Make-a-Wish and similar charities either did not exist or did not reach my hometown in the year I was diagnosed with two different kinds of cancer and a rare genetic disorder. If they had, I would have asked for something along the lines of a trip to England and a visit to the set of a certain science fiction television program.
But they didn't, so instead, I got a television of my very own. I curled up around the pain and the remote control and watched endless cryptic episodes of Doctor Who, wishing myself away. Anywhere, everywhere, elsewhere.
I was raised to be fierce and fearless, but those traits do not explain much at all. What saved me, what literally kept me alive? My imagination, my curiosity, and a peculiar idea that the universe promised enormous glittering adventures. With an electronic music soundtrack.
There was no encouragement for this aberrant thought, and plenty of proof against. But no matter what happened, no matter how bad it got, I always believed that there was something more out there. Poverty, disease, and despair nearly killed me. But I put my faith and pennies in wishing wells. I put my effort and skills into creating a family, building a community, and speaking out.
Twenty-seven years later I'm still alive, and I still have cancer. But I'm in England. And I get to do whatever I like, whenever I wish.
Including an unlimited supply of mad field trips. Isn't it lucky my kid also likes the show? If I needed an excuse I would say the trip was for him - but really, we went because we are both huge fans: