Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 6

Calling Out Cancer TEEN CANCER AMERICA
On Cancer and
Self-Reflection
NEAL REDDY
W
hen I was first diagnosed
with Hodgkin's
lymphoma, one of the
more common messages
I received was that I
would gain a new perspective or a new sense of
meaning from having such a jarring experience.
While the idea I would become a better person
after having cancer made sense and was
somewhat inspiring, it also was another extra
source of pressure. I was already self-conscious
as a teenager approaching adulthood. The implicit
expectations of personal growth did the
opposite of consoling me.
Perhaps the whole idea of cancer being an experience in moral education was brought
on by the fact that survival rates for Hodgkin's lymphoma have risen to a remarkably high
level. There was a very good chance that I would have a future to even think about, so I almost
felt I had to start preparing for it and to capitalize on this pivotal stopgap in my life.
But these changes tend to happen on their own. And cancer is not really a stopgap- the
infusions, treatments, appointments and isolation make it quite busy and stressful actually.
I spent many hours thinking about myself and plunged deeper into an existential pool. In
my self-reflection, I discovered and dwelled upon areas where I had gone wrong, faults with
my own thinking, flaws in my way of life. My self-reflection made me become more aware of
the fact that I was a little too obsessed with school, a little too closed-minded and anxious in
my social life. I didn't really have the relationships with friends and acquaintances I needed.
There definitely was some truth in my thoughts, despite their harshness. However, that
was not the time for me to have this epiphany.
I didn't need to hear a psychoanalysis of myself, while getting chemotherapy and losing
mounds of hair every day. I didn't need the stress of finding some sort of new truth while
I swelled with nausea and discomfort each morning. In the end, it was not the right time
to investigate myself through such a philosophical and moral lens, even if I would've been
better for it.
The fact is, I did grow after having cancer. Nonetheless, I feel like I should've been more
patient with myself and grown on my own terms and on my own timeline. I did read some
thought-provoking books during my treatment, but I think Tolstoy could have waited a
year. What I needed was probably a little bit more Madden and a little more time with my
dog. What's done is done, however.
That is to say, the finitude of life will become apparent as a cancer patient even without
contemplating it consciously. There's no need to focus on this sort of heavy truth in the
moment, and our language regarding cancer should reflect that.
I had thought that I would be a different person because of having cancer. Now, I feel less
inclined to give cancer that credit. Like many young survivors, I've grown despite having
cancer.
6
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
SEPTEMBER 2021
Photo: Courtesy of Teen Cancer America
Teen Cancer America partners
with hospitals throughout
the United States to develop
specialized facilities and
services for teens and young
adults with cancer. They build
teen-friendly environments,
enhancing the hospital experience.
They develop standards
for age-targeted care, improve
collaboration between pediatric
and adult specialists and enable
dedicated research to improve
outcomes and survival for our
young people.
Roger Daltrey and Pete
Townshend of The Who are the
driving force behind Teen Cancer
America. After over a decade
working with Teenage Cancer
Trust in the UK, the duo decided
to bring their passion across
the pond in 2012 and make a
difference in the lives of teens
and young adults with cancer in
the United States.
teencanceramerica.org
http://www.teencanceramerica.org 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
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 8
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 9
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 10
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 11
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 12
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 13
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 14
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 15
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 16
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 17
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 18
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 19
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 20
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 21
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 22
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 23
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 24
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 25
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 26
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 27
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 28
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 29
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 30
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 31
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 32
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 33
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 34
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 35
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 36
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 37
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 38
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 39
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 40
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 41
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 42
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 43
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - 44
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - September 2021 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com