I like to believe I am a tough girl, a strong girl, a thick skinned girl. But when I had cancer I felt weak — and it felt so so terrible to feel like that. I felt like I had no control over my physical well-being or my emotions or even my words. I didn’t really have the option to make my own decisions or make my own life choices. Everything that I was doing was “mandatory” so that I could stay alive. This is a weird concept as a 17 year old girl, because I feel like being a teenager in high school is one of the more rebellious times in life.

In general as any patient in the hospital, there are so many restrictions. These restrictions made me feel not only physically constrained, but they impacted my mental well-being. I forgot what it was like to do “fun” things and had to redefine what “fun” was in my life.

I often thought about what I couldn’t do… what I should have been thinking of was all that I accomplished each day. Keep that in mind. If you’re feeling this way with your own condition, my advice is to write down your daily accomplishments, little or big. An accomplishment means something. It means you have survived another day of a challenging, challenging battle.

Recently I have been doing this in a different way – I made an Instagram account called @moisjoys. I try everyday to post something on this account that brings me joy because no matter what happens, there is good in everyday. It is important to acknowledge that.

Moi is a junior at the University of Southern California majoring in Public Relations and Entrepreneurship. At school she loves to keep herself busy teaching dance classes, participating in her sorority, attending fitness classes and exploring Los Angeles. Ever since she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma the summer after her junior year in high school, she has been passionate about helping other patients through the challenges faced during treatment and beyond.