By: Sami Stuart and Ashley Wiedeman
Cancer is one word that nobody likes to hear. Kirsten Tielbur, a Grandview senior, has had to hear it all summer, when she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer in June.
Just as anyone else would be, she was distressed when first hearing about the news and the fact that she had to go through chemotherapy.
“I was like, ‘why did this happen to me?’, but once I kind of realized that if I didn’t get it treated then I could die, I got to the point where I was like ok, I just have to do this, and then I’ll be fine,” said Tielbur.
Tielbur is now on the road to recovery of being cancer-free, but it has not been easy sailing.
“The tumor was the size of a watermelon before chemo. And it was like cramps times 100 and I couldn’t move or walk, like it was just terrible,” Kirsten said.
It made me realize how lucky I am.
Along with bringing unbearable pain to her, the cancer has also affected Kirsten’s academics, which are crucial for a senior in high school.
“Academically, it’s kind of harder for me to take notes, because the chemo can affect how fast you process stuff so like looking on the board and then trying to write it, it is kind of hard,” said Tielbur.
Kirsten has also become insecure about being bald.
“I don’t wear hats or walk around with hats on, so going places, when people stare at you, it just makes it so much worse...even though I don’t really mind being bald. It happens [people stare] almost everywhere I go,” Tielbur said.
However, her best friend shaved her head too, and it helped ease the idea of having to go through with taking it all off.
In fact, her friends and peers have been very supportive of her whole journey.
“They responded well, like I got back in touch with friends that I wasn’t really in touch with like in elementary school, and then middle school and high school kind of broke us apart. And I think I’ve gotten back in close with them,” said Tielbur.
Her family has also been there for her every step of the way.
“They’ve been good and very helpful for me, because I can’t be in the hospital alone, so they’ve kind of spent a lot of their time with me,” Tielbur said.
This whole journey has been a learning process for Kirsten.
“It made me realize how lucky I am. There’s like little babies and there are people who have gone through it so much longer than me. So I am so much more grateful for the little things.”
Kirsten has been cancer free since September 5th and has been granted a Make-a-Wish. She has not decided what to do or where to go yet, but is enjoying her senior year with her friends. She’s selling “Kirsten Strong” bracelets, and if interested, you can purchase one for $5.