The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

It Never Ends

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaDecember 7, 2021View more posts from Jennifer Anand

Life recently has been non-cancer focused, for once! I recently took a new position in my company, finally moved away from the hospital and city I was sick in and am generally doing healthy young adult things. 

Record scratching screeching stop. 

The day I left to drive my things out to Boston, I began my morning with an appointment at my oncology survivor clinic. It seemed a very fitting way to leave Cleveland. I was exhilarated to show my fabulous oncology team that I was finally healthy enough to consider leaving my local support system and making a move cancer muggles wouldn’t have to medically think about. The cherry on the cake was seeing the oncologist who released me from transplant as I waited for the elevator. My survivor oncologist, as always, had done copious amounts of homework prior to my visit, and mentioned that I was overdue for an echocardiogram. I was back in town for a few personal events and managed to squeeze in the echo during that visit. 

Today the online health system sent me a few updates, and I remembered I never actually saw the results of the echo, so I emailed my doctor. Sitting in my new office, in my new city, I answered her phone call. And there’s something. Nothing big or bad enough to be concerning, but enough to warrant an oncocardiac appointment. And suddenly, my grown-up adult bubble of sitting in a legit office with windows and a desk is popped and all the excitement of new beginnings is sapped out of me. 

I immediately go into my cancer-crisis mode. Thinking about transferring care locally, the appointments I’ll need to make, what could this possibly mean long-term. Planning for the very worst. I’m going home for Thanksgiving. My plans this morning included fitting in as much cooking, sibling, and friend time as I possibly could. But this afternoon includes scheduling appointments, time for pharmacy med pick-ups, and considering the follow-up implications of this. 

And the cheerful, almost carefree woman who entered the building this morning is no more. Suddenly my head is pounding. My heart hurts. I wonder how much this seemingly insignificant echo result could affect my contributions to the people staring back at me from my computer screen. Will I still be with them after Christmas? 

Am I being morbid? Realistic? Using my past experiences to shape my future expectations?  

Regardless, it was an unwelcome reminder that no matter how far out or how much I think I can leave cancer behind, it will always find a way to worm itself back into my life.

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