pay attention in class, but what for? The likelihood is that I'll be dead before my exams. What's the point in fighting if the statistics are against me? There is only one thing I will fight for.

My parents. Nothing else matters.

Other statistics show that the death of a child often leads the parents to divorce? How can I let that happen, how can I ruin their world because I'm leaving it. I'll just be a scar, a memory, a ghost. The only times I'll be mentioned are my birthdays and the anniversaries of my death. And what will they do on my days, they will send a balloon up to heaven, probably with a message on, but it will never get there, the balloon will pop. The science of nature destroying dreams of contact with the dead. Destroying the mystery. It will be fast and painful, probably like my death.

I know that my life will never be the same; I will walk the streets hoping that the stares won't be as bad. I know I will probably get second looked everywhere, or people will stare when they think I'm not looking, trying to check how realistic my wig looks. I know that teachers will offer me extra help that I will refuse to take, but that's okay. A lot of people have it worse than me, I have a happy family and a warm bed to sleep in, and that's enough isn't it? And maybe when I die, I will finally discover the answers to those unanswered questions, what happens in life after death. Is there life after death? At least I get too find out.

I just don't want everything to be fake, I don't want to get brownie points for coming into school, I want to be treated normally, although it can't be that different. I don't want to be referenced at the religious assemblies the school holds, I don't want to be the person a church service is dedicated to. Because even though I am a Christian, God can't help me, if he could then I wouldn't be going through this right now. Don't get me wrong, I believe but he could stop it, if he can perform these miracles, why put me through pain? And don't give me any of those 'God just wants you in heaven speeches' because I'm not even a good Christian, I go to church on Easter and Christmas. No, I can't rely on God; surely he must have bigger worries. I can only count on myself, and the Doctors of course, I don't think the moral support will do much.

I think cancer comes for a reason, I think in any theory, The Big Bang, God, whatever, that there will be side effects, and this is one of them. It's a side effect of the earth, a side effect of dying, a side effect of living. I'd write a will, but I have nothing really to give away, God I'll have loads of things to plan, funerals, letters to people. Gosh this is morbid, but I'm going to go I might as well be happy with the things that are going to happen, I don't want to be sat in heaven looking and down and remembering my life In a way that will make me cringe or feel sad or embarrassed, I want my funeral to feel comfortable.

I know it's scary, but I have to deal with it, I'm not the first to have it and I won't be the last, it can happen to any of us, but I don't mind, the world needs side effects, and I guess I'm one of them. They're calling me over to talk to them now, I think they're going to tell me, I guess I have to go and find out.