What experience made you grow the fuck up?

I'll try to keep this short.. dunno about that though. Sorry for mistakes as I'm on my phone.

At 15, I was diagnosed with stage 2 Beurkitt's Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a particularly fast-spreading type of the cancer. After a few years of dealing with chronic fatigue and a worsening pain in my hips, I noticed a lump on my upper inner-thigh. It was about the size of a golf ball. I went to three different doctors, one of whom prescribed me with 6 months of anti-depressants (in his notes he mentioned my "stringy long hair"). We said fuck you and never went back, because I knew that I wasn't depressed.

The last doctor performed a biopsy on the lump, which turned out to be a swollen lymph node, and found nothing. Finally, we had the node surgically removed, and my family received a call 3 days later saying I had either Lymphoma or Leukemia. I remember walking out of my room that morning and meeting my family, all silent and looking down, except for my older brother who led me down the hallway and broke the news. I fell into his arms crying. At 15 thats not something you want to hear, especially at the beginning of sophomore year. I thought I might die. Was it Leukemia? I knew from the news and movies that it was bad. What the hell is Lymphoma? I hope it's that instead.

I was admitted to the hospital for two weeks and started chemotherapy. I had a tube inserted into my chest that hung down in front of my stomach-a life saver for drawing blood as I had my blood drawn probably 50+ times over the next several months. After 3 months of treatments, what felt like a lifetime, I was finally done. I felt lucky considering there are people who face years and years of treatments. I still had to visit periodically for the next 5 years but the stupid life-saving puke-inducing treatments were done.

My mom learned of a co-worker whose son died of the same exact cancer, caught at stage 4 (I was diagnosed at stage 2, meaning it was localized in one area). It had spread throughout his body and into his lungs, and he was just 17. The doctors told me I could have been months from advancing into further stages, which dramatically lowers the survival rate. Had I listened to that idiot doctor and taken the anti-depressants I would not be alive today.

I became a stronger person after this experience. While I appreciated life before this, it only cemented that feeling even more. It didn't matter how bad things were, because I knew that eventually they would get better. So, at 18, it was quite a surprise when my sister, 15, attempted to take her life. That really changed things. I didn't understand why, or how it could have been so bad that death was the only alternative. Luckily my mom noticed that she was non-responsive and called an ambulance. That was the last time she tried.

At 20, I learned that a very close friend, a guy who always had a huge smile on his face and something nice to say, commited suicide. That completely caught me off guard. We were supposed to go to EDC together in a few months. He had so many friends that loved him and were always there with him. We talked to him when he needed it. How the fuck did he get a gun? Sure there were times when I noticed he was down, but I always did my best to cheer him up, as did others. I think we did all we could. No one saw it coming. His last moments were seen via Skype with another close friend and roommate, who happened to be in the same house. After a few hours of talking, about life and friends, he said "im so sorry" and put a gun to his chin and pulled the trigger. He didn't die for 30 minutes. My friend waited with him as an ambulance and police arrived. I can't imagine the feelings he had watching this happen. The police yelled, asking my fallen friend if he had any other weapons. He couldn't speak. They took a few minutes to clear the area. The guy took a bullet to the head, fucking take him to the hospital already! He died on the way there. Don't know what else to say other than I've come to terms with it, and I remember him as a happy, amazing guy. That's how he should be remembered.

It's been 5 years since then, 10 since the cancer. I am engaged to a beautiful man, my dog is amazingly adorable and I'm loving life :)

P.S. if my friends happen to read this. I'm sorry to bring back that last memory. I had to get it out.

/r/AskReddit Thread