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Cancer, Games, and Me – A Medical Beginning

Cancer, Games, and Me – A Medical Beginning

Hello Bago-readers, I hope that all of you are having a great day. Today, I’m not going to write a rant about stupid decisions that companies make or even speculate about the future of consoles. Instead, I want to connect with you guys on a personal level, in hopes that what I say will maybe inspire or even change opinions on a form of media that we so love.

Lately, I have been going through a lot of personal problems, and while talking to a friend, it was suggested that I write them out. I pondered for a second and figured, what’s the point of just typing away, only to delete it later. That was when I decided that I wasn’t going to type something out for myself, but instead, write something out that can be read by others and hopefully spread a message of hope and inspiration. But first, let me give a small background check on me. I have brain cancer; I was diagnosed at the tender age of 4, on I believe October 17th 1993. However, the first signs of cancer that my parents noticed was when I was 2, yet many complications led to a two year battle with doctors until I was formally diagnosed. Now you might ask, why am I writing such a thing on a gaming site, and you know what? The answer is quite simple. Many people have labeled video games as mindless violent things, that when used, give inspiration for disgusting actions. Well, I’m here today to tell you that gaming has actually helped me a great deal on my road to recovery and I’m writing in hopes of maybe providing some comfort to those going through an illness. Hopefully I can educate and bring light to gaming as a source of good, and not evil.

Cancer, Games, and Me - A Medical Beginning screenshot 1

I remember when I found this sword. I was so frigging happy that I finally got to kill those monsters that kept chasing me! Ahhh, nostalgia

Take me for instance. After I was operated on for my cancer, I was in very rough shape. Apart from having a grape-fruit sized mass removed from my 4 year-old cranium, I suffered massive damage to normal functions that an average person would take for granted. I had to relearn how to walk, talk,  and socialize. Even to this day, I’m still rather socially hindered, and can be described as having social anxiety which leads me to retreat and be a hermit. One thing that had been really hit hard though was my hand-eye coordination; I lacked it completely. Think of it this way: if Rock Band and Guitar Hero were out back then, I would have a .01% success rate on easy. My brain and body refused to work together and communicate; it was like a married couple arguing. The original Game Boy had released a few years before and my parents had picked it up for me. Along with my Game Boy, they also purchased Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and I absolutely loved that game. After awaking from a manually induced coma, I was eager to play Zelda. I was a dedicated gamer, even at that age.

Cancer, Games, and Me - A Medical Beginning screenshot 2

Fun Fact – It wasn’t until Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64 that I realized this was Link, and not Zelda.

One day, the doctor came in and saw me playing Zelda. My mother immediately looked at him with a look of worry on her face. She thought she was doing something wrong, allowing me to play a video game and over-stimulate my brain shortly after such an operation. She apologized. I’ll never forget my doctors response to her for as long as I live.

“It’s good that he’s playing his Game Boy; it will help recover his coordination and the communication between his brain and hands”

From that day forward, my parents have not stood in my way when it came to gaming. Well, except for when I had homework that needed to be done, but hey, that’s parents for you.

The point that I am trying to make is this: video games don’t breed hatred and aren’t mindless. They actually help on so many levels and in my case, they helped a boy that seemingly had no hope for a fulfilling life after such devastation to his brain. It was because of memorizing how the buttons were positioned, and pressing them to execute an action in-game, that helped improve my coordination. I have more tales concerning my cancer and how gaming as helped me, but that’s for another article. So, expect to see more cancer-related articles in the future in this mini-series I’m calling “Cancer, Games, and Me”.

Hopefully, I can inspire people who are also going through difficult times. There is always a way to beat something. No matter how much the odds don’t favor you, you can always prosper. Remember, there is always a solution to each puzzle and no matter how hard a boss may be, there is always a certain strategy that will ensure that it is beaten. Till next time folks, stay classy, love gaming, and I will see you in the next article!

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