Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 13

The Time
Bubble
BY JOANNA BARKER

I

t's crazy being in the time bubble. While it happens to the patients, it also happens to the families. It is wild
to see it happen, and almost everyone goes through it.
I've recently heard of the term "time bubble" and I couldn't think of a more accurate description for
my experience as a young adult cancer patient. I was 24 when I was diagnosed with cancer. I had just started my first year as a teacher, fresh out of college. My friends were starting to get married and move forward
with their lives. I thought I would be one of them. I thought I'd be starting a normal career, moving out of
my parents' home and finding the right guy to settle down with. Life was going to be ordinary, perfect and
everything I always thought I wanted.
Enter the "time bubble." Instead of being stressed out by my new job, I was stressed out by my new diagnosis.
Instead of dating, I had a once-a-month, one-night stand with Rituxan. My friends were supportive and sweet, but
I was forced to watch them move forward and I felt stuck in an infinite time freeze that I never thought I'd be in.
I thought maybe I could do it all. I went on working and only took off two days a month for chemo. The
guy I had gone on a few dates with told me he didn't want to continue dating a girl with cancer, so we parted
ways. I felt like my life had been put on pause and there was nothing I could do about it. I had been frozen in
time and when I finally escaped my chemo fog I was bald, two years older, and wondering how the heck I got
to the year 2016.
I'm 30 years old now and it's been five years since my last chemo treatment. Although I have lived a lot of
life in between with writing a book, moving to San Diego and starting a new life in a whole new world; I still
feel the effects of the "time bubble." I look in the mirror and I will admit (not to brag) I still look like I'm in
my early 20s. Maybe it was that chemo cocktail that did it, but I'm not complaining! I still feel like I'm that
24-year-old girl, excited for the next chapter of life and ready for anything. It's weird to say that cancer kept
me young, but in a way it did.
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2020

13


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
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Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 1
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