Finding Myself.

15-year-old Katie has cancer. Katie is dying. Katie knows something isn't right. It's only until 'mum' tells her what she's been struggling to tell her all her life. It's time for Katie to find herself.

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1. Me.

'Mum, look at this.' I said, peeling off my shirt and examining the bleeding mole.

'Katie, put your shirt back on! I'm sure it's nothing serious!'

But it was something serious. Now nine months on and here I was, laid in this disinfectant-smelling hospital bed. I'd been pestering mum for weeks about the bleeding mole on my belly. Eventually she'd given in and taken me to the doctor. I still remember his sombre expression when he told me. I'd been sat next to mum at the time.

'Katie,' he'd said, although he was looking at mum. 'You have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma.'

'What does that mean?' I asked, looking to mum, who looked as though she would burst into tears at any moment, for reassurance.

'It's skin cancer,' he said. 'I'm so sorry.'

Trust me, it's hard being told you have cancer at 14. There's so much you haven't done, so much life you haven't lived. I was in denial for a while. It was a blur, all the treatments, all the special doctors. I don't even remember my 15th birthday. All I was thinking about was how I might not live past 16.

I heard a rustle across the room, and I glanced up. Mum was awake, and yet again I noticed how tired she looked, with heavy bags beneath her eyes, and her hair ruffled. Mum always used to look so beautiful. My cancer was affecting her too.

She was at the hospital most nights, took time off work, didn't go out with her friends, just because of me, my treatments, my cancer. She knew she was losing me. And she was scared. I was scared too.

When she saw me looking at her, she smiled. Not one of her old, happy, laughing smiles. She looked relieved, relieved that I was, well, alive. The smile didn't quite reach her eyes.

'Katie,' she croaked. 'You're awake.'

Which we both knew meant: You're still with me.

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