Marching On

I would never have imagined that my greatest march would have unraveled at the age of nine, on a simple Saturday morning, but I awoke that fateful day to view a new world around me, and the march began.

At the age of nine, I awoke one fall morning to find that the brain tumor that had previously claimed a small portion of my sight had now succeeded in capturing much of the remainder. For several years previous to this event, I was classified as legally blind, and visual impairment was no stranger to me. I had already begun to learn Braille prior to this, and was on my way to being an independent visually impaired student, but no one could have prepared me for that day. I awoke to watch the Saturday morning line up, and instead found a new, unknown fuzzy picture, blurred and foreign staring back at me. Rubbing my eyes, I was convinced I could wash the blur away, but this was at a loss. The new blindfold was here to stay. My new life was here to stay, so I had no choice but to march on.

At the age of nine, my small mind could not quite wrap around it all, but this day was the first day of the rest of my life; the greatest challenge I would ever have to march through. Nothing would be the same from that day on. The next Monday I visited my doctor. He informed me I would first go through major surgery to remove one brain tumor from the left portion of my brain and then begin a year of chemotherapy. My life would never be the same. Suddenly, my childhood had been ripped from beneath my feet and I was now to begin a whole new chapter in my life.

I would love to say that I had some amazing method to cope with this: some amazing formula, antidote, an answer to wipe my slate clean. But I didn't. I simply marched on. My life would never be the same, and there was nothing anyone could do about that. Sure, I could have hid under a rock and ignored the whole thing, which I'm sure at one point I wanted to do, but instead, I simply marched on. I became Braille literate; I learned to use a cane, which I know at one point I would have protested; my hair fell out; I got sick; I missed a lot of school; but I marched on. I can't even say I did this without any complaints, because I'm sure there was some kicking and screaming involved, which I have conveniently forgotten, but still, I marched on. And now, over seven years later, I continue to march on. So, when the going gets tough, march on.