Fort Worth teen finds pride in 'graduation' from chemo therapy

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on July 5, 2012 at 6:21 PM

FORT WORTH - Chelsie Watts thought high school graduation would be her biggest moment. She was wrong.

"It's an awesome feeling to be done," she said.

The 17 year old is not talking about school. Her most important milestone has nothing to do with academics, but everything to do with survival.

Last August, what was thought to be appendicitis turned out to be cancer of the appendix. It's a disease so rare and deadly, only a few dozen children in the state are diagnosed annually.

What followed was a grueling senior year of surgery and cancer treatment.

"The chemo was hard," Watts said tearing up.

With the support of a team of friends, family and strangers, she persevered to celebrate another graduation at The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders in Fort Worth, her very last chemotherapy treatment.

"I feel it's more of an accomplishment than graduating high school," she said. "Today is like an indescribable feeling because I'm done. It's over, and I fought so hard for it."

"This morning, I just had to walk into her room and I was crying," said Jana Watts, Chelsea's mother. "And she said, 'Why are your crying?' And I said, 'It's happy tears.'"

"I never thought I would be able to handle anything like this," the young Watts said. "But it's made me more confident in myself knowing that I can handle a lot more than I thought."

For most seniors, graduation signals the beginning of their rest of their lives. For Watts, that is surely true today.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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