Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 12

Dear Cancer...

Hey Cancer,
I stayed up last night, thinking of you. Don't tell.
It'd be awkward if people knew.
I have a scan in a few months. And, as I
thought of you, I visualized my PET results.
All healthy and white with the lack of you.
It felt ... empty. I felt empty.
So, in the dead of night, where no one
could see me or judge me or even guess at the
thoughts in my head, I let myself imagine.
Spots of black, gleaming in my chest.
Waiting for me like an old friend.
You.
It's fucked up, I know. The perverse wish for
your return. I should be ashamed of myself.
Most of the time, I am.
Most of the time, I'm so terrified that you'll
come back that I can't sleep. I take my temperature to assure myself that my Pel-Ebstain
fever isn't back. I shove my fingers into my neck
and armpits to make sure my lymph nodes
aren't swollen. I freak out every time I wake
up sweaty, trying to figure out whether it's a
night sweat or if I just buried myself under
too many quilts. A recurrence is, literally, my
worst nightmare.
But sometimes. Sometimes, I think it'd be
nice if you did come back.
It's not that I want to die. I don't have some
masochistic desire to go through treatment
again. Hell, no.
It's that I don't know how to live anymore.
You swept into my life like a twisted angel of
death. A disaster. You destroyed my career, my
independence, my friendships, my aspirations.

12

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2019

FIGHTERS
Everything is destroyed, ripped to shreds. And
I'm alone. The sole survivor of your rampage.
I'm not unscathed; I am a ghost stuck in a
body. I don't quite fit within the curves and
angles of my body anymore. It's no longer
trustworthy. No longer a safe place to be.
People say that there's supposed to be a new
normal, after you. After disaster. They say that
I'm supposed to just get used to what you did
to me. Get on with my life.
Get over you.
How am I supposed to get over you when I
barely know how to pick up the pieces? How
am I supposed to move on when the threat of
your return is ever-present?
How. The fuck. Does this work?
I'm supposed to be grateful that I'm alive. I'm
supposed to be happy and wise because all this
life experience has happened to me so early.
Well, thanks for the life experience, cancer,
but I could have done without. I would have
grown and matured and gotten wise without
your stinky ass, thank you very much.
I wish people would understand.
All that 'life experience' and 'wisdom' came
at a terrible cost.
And putting a life back together again is so
much harder than watching it fall apart.
So, yeah. Some days I wish that you'd just
come on back. I wish that you'd come in and
blow everything down again. Because right
now, it's easier thinking about the doctor's
visit next week than it is thinking about my
five-year-plan. It's easier concentrating on
managing side effects than it is managing this
tidal wave of emotion. It's easier to let others
idealize me and infantilize me than it is to
make them understand the rage seething just
below my placid demeanor.
I am trying. Trying to breathe again. To be
less of a ghost. More ... solid. I am trying to
imagine a life where you're not pressed into
every little crevice of my life.
Eventually, it won't hurt so bad to look at
you. Maybe. Someday. I'll be able to look at the
wreckage of my early life and build something
from it. I hope it'll be beautiful, whatever it is-
something that could never have been formed
without the pain and tragedy that produced
the raw materials.
I like to think that's where things are going.
Beauty, born from heartache, where I don't
have to pretend. Your role in the shaping of
things will be loud and clear and on display,
but your power over it will be broken. I will
own that place. Not you.

"Eventually, it
won't hurt so
bad to look at
you. Maybe.
Someday.
I'll be able to
look at the
wreckage of
my early life
and build
something
from it."

But for now? For now, I'm going to concentrate on taking a step. A breath. I'm going inch
my way forward. Gather up the wreckage like
driftwood on the beach. Images of chemo, my
intimate acquaintance with pain, the taste of
saline. And I'm going to start building.
I don't know what I'll come up with yet.
But it's going to be beautiful.
It's going to be mine.
And it's going to be worth keeping around
for a very, very long time.
I plan to be here for it.
Peace out,
K M H A M MON D


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

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
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 6
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 7
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 8
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 9
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 10
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 11
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 12
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 13
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - 14
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Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - December 2019 - Cover4
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