“I’ll start off by saying I 100 percent believe I got cancer for a reason,” said sophomore Zack Schramm.
On June 1, Schramm was given news that nobody wants to hear, a diagnosis of testicular cancer. Uncertain of causes, it took a large amount of mental toughness to get through this kind of milestone. With the major motivation being his mom, Schramm soon realized he had to do whatever it took to be there for his mom. For any mother, your child going through such an obstacle as cancer is living in a nightmare.
“My mom was so distraught knowing her 19-year-old son had cancer. Most of the doctors’ appointments was me picking my mom up,” said Schramm.
It is difficult to understand the process that cancer puts an individual through — the physical and mental pain is indescribable, though Schramm found a light in this process. With hours sitting in the chemotherapy chair, anyone’s mind will wander. The thought was always in the back of Schramm’s head that it is possible he may not make it through this, for with this, the epiphany arose to Schramm that he has not lived his life the way he wants to.
Many can testify to this. People often say they want to do many extravagant things in their lives, but never actually act upon the things that they want to do. In this case, Schramm realized he had been a victim of this and found himself taking advantage of even the simplest opportunities to experience life.
“I saw a quote that made me really think about how I have lived my life up until the diagnosis. I realized I had not been living life they way I should be living,” said Schramm.
“I had not done or experienced all the things I talked about. The quote basically gave me the idea that I have wasted nineteen years of my life and that I need to capitalize on every opportunity that I am given, big or small.”
The quote was the words of Confucius, “We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.”
It takes an immense amount of thinking to understand this quote, but once it is understood, you wonder what life you are in. To sum up what this quote represents in Schramm’s life, Schramm’s first life was his first 19 years. His second life began when he realized life can be taken from him at any second.
For any person, having cancer would break them to pieces. It could become another “feel sorry for me story,” but Schramm looked at this with a different set of eyes. A set of eyes that bettered him and his family. A different mindset that changed Schramm forever. The epiphany Schramm had because of this milestone is one of the best things that could have ever happened to him.
“Without having to go through what I did, I would still be waiting for life to come to me. Now I am taking on life with no fear or care in the world,” said Schramm.