The Ranch Review

Anwar Hsu

Photo+of+Hsu+taken+by+Geoffrey+Dabu
Photo of Hsu taken by Geoffrey Dabu

Photo of Hsu taken by Geoffrey Dabu

Photo of Hsu taken by Geoffrey Dabu

Tyler Vu, Sports Editor

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Anwar Hsu was a normal student athlete here at the Ranch. Just like any other high school student, Hsu loved to play video games, play sports, as well as hanging out with his friends. During the summer break before his Sophomore Year, Hsu was devastated to find out that he had cancer.  

The diagnosis was Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer that affects the body’s lymph system leading to a weak immunity system. The causes of NHL are still unknown, however one common link to this disease includes mutations in genes that inhibits regulation of cell growth or known as oncogenes. When these mutations alter these genes, accumulation of unneeded cell growth can ultimately lead to body systems to not function properly such as the immune system. This turned out to be the case for Hsu. His physical appearance began to change, as he appeared to feel more weak, tired, and multiple lumps on his chest and neck as a result of the swollen lymph nodes from the Lymphoma. Just a week ago, Hsu was doing his everyday normal activities, going to school then track practice, doing homework, and hanging out with his family and friends. Hsu also traveled a lot with his family to various places as well. However, Hsu faced the risk of not doing any of this again after transitioning to a frightful moment of his life. 

“Imagine the worst pain you ever felt and multiply it by 100,” said Hsu. “I would constantly get sick due to the disease making me more vulnerable to them. Physically and mentally, I felt at my lowest during this period.” 

His mother, Catherine Hsu, was in as much mental pain as Anwar. Hearing that her very own son had cancer was very heartbreaking. As any concerned mother would be, Catherine wanted to be there for Anwar and support him throughout this dreadful journey. At times feeling helpless, Catherine hoped and prayed that her son can come out on top in the fight against NHL. 

“It was one of the worst news I ever heard in my life,” said Catherine. “Hearing the news brought flashbacks to when I gave birth to Anwar and knowing that he might not be in my life definitely put me through an emotional toll.” 

Hearing about the news, Hsu and his family decided to take immediate action. Hsu would undergo chemotherapy for several months to treat the cancer. Although at times it could be scary, Hsu had trust in the process, as well as the trained medical officials at the hospital. Hsu would have to go through chemotherapy multiple times during these months and would take various drugs to counter the effects of NHL in the process. The process would last from summer break all the way to the end of Spring Break. 

“It was the roughest months for me, but at least I didn’t have to go to school,” said Hsu. “However, I was still required to take online classes since I couldn’t be at school which wasn’t too bad.” 

Catherine was heavy-hearted to see her son look gloomy from all the chemotherapy, however, she knew it was the best option to cure Anwar’s NHL. Catherine, as well some of the family, would sometimes take days off their jobs to make sure Anwar was doing okay. According to Catherine, missing time at work might’ve not been the best idea due to the humongous fortune all the treatment cost, but that was not a major concern for Catherine and the Hsu’s. The family was just praying that the chemotherapy would be enough to spare Anwar’s life.  

“The cost of the treatment definitely damaged our pockets,” said Catherine. “However, desperate times call for desperate measures. We just wanted Anwar to be healed and get the necessary treatment to get him back to normal.” 

As worried as Anwar’s family was, so were his friends. Otay Ranch senior, Edmond Rivera and Hsu’s other friends were not directly told by Anwar about his conditions. It was not until word spread among the school, did they hear about the news. Although they couldn’t interact with Hsu during his treatment, they all had Hsu in their hearts, hoping for a speedy recovery. 

“It took a devastating turn to our friendship with Anwar,” said Rivera. “Everyone were close to Hsu in our group, and seeing him go through all that pain was pretty rough to hear.” 

After several months of treatment, Hsu had undergone successful chemotherapy and was now back to a healthy state. Catherine’s prayers had been answered. It was a bumpy journey for the entire family, but it was finally over and Anwar looked better than ever. All Catherine could do was thank all the hard-working medical professions that contributed to Anwar’s treatment and their dedication towards him as well.  

“Words cannot describe the feeling to see Anwar healthy and happy,” said Catherine. “Throughout the journey I always remained optimistic about Anwar’s treatment and I’m glad I did. Even though I had to work extra days for the bills, I was glad to see Anwar back to his normal self.” 

Hsu’s friends were thrilled to see him after a long absence, according to Rivera. The group hovered around Hsu, catching up with him and asking Hsu about the treatment process. Worried throughout the whole time, all of Hsu’s friends were grateful to see Anwar cured and that the disease didn’t affect his personality.  

“I don’t think the group had been so happy to see one person ever,” said Rivera. “You never know when you might lose one of your closest friends, so be grateful for the time you have with them at the moment.” 

Hsu could now go back to going to school, doing his athletic training, and most importantly spending valuable time with the ones he loves. Anwar abides to with what Rivera statement. Having NHL was one of the toughest obstacles the 17-year old had ever faced so far. One day, someone might be fine but then the next day he or she learns that they have cancer. Throughout the process, Hsu always kept his head up, trusting the trained medical officials and not letting the NHL change his mentality too much. From this point on, Hsu is going to value the time he has with his friends and family. 

“I’m blessed to given another chance to live,” said Hsu. “Going through this journey taught me to appreciate everything life has to offer because things can begin going downhill instantly and you might never ever get to lay a step on this world ever again. So don’t let the little things bother you and appreciate the time you have on this world.” 

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