Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 10

Calling Out Cancer

TEEN CANCER AMERICA

Cancer is Never
Really Over

I

BY A L E C K U PE L I A N, SU RV I VOR

remember how good throwing up after running one sprint at my first ultimate frisbee practice after treatment felt. After eleven months of in-patient
chemotherapy, I had really honed my vomit craft and my cardio was lacking at best. So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when one, seventy
yard sprint left me doubled over with my head in a trash can as student
employees wondered loudly if I was hungover.
I remember the look of astonishment my new, and completely random,
roommates gave me when they realized I had already turned 21 by the time
I started my second year of college. "Will he buy us alcohol?" I can see my
roommates thinking as they tried to figure out my vibe. No. No I won't.
I remember laying in bed unable to even unlock my phone to scroll through
idle pictures of people smiling with their friends on the beach in front of a
Santa Barbara sunset or open my computer to watch another season of The
Bachelor. I would just stare up at the ceiling and wonder why I'm being so
useless all the time.
And I have to give my friends a lot of credit here because they did everything
right. They texted me often, made plans to come visit and followed through.
They didn't make cancer a big deal, but listened and asked questions whenever
I talked. They invited me to all their events and were excited when I could
come visit on my year off from school without letting my circumstances consume their lives in any way. Unfortunately, my friends did everything right.
For me, cancer was one of the best years of my life. I say that and people
freak out at me all the time, but it's true. I laid in a hospital bed most of the
time. I could barely eat. My medication made it so I could barely string a

10

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2020

sentence together. I developed a narcotics
addiction. I was constantly in pain. But you
have to understand, my life was simple. I
didn't have to think and worry about the
complicated issues and everyone reached
out to me. I have never felt more loved than
I did while I was sick.
I have never felt more isolated than when
I tried to go back to college the next year. I
was diagnosed when I was 19 years old and
never got to finish my freshman year of college. So coming back meant I wasn't quite
in intro classes anymore where people are
trying to meet each other, but all the friends
that I did have were also a year ahead of me
in school. They had a year of new friends
and inside jokes and memories that I wasn't
there for. They tried to explain all the inside
jokes-but no inside joke has ever, ever, been
funny out of context. (And this is the part
where you will be trying to justify in your
own head why an inside joke that you and
your friends have is so funny but keep it in
your head where it's still funny) It seems silly
because I would just tell myself to go make
new memories and that it doesn't matter if I
wasn't there because I'm here now. However,
I couldn't help but feel like an outcast in my
own circle. Even my ultimate frisbee team got
to go to college nationals the year I was gone!
So when I say cancer was one of the best
years of my life, you have to put it in context
because it will always sit next to one of the
worst years of my life. I started binge drinking. I was depressed. I cut myself off from the
people around me and put a happy mask on


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants And Tea - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - March 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 3
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 4
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 5
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 6
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 7
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 8
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 9
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 10
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 11
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 12
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 13
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 14
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 15
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 16
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 17
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 18
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 19
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 20
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 21
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 22
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 23
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 24
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 25
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 26
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 27
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 28
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 29
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 30
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 31
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 32
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com