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What if?

Do you ever sit and think about the  what ifs in your life? Not simple, little what if I’ve left my straighteners on but what if something major in my life didn’t happen? Sometimes, when I’m lay in bed at night my mind wanders and I start to think a lot about the what ifs and I can’t even begin to imagine how different my life may be.

What if 7 years ago, I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer, but instead something minor like a pulled muscle? The doctors originally thought it may have a been a pulled muscle or growing pains. 

Sometimes I sit and think that my life would be a million times better if I never had cancer…

I’d have been the brightest one in the class at school – I’ve always loved learning things and I didn’t have one subject I disliked. I’d have left school with more than 1 GCSE A*-C, I’d have taken A-Levels at college instead of BTEC’s and I’d be applying for universities 3 hours away from my hometown to study for my dream career.

I’d have years worth of drunken memories sitting in the park drinking cheap cider and kissing boys, I didn’t know the names of… Years worth of school reports, detentions and more. I’d have tried a cigarette or two behind the bike shelters in school and doused myself in perfume before returning to class so nobody suspected a thing… I would have had several meaningless boyfriends, countless awful first dates and I don’t want to imagine the amount of Angus, thongs and perfect snogging sloppy kissing situations…

I’d still be friends with the girls I went into high school with, I’d have had endless screaming cat fights with other girls over them talking to my latest boyfriend. I’d have best friends who hadn’t been through cancer and almost died whilst fighting for their life, but instead their closest near death experience would be drinking too much vodka and thinking they were dying with their head stuck in the toilet.

I probably would have moved out by now… Just about surviving on a basic wage and super noodles or beans on toast for tea every evening.

If I didn’t have cancer my biological dad wouldn’t have done what he did and cause my parents to break up, we’d probably still be a family. If I didn’t have cancer than I probably wouldn’t have a strong relationship with my mum, I’d be out every weekend. She’d be out working everyday, we’d probably be passing ships.

My life would be different in a million and one ways if I didn’t have cancer,  that’s just a few reasons of how it would be but although it is a serious, life threatening disease it’s a blessing in disguise for me…

Yes, having cancer triggered my ill mental health, and as a result of having cancer I’ve now got two metal legs, four missing ribs and several chunks of my lungs missing, but with cancer I have an amazing life that I wouldn’t change for the world and my life couldn’t be better…

I’m grateful for cancer because

I left school with one GCSE A*-C, I’d missed 3 and a half years of schooling and I was so damn proud of myself for being able to sit my exams and all that matters to me and my family is that I tried my best.

My mum has met the man I now call my dad and I now have two younger siblings who mean the absolute world to me and I’ve been shown what a real dad is and how a real dad acts. He books days off work to come to hospital appointments and operations with me. If he can, he’ll always come to visit me whilst I have my chemotherapy. He loves me like a father loves a daughter and I love him like a daughter loves a dad, because that’s what we are to each other. “I don’t have a step-daughter, I have a daughter who happened to be born before I met her” is a text that he sent me a few weeks ago, and nothing has been more true…

My mum, although the first few years of me having cancer and being a hormonal teenager was extremely hard for her, I resented her for my biological dad leaving before I understood the reasons why and I took the fact I had cancer and was different out on her as she was the person closest to me. Despite all of this, she did everything for me. She dressed me, bathed me, helped me on and off the toilet, all while I shouted at her and took all of my feelings out on her – I mean it, I threw crutches, tried to escape from the ward in my wheelchair! Now our relationship is stronger than ever, not only is she my mum but she’s my best friend. I can talk to her about anything and everything, I love and appreciate her for absolutely everything she does for me. Sometimes I’d rather sit on the sofa and watch the soaps with her than see my friends.

If there’s one life lesson I’ve learnt from this, it’s that good things come from bad situations. Sometimes you just have to be patient, and sometimes it takes sitting down and letting your mind wander to realise what they are… If I had the chance to live a life without cancer, I’d say no. Cancer has brought the people who are in my life today, and gotten rid of the ones who didn’t mean anything to me. 

My life couldn’t be any better, cancer included. Now when I lay in bed I don’t think what if, instead I think about all the good things that have come from a bad situation…

Emma Cosgrove

Emma Cosgrove

Our aim is to help and support teenagers and young adults fighting or affected by cancer.

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