Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 17

HATEFUL AND THANKFUL

Dear Cancer,
Today I told a coworker I don't cry when I'm
sad, only when I'm angry. And as I write this,
I'm crying so many angry tears at you. I hate you
with all of my being. You ruined the life I had,
all my dreams, aspirations, friends and so much
more. You took my life, turned it upside down,
and gave it a good shake ensuring nothing would
ever remain the same. And I hate you for it.
Today, I learned of another young soul
you stole from this world. She was just a few
weeks shy of her 21st birthday. I didn't know
her, but I do know the pain her friends feel.
I've felt that same pain so many more times
than I ever should have in my 25 years on
this earth. Her obituary shows a beautiful
woman, with lovely dark hair, and bright,
sparkling eyes. I hate that you took her. I
hate that you took Sam, Vanessa, Alli, Ravi,
Sami, Tyler, Dolly and Larry. I hate how you
make me feel, every time I read a story about
another person's life forever altered as your
cruel fingers touched their lives. I hate you
for changing my life, and the lives of Brooke,
Steve, Jeremy, Cristina, Alli, Liz, Corrie,
Donna and all of our families.
But the teeniest, tiniest, most buried part of
me, is grateful to you. Against every rational
fiber of my being, I want to say thank you. And
I cry again. This time tears of- what? They embody love, and gratitude, and happiness, and
they overwhelm my soul.
So dear cancer, thank you.
Thank you for Ceci- my beautiful nurse who
has lost both parents to you and stands by her
husband's side as he continues to fight. She was
my rock, my pillar of strength, comfort and
reason. I don't believe I would have ever beat
you twice without dear Ceci holding my hand.
Thank you for Annette- the darn best phlebotomist oncology has ever seen. There is no
one else in the world I would so readily trust
my worn and weary veins to.

Thank you for Rhonda- who always has a
giant headband and glitter spray in her hair.
Her infectious smile dissipates the gloom you
bring. I am forever grateful for how upset she
gets whenever she had to give me multiple
vaccinations.
Thank you for Mary- who always checks
if the patient has peed the necessary amount
with the chemo and announces it to the hall.
Thank you for Marcella, who even pregnant
with twins would never cut any corners in taking care of her patients.
Thank you for Alli and Kathy, who walked
down the hall in a ridiculous outfit to make
the halls ring with laughter.
Thanks for Mary Jane, who scheduled all the
appointments, and put the fear of God into any
other department schedulers who tried to drag
their feet. She was a mama bear that protected
her oncology young and fought for the best
schedule for them.
Thank you for John, who has the most empathetic heart. We've heard his voice break, as he
feels so deeply for the children under his charge.
Thank you for Connie, who is the embodiment of a mother hen. How she sat on the
chemo bed next to me, speaking encouragement into my college dreams. I can still hear
her laughter pealing through my room as she
always spreads cheer wherever she goes.
Thank you for Sanjay, who always has an
attitude of believing I can accomplish anything, and not at all being surprised when I
surprise myself.
Thank you for Duncan, who was alert to the
needs of a beaten and broken teenage girl, and
gave her the goal list she needed to recover from
transplant and leave the hospital.
Thank you for Ken, who read a Bible verse
each morning and spoke hope into the broken
soul of his patient.
Thank you for Amelia, who has so readily
dropped all other items to listen to a hurting
AYA...you can see the weariness from the long

➥ J E N N I F E R A NA N D WA S DI AGNOSE D W I T H HOD GK I N ' S
LY M PHOM A I N JA N UA RY 2 012 , FOL L OW E D BY C H E MOT H E R A PY
A N D R A DI AT ION T R E AT M E N T S FOR E IGH T MON T H S .
J E N N I F E R IS NOW A SU RV I VOR A N D J US T C E L E BR AT E D H E R
F I V E Y E A R A N N I V E R SA RY T H IS Y E A R A S C A NC E R F R E E .
E V E RY W E E K ON L I N E A N D I N OU R QUA RT E R LY M AG A Z I N E
J E N N I F E R A NA N D W I L L BE PROV I DI NG H E R R E A L S TORY A N D
E X PE R I E NC E S TO H E L P I NSPI R E PAT I E N T S A N D SU RV I VOR S .
W E C A L L T H IS J E N ' S C OR N E R .

Jen's Corner

day in the way she carries her giant bag, but
that has never stopped her from sitting and
listening intently, focusing every bit of attention
on listening to an anxious YA patient pouring
out their heart.
Thank you for Whitney, who works tirelessly
to support AYA in all the ways she can...on a
long day, there's no one better than her to just
sit with and talk about random things like any
other young adult.
Thank you for Jen, who sees your FB post
and texts you that she is there for anything you
need. And follows up those texts again to make
sure you are ok.
Thank you for Lisa, who will sit with you
like she has nowhere else to be (spoiler, she
has 1000x places to be), to listen to your heart
unburden. And will drag all therapy pets into
your room to comfort you.
Thank you for Chuck and Char, who invested time and money in this gorgeous space
that brings us emotional happiness through
our physical pains. I can't imagine the depth
of their own pain, but they have chosen to
spread their kindness through hundreds of
AYA patients instead.
Thank you for Lisa, who walked into my
room having read my file cover to cover. And
called me one random afternoon, because she
was reviewing my file and had thought of additional ways to help my life. She always speaks
with kindness, empathy and grace.
Thank you for so many, many more people
that I don't have the energy to list right now.
Dear Cancer, I know so many people have
some very choice words for you. But tonight,
sitting in my hotel hundreds of miles from everyone I know and love, I say thank you. Thank
you for introducing me to this incredible team
of people. Thank you for helping me get my
life priorities aligned. Thank you for showing
me how strong the bonds of sibling love can
be. Thank you for helping deepen my faith.
Thank you for the strangers you've allowed
into my life.
Don't get a big head, but without you my
life would be so different. I wouldn't have
the muscle aches and joint pains and eternal
fatigue and chemo brain and stomach issues
and so many other long-term side affects you
so happily bestow. I also wouldn't have friends
like Liz, Brooke, Cristina, Whitney, or Steve.
I wouldn't be writing this. Please, leave this
world for good, very soon, and without taking
any more of the people I love. But for this one
moment dear cancer, thank you.
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2019

17


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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
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Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover3
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover4
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