Because I Was You

Anna Schetinski
Osteosarcoma survivor

I see you.
Courageous young woman over there,
avoiding glances left and right.
Eyes averted, so insecure.
Your hair is gone.
In its place, a stylish floral scarf.
Vintage, I think.
I see you.
Because I was you.
You notice people staring.
Sometimes they are. Sometimes it’s imagined.
You stop avoiding,
Catch their eye and hold it for a second.
Some look quickly away so as not to embarrass you.
Others smile. A sweet half smile.
A sorry smile.
You appreciate.
Smile and graciously nod in return.
Yet you are also overcome with worldly insecurity,
remembering that you are different.
You think people stare because you are ugly.
They feel sorry for you.
You have no hair. Your face shows signs of insurmountable stress.
Your scars tell of experiences no one should have to endure.
I understand this.
Because I was you.
I see you brave young woman.
You are beautiful.
Not because of your hair, or lack of it.
Not even because of that gorgeous vintage scarf,
wrapped so perfectly around your head.
You are beautiful because of the courage that shines through your eyes.
You are beautiful because you are fighting a battle you did not ask for.
You are beautiful because of the Illuminating soul that God gave you.
Your light sparkles bright.
That is why people stare.
I am sure of this.
Because now I am the one who stares.

Written by Anna Schetinski
Osteosarcoma survivor

I was just a regular girl, living a normal life when in an instant something terrible happened. I realized that life is fragile- not to be taken for granted. I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when I was sixteen years old and it changed me forever. I survived to share my story, and I am thankful for what I’ve learned about life through this experience. We are all here for a reason, and what we choose to contribute to this crazy world has the power to make a difference. I choose to love. I choose to empathize. I choose to share my story because I know that it has the potential to help others who struggle.