Life is Great!

by Carolina Williams


Exactly one year ago I received the most unexpected phone call of my life.  My surgeon called me to tell me that my tumor was not benign like he originally had diagnosed it, but it was a GIST.  Well, not knowing what that really was or entailed, I asked: "Is that cancer?"  When I heard the "c" word I thought of many things…condemnation, confusion, contemplation… As a fourth grade teacher I tend to think like this and  try to control my life, like I control my teaching in my Texan classroom.

After that I went through all the stages we tend to go through in life-changing situations….

As a 28 year-old who was married only 2 years ago and just started my profession 5 years ago, I have many plans for my future… many of them that will have to be accomplished in different ways than expected or wanted.

I know that I will have many stories to tell, like many of you, about my children and grandchildren, and how once I had to take a medicine called Gleevec.

This life-changing experience has definitely made me not only better, but  a more understanding human being, not only with others, but with myself.

This quote hit home because it helps me understand life better:
"The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the  fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualifications for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and conform to the unavoidable, to harmonize with existing or changing conditions." (quote by Dave E. Smalley)

Being strong, I used to think, was to have a thick skin and to survive anything; now I understand that surviving is really accepting the obstacles, learning lessons, and then…teaching them.

Now, my plan is to live, to learn, and to help others….the best way I know how….. I know that I have much to learn and mature…but I accept my mistakes and I can move on now….

I am from Bolivia, South America, and live in Plano, TX. I was diagnosed  01/09/06 with a GIST the size of a watermelon. It was extracted with (almost) clear margins, and I am currently on adjuvant therapy of 600 mg of Gleevec, handling the side-effects very well and trying to live life at the fullest and as "normal" as possible.

Life is great!

Carolina Williams, January 2007