12 Years Old at Diagnosis
When Bekah was 12 years old, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Though her journey has been long and hard, she has never let cancer get in the way of enjoying life.
After her diagnosis, her family moved to Alabama so that Bekah could receive the best possible treatment and be closer to their extended family. Due to her treatment, Bekah wasn’t able to attend school and was thrust into a world where her only friends were the ones she met at the hospital. Bekah had 13 months of intense chemotherapy which left her with long-term side effects such as hearing loss, short term memory loss, and kidney and heart function concerns that will need to be monitored for the rest of her life. Her treatment required she have her knee replaced, and due to complications with the replacement, Bekah later had her entire leg amputated. Despite all of this, Bekah has never felt limited in what she could accomplish.
The treatment process was very isolating for Bekah. She didn’t meet very many friends in her new town, and those she did meet couldn’t understand what she had been through. She felt that people only though of her as the “cancer girl.” Luckily, she was given the opportunity to attend a cancer camp where she met others with similar experiences to hers. Bekah found solace in her new cancer camp friends, and they helped her come out of her shell and feel comfortable being the bald girl. When Bekah started college, she worked hard to make sure that her friends knew about her past, but that it did not affect how they treated her.
Bekah is now 28 years old and says that the reality of her cancer treatment never leaves her. In fact, she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Immediately after her diagnosis, her doctors began discussing possibilities, and decided that a mastectomy was the best option. Bekah had a mastectomy in February, and will have a second mastectomy in late 2013. While breast cancer runs in her family, doctors suspect she developed the cancer about 20 years earlier than she might have because of the chemotherapy she received. Her doctors are hopeful that Bekah will once again beat cancer. The fighter that she is, once again Bekah isn’t letting this new battle with cancer dictate her life.
Bekah tries to use her life experiences to inspire others, often speaking at high schools and community events. This October, she is getting married, and is ready to start a new life. She wants to remind people that there is life after cancer.