Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 35

B-PRESENT.ORG
in the hospital, and the staff quickly realized
how important it was to facilitate these connections. With each new friend she found, I
learned that Kirsten was not the only young
adult feeling isolated and alone. These visits
with others going through similar experiences
helped her stay sane and cope.
I quickly learned how important it was to
resist stepping in as the parent, following her
lead and giving her space, letting her be the
adult and trusting she would ask if she needed help. Whenever outside friends came to
see her, we left to give her the privacy to visit
and be herself. We were always available and
accessible by phone if there was an emergency but otherwise would wait for Kirsten's
all-clear text.
Kirsten was eventually transferred to San
Diego to be near home and receive her last
round of chemo. As Kirsten's recovery times
dragged on, she was desperate to get out of
the hospital and would beg the doctors to
release her. Recognizing that her emotional
state was negatively impacting her recovery
time, they relented and gave Kirsten the
chance to go home. She was as happy as I had
ever seen her. It gave us a chance to step away
from our patient and caregiver roles and be
together again as a family. Being at home for
the holidays completely re-energized not just
Kirsten, but all of us before her last round
of chemo. My favorite moment was when
we celebrated New Year's Eve together. For
the first time in months, we went out on the
town, played games and Kirsten was back to
making us laugh until we cried. At midnight
we all stepped out on the hotel balcony, and
Kirsten belted out the loudest, most joyful
scream I had ever heard. That scream signaled
that hope had returned, and she was ready to
finish treatment. Little did we realize what
2016 was about to bring...
Kirsten's story ended differently than any
of us expected. Three weeks after finishing
treatment and ringing the bell, she was readmitted to the hospital for unexplained pain.
Her body had been weakened by the drugs
and was unable to fight. As I laid with her in
the ICU on Valentine's night, I held her hand,
praying for a miracle. I started her relaxation
playlist, hoping she would hear her song and
return to that faraway and hopeful place.
Her friends raced to be by her side, unable to
make it before she was gone. During Kirsten's
celebration of life ceremony at the beach, we
played her song for her one last time. Her sto-

ry and that song are reminders to be present,
connect, and love like there is no tomorrow.
So I'm gonna love you
Like I'm gonna lose you
I'm gonna hold you
Like I'm saying goodbye
Wherever we're standing
I won't take you for granted
Cause we'll never know when
When we'll run out of time.
K irsten's ex perience prompted us to
ref lect on how we could have been better

Caregivers

supporters, more mindful of her situation,
and given her a better quality of life over
those seven months. Rather than hope things
would be different for other young adults, we
decided to take Kirsten's vision for change
and make it a reality. In 2017 Kirsten's
three best friends and supporters joined
me in establishing the b-present Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving the
experience of young adults with cancer by
amplifying the importance of presence and
providing the tools and information that
empower supporters to b-present for their
friends. Because no young adult with cancer
should have to face it alone. l

ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

35


http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants And Tea - December 2020

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

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 3
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 4
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 5
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 6
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 7
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 8
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 9
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 10
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 11
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 12
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 13
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 14
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 15
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 16
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 17
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 18
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 19
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 20
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 21
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 22
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 23
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 24
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 25
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 26
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 27
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 28
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 29
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 30
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 31
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 32
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 33
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 34
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 35
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 36
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 37
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 38
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 39
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 40
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 41
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 42
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 43
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 44
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 45
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 46
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 47
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 48
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 49
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 50
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 51
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 52
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com