Her journey was difficult as she encountered a variety of illness’ and complications due to her medications. Eventually she was induced into a coma, fading in and out of consciousness and awareness. During this time she had meningitis. After treatment of both the cancer and the meningitis, she awoke with the loss of motor functions. Essentially having to relearn how walk, eat and perform everyday activities. This was the most mentally tasking part for Alexa. She attributes her triumph over this phase to her positive thinking and the support of her loved ones. “The body and is much more fragile than what we believe they are to be” Alexa Pickens said. While Alexa’s body was in distress she found it extremely important to do what she could to keep her mind healthy. She practiced art therapy which involved drawing, writing poetry, and keeping a diary (before she lost function in her wrist). Alexa is very goal oriented and continued to set small goals which led towards accomplishing larger ones, like, restarting her fitness regime. As Alexa reminds us, “slow and steady wins the race.” She literally started one step at time and is now able to jog for five minutes straight. The best thing about her recovery was being surrounded by her family and friends during these times of struggle.
We agreed with Alexa’s statement “TV lies.” Cancer treatment isn’t glamorous, it’s brutal and unimaginable. While interviewing Alexa, we had never spoken to a cancer survivor, we realized the how cancer is portrayed on TV is not comparable to how much time and effort is really spent on treatment. Alexa’s story was truly moving. We’re glad to report that with Alexa’s strength of character and motivation she is able to return to Concordia next fall semester to continue her aspirations of becoming a police officer.