Ben Dashley writes the Distance First for the Daily News. His views and opinions don't necessarily agree with those of the newspaper or The Daily.


Maris
 Schiess, a good friend of mine, has always wanted to be in the newspaper.

It seems like it was every day that she would send me a text begging to get a story in the paper.

“I know I keep bugging you about the news, but I think I have an at least tweet-worthy news,” she sent one day after school let out in May.

I always told her I couldn’t put her in the paper because we’re friends. And she was always disappointed.

Well, now she’s in the paper, and unfortunately, it’s not for something she did. It’s for something that happened to her.

In August, right before everyone was heading back to class, she was diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer. Germ cell cancer begins in the reproductive cells of the body. According to cancer.gov, this form of cancer typically affects only one ovary.

During surgery to remove the tumor, Schiess lost both ovaries. She’ll never be able to give birth to her own children. At only 21, she’s starting menopause.

She also lost her hair. Most of my friends knew Schiess by her hair. It’s even part of her Tumblr description: “Maris. Like Paris with an M. 21. Indiana. Student. Advertising. Bangs. Vnecks. Cats. Photography. Art. DIY. Etc.”

Because of her chemotherapy, those iconic bangs — an aspect of her appearance by which she defined herself — are now gone.

She also has been unable to return to school for the semester. For Schiess, this is worse than anything. She is, like me, a person who thrives on stress and being “too busy.”

She said it best in an article published on USA Today College: “Having cancer sucks.”

But through all of this, she has learned something very important.

“Pay attention to your body.”

If you aren’t feeling well, go check it out. If something doesn’t seem right, go to the doctor. You need to know what is going on with your body. Be aware.

“As much as I try to look forward, I cannot help but wonder, ‘What did I miss? What if I had gone to the doctor earlier? What could I have done?’” Schiess asked in her USA Today College column.

Schiess has talked to me about how she started gaining weight, even though she was exercising and eating healthy. As it turns out, that weight was the tumor growing. There were a handful of warning signs, from unwarranted stress to getting sick more often than usual. Instead of asking about them, she figured her body was just acting up.

It’s a mistake we all make. I’m definitely guilty. I hate going to the doctor and even when I’m there, I hate talking about my problems. Some people just can’t afford to go to the doctor for every ill, so checking up on every problem isn’t feasible. For those who can, it is a hassle.

But it’s worth it. And while at Ball State, it’s easy. You already pay for the Amelia T. Wood Health Center. Use it. If you’re not feeling well, you shouldn’t be going to class anyway. Go to the Health Center and ask questions — even the uncomfortable ones. The lines may be long, especially during high-sickness times like the next few months. It sucks, I realize. But it is worth it.

Schiess was lucky; she says this every time we talk. The doctors were able to find her cancer early enough that it didn’t spread. But she is still undergoing chemo at 21 years old. She is still bald and she doesn’t like it.

I’m doing my best to cheer her up. I shaved my head with a friend the other day so she wouldn’t be alone. But nothing would cheer her up more than knowing that this may be prevented for someone else.

Cancer is real. And it can affect you directly. Get your check-ups and be aware of your body.

Having cancer is not lucky, but catching it early is. So please, improve your chances. Maris Schiess, a good friend of mine, has always wanted to be in the newspaper.

It seems like it was every day that she would send me a text begging to get a story in the paper.

“I know I keep bugging you about the news, but I think I have an at least tweet-worthy news,” she sent one day after school let out in May.

I always told her I couldn’t put her in the paper because we’re friends. And she was always disappointed.

Well, now she’s in the paper, and unfortunately, it’s not for something she did. It’s for something that happened to her.

In August, right before everyone was heading back to class, she was diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer. Germ cell cancer begins in the reproductive cells of the body. According to cancer.gov, this form of cancer typically affects only one ovary.

During surgery to remove the tumor, Schiess lost both ovaries. She’ll never be able to give birth to her own children. At only 21, she’s starting menopause.

She also lost her hair. Most of my friends knew Schiess by her hair. It’s even part of her Tumblr description: “Maris. Like Paris with an M. 21. Indiana. Student. Advertising. Bangs. Vnecks. Cats. Photography. Art. DIY. Etc.”

Because of her chemotherapy, those iconic bangs — an aspect of her appearance by which she defined herself — are now gone.

She also has been unable to return to school for the semester. For Schiess, this is worse than anything. She is, like me, a person who thrives on stress and being “too busy.”

She said it best in an article published on USA Today College: “Having cancer sucks.”

But through all of this, she has learned something very important.

“Pay attention to your body.”

If you aren’t feeling well, go check it out. If something doesn’t seem right, go to the doctor. You need to know what is going on with your body. Be aware.

“As much as I try to look forward, I cannot help but wonder, ‘What did I miss? What if I had gone to the doctor earlier? What could I have done?’” Schiess asked in her USA Today College column.

Schiess has talked to me about how she started gaining weight, even though she was exercising and eating healthy. As it turns out, that weight was the tumor growing. There were a handful of warning signs, from unwarranted stress to getting sick more often than usual. Instead of asking about them, she figured her body was just acting up.

It’s a mistake we all make. I’m definitely guilty. I hate going to the doctor and even when I’m there, I hate talking about my problems. Some people just can’t afford to go to the doctor for every ill, so checking up on every problem isn’t feasible. For those who can, it is a hassle.

But it’s worth it. And while at Ball State, it’s easy. You already pay for the Amelia T. Wood Health Center. Use it. If you’re not feeling well, you shouldn’t be going to class anyway. Go to the Health Center and ask questions — even the uncomfortable ones. The lines may be long, especially during high-sickness times like the next few months. It sucks, I realize. But it is worth it.

Schiess was lucky; she says this every time we talk. The doctors were able to find her cancer early enough that it didn’t spread. But she is still undergoing chemo at 21 years old. She is still bald and she doesn’t like it.

I’m doing my best to cheer her up. I shaved my head with a friend the other day so she wouldn’t be alone. But nothing would cheer her up more than knowing that this may be prevented for someone else.

Cancer is real. And it can affect you directly. Get your check-ups and be aware of your body.

Having cancer is not lucky, but catching it early is. So please, improve your chances.