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How 'The Fault in our Stars' helped me through medulloblastoma treatment

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sabrinadominguez67.jpgBy Sabrina Renee Dominguez

*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

"The Fault in Our Stars" has been my favorite book since Christmas of my freshman year of high school -- well before my medulloblastoma diagnosis. I've read it at least eight times. I've made connections that are probably just coincidences, and I've made everyone that I love read it.

"The Fault in Our Stars" is the story of smart and surly Hazel Grace Lancaster, a 16-year-old cancer patient who falls in love with Augustus Waters, an osteosarcoma survivor she meets in a support group.

Unlike my fellow fans, I'm confident in saying that I relate to Hazel a little more than my Augustus Waters-loving classmates.

How "The Fault in Our Stars" helped during medulloblastoma treatment
My perspective on"'The Fault in Our Stars" changed after I my medulloblastoma diagnosis. At first, I thought Hazel was rude and hostile, but after I started medulloblastoma treatment, I understood her point of view. She really and truly wasn't being rude or hostile. She was being cautious. She thought if she got close to anyone, she would eventually let them down or hurt them. Like Hazel, I know what it means to be a grenade.

Throughout the book, you meet all the different types of cancer patients in the forms of sickly teenagers who literally meet in the heart of Jesus. I've related to every single diseased teenager in this book. I have searched all over MD Anderson for my personal Augustus and fallen short. And I have mocked the nurses just like Hazel and Isaac do. I have attempted becoming friends with other patients, but I always seem unapproachable.

And while Hazel often whispered to her lungs "to keep it together" in the important moments, I have whispered to my brain to control the headaches caused by my medulloblastoma.

Every time I have my doubts, I reread the book. If Augustus can see his life as "a roller coaster that only goes up," I can, too. Rereading "The Fault in Our Stars" has helped mediate my mood swings and kept me focused on fighting the battle.
    
Finding the comedy in tragedy
John Green wrote this book in honor of his friend, Esther, who died of cancer at age 16. She inspired Green to write "The Fault in Our Stars" to show that although you may live a short life, you can live a full life.

My favorite part of this book is the two last words: "I do." I did a little research and found that it symbolizes marriage -- a reference to how Shakespeare's comedies ended in marriage while his tragedies ended with death. While a story about cancer could easily be a tragedy, Green shows us that cancer can be both comic and tragic.

A nurse once told me I should find my laugh in all of this because it is what will push me through medulloblastoma treatment. In the book, there are multiple times where Hazel laughs at something inappropriate. I hold onto that the most, I just need to find my laugh, and the rest will work itself out.

Everything in life could end in tragedy or comedy. Cancer itself may be a tragedy, but it is our job to transform it into a comedy. I do.

Read more by Sabrina Renee Dominguez

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