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

Reality of Love

by Jennifer AnandSurvivor, Hodgkin’s LymphomaNovember 23, 2020View more posts from Jennifer Anand

I’m a woman of faith. And my faith has gotten me through both cancers, and a myriad of other diagnoses. And in 8+ yrs since my original diagnoses, I have never once asked God to rewrite my life without cancer. I accepted that He allowed it into my life, and trusted that He had a plan. But today my faith is struggling (this isn’t a religious article, so keep reading).

So much changed on July 30th, a bit into dating one of the most incredible men I’ve ever met. My plan to keep things light and casual came to a crashing halt the night before, as he became very serious and intentional about pursuing a long-term relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I was hoping he wanted that, but I knew that meant I had to have “the talk”. We’d met months before, and he knew I had cancer in the past, and that I wasn’t the most stable on my feet, and a few basic other things about my health. But now- he wanted to be with me and I needed to tell him what that meant.

I told him to take a few days and not talk to me, so he wouldn’t make an emotionally charged decision. I sent him the links to E&T (Elephants and Tea), my blog, and a few articles. I gave him a copy of the first ever E&T magazine, my face on the cover, and told him to read about my life and what dating me would mean for us.

July 30th I woke up for the first time since dating him without his signature “Good morning beautiful” text. And my heart hurt in a way it never had before. I had a client site visit, and the notable absence of communication from him made me physically sick. When I got home, I didn’t have the strength to do anything except lie on the floor in my room. I called my mom and just listened to her talk. I spoke with my youngest sister, who knew we were dating, and cried on the floor to her. My heart literally felt shattered. For the first time, I wanted to rewrite my life without cancer, and I actively questioned God. I didn’t want to have had the previous night’s conversation with him.

I wanted to be a normal girl, and have a normal relationships, and deal with normal issues. Not actively try to push the best thing that’s ever happened to me away.

At 9:45 that night, he called me. And I silently cried as he said he couldn’t wait any longer, he didn’t care about my health, he wanted to be with me and that he’d even sell his precious truck for me. My heart soared.  But as the initial honeymoon phase of dating has now turned into weeks, and as we have removed our rose tinted glasses, some things haven’t changed.

I tell no one about my bad days. The days I wake up in so much pain I can’t move. He’s made me so happy that often I forget the pain and fatigue. But he’s not enough to block it out, and I feel isolated and alone. He went to Florida, so I can’t see him for two weeks, which isn’t helping anything. But I know it’s only fair to be open and honest with him, so I tell him when “it’s a hurting day”.  He calmly talks, and asks how he can support me. But today it came up again. He’s doing his research and trying to “fix” me. What about a lung transplant so you can breath better? Have you tried marijuana for the pain? I’m staying away from you so you don’t get sick. T

his isn’t a temporary issue. This is the rest of our lives. Today he made a weary statement about how he was understanding more about my life.

I find myself with tears streaming down my face again. I wish I could rewrite my life without cancer. Today it doesn’t feel like an opportunity. I’m not grateful for the people it brought into my life. I detest the lessons it has taught me. I want to deal with normal relationship problems like whose house we will  spend the holidays at.

I told him I will never blame him if he leaves, and I won’t. I’m a LOT to handle. He read my text saying so, but hasn’t responded. I know he’s processing, but it still hurts that this is something he has to process. I didn’t choose this life, but he has to make a choice to share it with me. And he’s going to have to remember that choice every long and hard day. My grandpa texted me this morning, and I shared our struggle with him, because I felt like there was no one else I could talk to. He said “Unfortunately the clouds come in various forms, sizes and densities for all of us- even after 42.5 years of marriage.”

He’s not wrong, but I’m ready for the clouds to give me a break.

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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