Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 9

FIGHTERS

Dear Cancer...

Dear Cancer,
Ever since I was a small child and had to be
brought back to life following a severe asthma
attack, I have known that I possess the instincts
of a fighter. With that said, I never imagined that,
at the age of 32, I would dealing with you.
You see, I worked for many years in a cancer
research lab and knew more than the average
person about Oncology. I knew to eat a healthy
diet, exercise regularly and to promptly go to
the doctor when things didn't seem quite right.
I also had Crohn's Disease, so I was acutely
aware of my bowel habits, certainly more than
someone my age should. You were the last thing
on my mind. I put off my annual colonoscopy
by a few more months than usual because I
selfishly wanted to go on a trip. It was on this
trip, that you first made yourself known to me.
Now, I did not know it was you; I just knew
something was not as it should be. When I
returned from the trip, I called and scheduled
my colonoscopy for as soon as possible. My
bowels habits were changing, I had lost weight
and there was blood in my stool. It also felt like
food was stuck in me somewhere in my colon,
things were just not moving right.
My doctor thought it was just severe constipation or maybe a minor bowel blockage.
Little did I know it was you! For all I knew you
had been growing inside me for some time,
but finally showed your true colors when I
was out of town and the symptoms were too
severe to ignore.

"I resolved, like a
fighter, that you were
not going to knock me
down and out."
I tried to ignore you until my procedure
was scheduled, but you would not allow that,
causing stress and worry. When procedure
day came, I remember waking up after my
procedure and my doctor telling me that
there was something growing inside my colon.
However, she clearly stated she did not think
it was you but would have the pathology back
in a few days.
Because she used your name, I was beyond
scared and could not concentrate, until I got

that dreaded call. My doctor asked me to come
to her office to review the pathology results,
and she never had done this before. It was at
that moment that I knew you had decided to
turn my life upside down. I was given the news
about you in a dark isolated room, all by myself. At that instant, my life flashed before my
eyes and memories popped in my head and it
was then that I knew my life would never be
the same.
I was all too familiar with you since I had
worked in research for seven years. I had tunnel
vision and realized that I needed to get opinions and tests to figure out how I was going to
beat you. You see, there was no thought that
you would or could kill me, only how I was
going to get you out of my body so I could move
on with life. I was single and just recently had
the realization that it was time to find a good
person and settle down. But, just then, at the
most inopportune time, you came along. The
next few days are a blur. I just know that luckily,
I lived in Houston and amazing doctors were
in my own backyard, and I had a lot of friends
and support all around me at some of the best
cancer institutions in the world.
I resolved, like a fighter, that you were not
going to knock me down and out. No, you were
just going to be a bump in the road. That road
proved to not be as easy as I imagined, but I
knew that one day I was going to be rid of you,
and I was going to be proud to be a survivor.
You were not going to take me; I had too much

life to live. I had aspirations, goals and dreams
I still planned to accomplish. There were days
I cried, days I laughed and days you caused me
to be so exhausted that I did not want to roll
out of bed. Through the good and the bad days
I survived and thrived, some would say. I knew
I needed help so I reached out to anyone my
age who would listen or understand.
I got involved at my cancer hospital, MD
Anderson, to get help. In turn, when I could,
I decided to help others. What gave me the
strength I didn't know that I needed was helping others dealing with you. Doing so only
made me stronger and gave me a voice I had
no idea I possessed. I turned into an advocate
because of you, and have had the privilege to
tell others that I beat you.
I turned my extreme emotions into my newfound passion. I did not let you define me as
a person. You tried your best, but you did not
succeed. I turned a negative into a positive,
and you helped me realize my real career goal
was to assist others to know about preventing
you. The journey I went on with you gave me a
voice. As crazy as it sounds I used to be angry,
but I want to thank you for making me the
person I am today.
You tried your best. You tried every punch in
had your arsenal. However, instead of knocking me down, you gave me a platform, which I
will diligently use until the day I die.
A L L IS ON ROSE N

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2019

9


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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
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 6
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 7
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 8
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 9
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Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - 11
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Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover3
Elephants and Tea - December 2019 - Cover4
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