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My Body

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaFebruary 2, 2020View more posts from Jennifer Anand

I stand, looking at you in the mirror. The reflection glaring back is weary with pain and age, unfit for a 25 year old.

My back neck is smooth, still devoid of the hair that radiation took from me. My hair finally comes past my shoulders, but it’s taken seven years to do so.

My arms are striped worse than bacon, with the intense stretch marks that steroids gave me when I blew up. My stomach bears the same white stripes, worse than my 48-yr old mother, who had seven children stretch out hers.

My stomach is worn and hangs limply; radiation burns inside and out have tormented my skin. Multiple insulin injections, sensors, and insulin pump sites have not been kind to it.

My chest is speckled with a few black dots, that look like pen point marks. They are the permanent reminders of the radiation.

In the center of my chest is a visible and still indented incision, that housed not one, but two Mediports. A low-cut dress exposes my secret to the world. To the right of that scar is a circular one, that housed my tri-fusion. Against my plain brown skin, they stand out as angry red and white marks that I will forever carry with me.

There are so many other small white lines across my body, representing many other scars. Central lines, chest tubes, biopsy incisions. My body is a patchwork of pain. And that’s only on the outside.

I know only a little bit about the damage on the inside, that continues through diabetes, hormonal imbalances, ovarian failure, fatigue, chronic pain, and so much more.

I get so angry at you. I get angry when I can’t keep up with my friends and colleagues, even those much older than me. I get angry when I struggle to move through my daily life. I get angry when you can’t support me in all my mind wishes to do.

But today I look at you and say thank you. Thank you for rallying to fight with me, to beat the cancer that tried to overtake me. Thank you for somehow summoning the strength to keep getting out of bed every day. Thank you for trying to stave off the colds and flu this season. Thank you for letting me taste my dad’s delicious cooking, smell the beautiful bouqets of flowers, see the sparkling snow, and feel the cool breezes along with the hot flashes.

Dear body, you’re beat down and worn out. But you are mine. And together we struggle together to live another day.

All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at

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