It’s not the type of news any young person should have to hear:
“You have cancer.”
But when Chloe Spergel heard that exact news, the then 16-year-old decided it was no time to feel sorry for herself.
It turns out the early-stage thyroid cancer doctors discovered was simply no match.
“I knew that it was very early cancer,” said the Lower Merion High School junior. “It’s hard to hear you need to have surgery, but at the same time, I knew I could get through it. I have great friends and family who I knew would be there to support me.”
It all began late last summer, when doctors performed a surgery to remove part of her thyroid — something Spergel had an issue with for several years.
“After a week or so I was feeling better and started to play tennis again,” she said. “It was preseason. Then, all of a sudden, we found out I needed surgery again.”
It turns out that doctors had discovered cancer cells during her initial surgery, and had to plan another procedure just weeks later.
“The next day I had a tennis match. I was still kind of in shock,” she added. “I went to the match and played. I ended up playing until the day before my next surgery. And that definitely helped me keep my mind off of it.”
It was all a new experience for Spergel. She had never had a surgery before. She never broke a bone. Barely had ever been sick.
“It was my first time in the hospital, and that’s what scared me the most,” she said. “I didn’t really process what it all meant. I was scared of the Anesthesia, and some of the other things on the surface, like the scar.”
When her second surgery ended, Spergel and her family received good news from the doctors that the procedure went well. Then, she found therapy in tennis.
“I got really close with my team,” she said. “They were there for the entire thing. Before and after, I saw them every day. And after the second surgery I still went to all the matches and watched, even though I couldn’t play.”
After just a few weeks of recover, she was even able to play in many of the team’s matches. She realized right away that her scar didn’t bother her anymore. Instead, she embraces it.
Now nearly 10 months after her diagnoses, Spergel is recovered and looking forward to all that’s ahead in her senior year. That includes finishing high school, applying to colleges and, of course, a lot of tennis. She was recently named a team co-captain for next season.
“I’m really excited about everything that’s coming up,” she said. “I’m back to normal. I feel great and I’m just happy.”
Read more about Spergel and her story in the upcoming issue of NetPLAY Magazine, which will hit mailboxes in September.