Elephants And Tea - March 2020 - 15

Living with Cancer

NOT A PATIENT, NEVER A SURVIVOR

A NORMAL DAY
of chronic
FOR ME INCLUDES
cancer is t hat t he
WAKING UP AND, IF I'M
ta rgeted t herapy isn't a
FEELING ESPECIALLY ON
cure. There is no such thing as
TOP OF THINGS, an hour before
remission. Although there are cesI need to so I can get in a workout,
sation trials that prove some people can
shower, eat breakfast, do my hair and
discontinue the medication at some point,
makeup, get dressed, find the perfect pair
it's not a real option yet. This means that
of shoes and head to work. At work I talk to
every day, likely for the rest of my existence, I
a zillion people, make some decisions, send
have to make a conscious decision to take a medsome emails and have some meetings. Then
ication that actually makes me feel slightly sick. I
I go home, cross my fingers I cooked someam reminded every day when I take that pill that
thing over the weekend to eat all week so I
for whatever reason, my body is actively trying
don't have to get fast food...again. If it's a
to destroy itself, and without that pill I would
Thursday I might be headed to a dance
not be alive. So, I live in the in-between.
class or, if not, probably sneaking in
I live between my normal ever yday
some house work before it's time
life of trying to stay in shape and be a
for bed so I can get up and do it all
#girlboss, but also researching to see if
over again. I have a great job that I
there is any new long-term research on
don't hate, have lovely coworkers and
the effect of tyrosine kinase inhibitors on
am challenged 100% of the time. On paper,
the female reproductive system. I'm trying
BY BRO OK E BA R N E S
I am living the workaholic millennials
to focus on my career and plan a life when
dream. But I am living in the in-between and
in the very back of my mind I'm still actually
I suspect some of you might be living there too.
concerned that my disease will mutate and the
My cancer journey began three years ago
magic pills will stop working and then what?
when I had waited so long to get my symptoms
This is the in-between. In between life during canchecked out that my spleen was the size of
cer and life after cancer. In between wanting to move
a football and my white blood cell count
on and forget that this terrible thing ever happened to
was through the roof. They immediately
you, but still needing to process that it did. In between
assumed it was Leukemia and I was sent
planning for the future but dealing with the what-ifs,
from the ER in an ambulance to the
no matter how remote they may be, that there might not
hospital where I was diagnosed with
be a future to plan for. If this horrible unexpected thing
Chromic Myeloid Leukemia. I was one
happened to me once, who's to say it won't happen again?
of those people informed that it was
But this is the in-between so you can't linger on
the "good" kind. Two weeks in the
that thought for too long. After all you're out
hospital and I was sent on my merry
of the hospital and you look like you're back to
way with a magical targeted thernormal so you better start acting like it. Or at
apy that would keep my cancer in
least that's what I feel like people are thinking.
check. All I have to do is take a pill
The in-between is a tough spot to live. I
every day for the rest of my life and
wonder if after a while the lines dividing life
I get the gift of most likely havpre-cancer and post-cancer blur enough
ing a normal life expectancy. To
that it doesn't feel like a transition anysomeone who's never had cancer,
more. I definitely can feel a shift, looking
this truly does sound magical. But
more towards the future than I did even a
I'm thinking those of you who need
year ago. I guess if it doesn't feel like life
maintenance treatments or immubefore or after anything, it just becomes
notherapy or any kind of indefinitely
life, and that's the feeling I'm lookongoing or long-term treatments may
i ng for wa rd
understand, the mental struggle is real.
to hav ing
You see the kicker of having my kind
a ga i n.l

The

In-Between

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
MARCH 2020

15


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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
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