Editorial: Despite cancer diagnosis, faith remains above all

‘I never imagined I’d be getting cancer at the age of 21’

by Madi Wilson, Features/Perspectives Editor

I’ve always been one to complain. From not getting the food or gift I want, to having too much homework or studying to do. To this day, I still find myself complaining when I want things my way.

But if I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s that complaining not only tears you down, but it tears down the hearts of the ones you’re closest to.

Complaining doesn’t heal emotions. It doesn’t make your problems go away. And it doesn’t make you a better person.

It affects the people you love the most when all they are trying to do is help and support you in the best way they know how.

Over the summer, I went on a mission trip to South Africa. I spent time at an orphanage with kids who aren’t receiving a good education, have lost loved ones and are sick with HIV/AIDS.

This trip completely changed my life, and my relationship with God grew stronger. I was reading my Bible and praying more, and I was surrounded by a group of people who were also striving to understand God’s Word and the love He has for us.

After I returned home from the trip, I began to have trouble swallowing. I felt a knot on the left side of my neck and noticed it was enlarged, so I decided to make a trip to the doctor.

Two and a half weeks later, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. The cancer was staged five out of six and had metastasized to 11 of my lymph nodes and into my neck tissue. In order to remove the large tumor on my thyroid that had taken over a year to grow, I was told I’d be undergoing a total thyroidectomy.


I never imagined I’d be getting cancer at the age of 21. Of course, I was in shock, and I didn’t know how to react. Who would?

I didn’t understand why after spending almost three weeks doing God’s work and pouring my time and whole heart into loving these children, I would be diagnosed with such a scary and life-threatening disease.

I didn’t know what to think of it, and I had no idea what to expect. I still don’t. I’m completely in the dark, and I’ll be honest, sometimes I wake up wondering what I did wrong to deserve an illness like cancer.

But I’ve accepted it, and I’m moving on. How? I remind myself every day to stay positive, worry less and to continue being who I’ve always been. Most importantly, I count my diagnosis as a blessing.

God chose me to show others that with faith you can get through anything. He chose me to be a light for those who can’t see the path ahead. He chose me to help others recognize the most important things in life. And for that, I am so grateful.

Don’t get me wrong: this diagnosis has given me plenty to complain about. Going to more than 20 doctor appointments within a week, recovering from an eight-hour surgery, being on a strict diet to prepare for radiation and being isolated for a week has not been easy. And there are more treatments I have yet to face.

But as I sit here in isolation, I realize I’ve been given the opportunity to reflect on my life and remember my purpose for being here. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not about feeling sorry for myself or complaining about what I have to go through.

It’s about facing every single challenge in life with the right attitude and hoping that my trials can be somebody’s victory.

There are people in the world who have so much more to complain about, and they don’t. They take every step as it comes just as I am doing. I have the most caring community, the best family anyone could ever ask for and lifelong friends who make each day a bit brighter.

I understand college is hard. Growing up is tough, change isn’t easy, and an unknown future is both exciting and frightening. I get that complaining is human nature because I do it almost every day. Life can suck, and it can be unfair.

But quit complaining and count your blessings. It could be worse.