Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 11

FIGHTERS

Dear Cancer...

Dear cancer,

Otherwise, it is simply annihilation. Obliteration of a somewhat calculated path to a preplanned destination. The latter was me. Is me.
What frustrates me the most is the fact
that I no longer work on my own timeline. I
answer to everyone else's:
1. To yours. Apparently, you've given me
until 40 to finish having kids. By the way,
I'm now almost 34. With no kids.
2. To the well-trained team of doctors still
managing my case. I must wait until I have
the "go ahead" to get pregnant. Which, as of
now, is looking like I must wait another year.
I almost believe It wouldn't be so heartbreaking had I not previously planned on having
four biological children!
3. To my support system and everyone
else I meet along the way. I'm supposed to
be normal and say normal things and not
get upset randomly or scared that I might
lose my life anytime I breathe differently.
Or worse, when I try to explain to my peers,
I am almost always replied with, "Well, I'm
stressed out too..."
I'm supposed to act like I didn't just have
all these life decisions figured out already.
YOU took my life direction and pointed me
this way. It's like, do I even have control of
my own life anymore?
The truth is, currently, I don't. But that
doesn't mean you get to have the last say.
I'm tired of rolling over and letting everyone
else's opinions dictate the way I live. The
[mostly] happy survivors had it right. They
refused to be bullied by you any longer. I
can only hope that with time, I learn how
to inherit their tenacity and take back the
reins, just to show you just how much you
don't matter to me anymore. To quote my
all-time favorite singer of all time, "you can't
take that away from me." And that is where
you stand in my life.
NEVER YOURS,

Although you may always be a part of my body
you are no longer allowed to be a part of my life.
I was diagnosed at a younger than usual age with
you. I was only 30 and was told I had lung cancer.
My first thought was that it couldn't possibly be
because I was a never smoker and the only people
that get that are old men was massive smoking
histories. Like my Grandfather!
After this shocking diagnosis, you almost
had me. I got very sick and my first treatment
failed me. I was promised a pill would be the
answer but no it failed. I quickly started chemotherapy and during my first inpatient treatment I hallucinated. It was not fun! But things
turned around and chemo did the trick for a
few months. At the time though I did not know
that we were supposed to get more time out of
this therapy, and you progressed. The horror!
I have a great team of doctors, nurses and clinicians behind me though. It was decided that
we would send a part of the tumor out for a broad-spectrum genomics testing and sure enough
there was a resistance found. Such great news! However, my options were limited at my local
hospital. But there was a wonderful treatment being tested at a hospital in Boston, so I hopped
on the first flight out and began the process to enter a clinical trial.
Things went well and I got some travelling in, a blessing among the ordinary. After 11 months
however you got sneaky and started growing again. My team decided we could try to cut you
out. It didn't work, and I'm sure I sobbed. But again, I have a great team behind me, and we were
on to the next treatment.
I would start a dual therapy of pills. One of those pills is specifically designed for thyroid
cancer, but targets the resistance mutation that you show, so my team thought this would be a
great idea to try. (Can we say guinea pig?!) But as luck would have it, it worked! For two years, I
was lucky enough to have my life albeit with some nasty side effects.
After the two years I stayed on one of those pills and thankfully dropped the one that gave
me those nasty side effects. Onward to bigger and better treatments, a new clinical trial closer to
home. We stayed in that clinical trial for another year but it gave me severe neuropathy. Bummer!
I now walk a little different and I can't always feel the things I touch. I am still grateful for the
treatment and the time that it gave me. We dropped the clinical trial drug and I am currently
fighting you with that same pill I started with over 3 years ago. I know that it will fail me eventually, but am hopeful to live longer than the next available treatment. Fingers crossed it's a pill!
As I stated in the beginning of this letter you are no longer welcome in my life. Yes, I am still
monitored every three months, but between those months I do not want to think about you or
talk about you. You are only a bad acquaintance who has burned a bridge with me.
I am living my best life. My husband and I are buying a house of our own soon and I will start
my first full time job since being diagnosed. It is not lost on me that I am lucky to be here, though.
You have robbed me of so many friends in this short 5 years since I was diagnosed. There is a
strong bond between us lung cancer survivors and these ladies and gents are some of the kindest
most rowdy group of people you will ever meet!
In closing, I want to make sure you know that you may be a part of my story, but you no longer
will be a part of my future. I thank you for the clarity that you have given me and I can only hope
to live each day as if I am living my best life. I try not to take people or experiences for granted
and Anthony Rizzo said it best "there is nothing good about cancer," but you sure have taught
me a lot about living life.

NANCY SONMYXAY

DI A N E SPRY

"There is a strong
bond between us lung
cancer survivors..."

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2019

11


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Elephants And Tea - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2019

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 3
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 4
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 5
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