Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 5

PRIORITIZING YOURSELF Mental Health
the same fears with. In spite of my caring for her, I selfishly and in a cowardly manner, celebrated
my temporary reprieve.
Within a moment, I became strong and back to my old self that could deny the potential
for death coming for me sooner than it would for most people. I could laugh again and
talk again and for her, I could be the calm one. I could tell her that my scary moment of a
scan that was misread, led me to a very similar place. I told her not to try to understand or
figure this out, but that she simply had to wait. As I told her this, I knew that this was an
impossible request to make of anybody. Could you please wait until we get the information
on whether you're about to die or not? Until we do this test for you can you just go to work,
eat, love, watch TV, read, shower? Could you please?
I had been where she was. I had been her. I hoped that her news would be what mine
was. I hoped that somebody misread something or that something was not a big deal that
appeared to be a big deal.
You see, we walk on these bridges between our scans. They are swaying paths of time that
extend between tests and scans and blood draws and appointments and pills and injections
and results and consultations and trying to understand but to then forget so that we can go
back to living.... on our current bridge. We are always waiting for our next everything that
will tell us to return to the denial or fall into the fear waiting on either side of those bridges.
I don't know if everyone is as selfish as I am. Do they get afraid when they hear of one of
their own going down? Do they distance themselves from people who look too sick? Is that
just me? Am I so selfish that I still am afraid that if I'm around people who are falling down
to this cancer that is trying to claim me, I will become one of them and will also fall? Or
are others more noble? Do they understand that being kind and strong is what keeps our
community emotionally safe? I thought I understood that. Am I pretending?
To every cancer patient who has metastatic breast cancer whom I might have met who
looks sicker than I do and who scared me with their appearance, oh, I am sorry. To every
person I have ever spoken to who has asked me for support as they demonstrate more complicated
conditions to their cancer than I do and I feel relieved that it's not me, I am sorry.
I am sorry that I feel stronger and healthier when I sit in waiting rooms with you and I look
at you and celebrate that I am not you. I am so sorry. I am so sorry.
Who am I? Am I better than you? Luckier than you? No. I am not. I know it. But you are the
truth that I work so hard to avoid. When I laugh, when I watch a movie, when I read, when I
worry about smaller matters, you are the truth that I cannot focus on. I cannot focus on my
cancer. I cannot live with my attention on my cancer. I tried it. I found life truly unlivable.
My safety is to listen, to understand, to go into the medical world for answers and to then
close the door until my next event of evaluation. When I close that door, you, the visibly
sick, are left on the other side of that door. You are the truth of my potential future that I
cannot embrace, that I cannot attend to because fully embracing and living in that truth,
is its own finality. I choose to look away. And without any potential for change in myself
to be better, to be stronger, to be more noble, I apologize.
I must distance myself to save myself. It is selfish. It is unkind. I feel it. I know it. But I
cannot change it. You scare me. You are losing to the same beast that I hope to manage but
you remind me that I am in no way doing anything except hoping. You remind me that I
am not strong but like you, just a victim. You remind me that my life is in danger every day,
every hour and every second forever. You remind me of death. My death. My death which
is perhaps more imminent if I see you.
I'm sorry but I need to return to colors, to laughter, to music, to minutia.
I am so sorry for you. I will likely someday be you and I will know what it is to be feared.
I will know what it is to be literally the embodiment of a terrifying truth. I will know what
it is to show the dark future to others who choose to look away. I hope somebody better
than I am shows up for me and shows a compassion that I am frightened to search for at
this moment.
My bridge sways. I have to hold on. I cannot hold on and ask you to join me. It is too
dangerous to share my bridge. I cannot fall. I am sorry l
" You see, we walk
on these bridges
between our scans.
They are swaying
paths of time that
extend between
tests and scans
and blood draws
and appointments
and pills and
injections and
results and
consultations
and trying to
understand but to
then forget so that
we can go back to
living.... on our
current bridge.
We are always
waiting for our
next everything
that will tell us
to return to the
denial or fall into
the fear waiting
on either side of
those bridges. "
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
SEPTEMBER 2021
5
http://www.ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM

Elephants And Tea - September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - September 2021

Contents
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 1
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 3
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 4
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 5
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 6
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 7
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Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover3
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