Tough, Sturdy and Triumphant

Tough, Sturdy and Triumphant

From Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul

Tough, Sturdy and Triumphant

The mind can have tremendous control of the body;

very few ailments can defeat focused energy and a determined spirit.

Katherine Lambert-Scronce

Tears filled my eyes as my parents told me why my arm had been in so much pain during the past three months.

“You have leukemia,” my dad explained.

I didn’t know much about leukemia, but the words still plunged deep into my heart like knives. My parents told me that I had to go into the hospital to have a metal cylinder called a medi-port put into my body. A medi-port has a line through which the doctors would give me medicine to fight the leukemia cells.

I found out that leukemia is a type of cancer that only one out of ten thousand people get. Bone marrow starts making leukemia cells, which take over good cells. Why did this have to happen to me? I wondered.

My whole family went with me to the hospital. My parents told me they’d see me after my surgery. Some doctor hooked me up and made me put on some funky clothes. Then they rolled me into the operating room.

I was so scared. All of the doctors had on masks. They attached sensors to me and assured me that nothing would go wrong. They put a mask over my face, pressed a button and I fell asleep. When I woke up, the surgery was over. I had to stay in the hospital for four days. My doctor told my parents I would have to come to the hospital every other week to stay for four days so that I could get treatments. I had to do this for one entire year— twelve months!

When we reached home, I couldn’t believe how much I had missed it. People brought over presents, balloons, cards and food. My teacher came over and gave me a stack of letters from my classmates. I read them over and over. All of them had cried, especially my friends. I didn’t get to see my friends anymore and felt sick practically every day. But I got tons of letters from them all the time, and they kept me going!

I have survived this last year, but I still have a lower blood count than healthy people. I have only two more years of treatments to go, and from now on, the treatments won’t be so heavy.

I have been overwhelmed with support and prayer. My mom told the Make-A-Wish Foundation how much I loved castles, and I was granted my wish to see real castles in England and Scotland. My whole family gets to go with me and Make-A-Wish is paying for everything!

I know I didn’t get through this by myself. My friends and family have been with me every step of the way. I look back and see how far I’ve come. I will fight this and triumph.

Even though I’m different than most kids because of the leukemia, I’m as tough as a general leading his men into battle, as sturdy as a wall and as triumphant as a man beating an army. I have been able to do this thanks to everyone who has helped me through, and especially to someone in a high position. Where there is life, there is hope for even the most hopeless.

Elijah Shoesmith, thirteen

[EDITORS’ NOTE: At the date of this printing, Elijah is fifteen years old, and is in remission—due in a large part to sheer will and his determination to beat his leukemia. For more information on leukemia, lymphoma and other blood-related cancers, call The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at 1-800-955-4572 or log on to]

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