Ah spring….longer days, flowers, running outside, pollen, warmth…and oh right, this one little teeny weeny memory that lingers every year. I suppose it is more than a memory–it is like the elephant in the room…and every now and then I remember it, notice it.
Twas the night….oh right, it was passover. One evening long ago, in the hills of Georgetown, there was a girl. She was happy, her life was good. Her back had been hurting for a week or so–but since she taught pre-school, she just assumed that she had picked up one too many four-year olds. But on this night, as family and friends remembered days even longer ago, there was this thing. The girl…she had more than just a back ache. On the base of her throat was this…lump. It appeared out of the blue but was the size of a ping pong ball. Fast forward to a few days later, this lump was not just an ordinary lump. It was a lymph node gone bad and the 23 year old girl would never be the same again.
In some ways, the lymph node gone bad made this girl a better person- more mature, more apt to put things in perspective, able to live each day appreciating instead of regretting. But in other ways, the girl, although having beat the node at it’s own game, was weighed down–carrying an elephant that would always be in the room.
Wow, I could make a fantastic fictional writer! For better or worse though, that girl was me at 23. Now, 12 years later, in an even happier place in my life- I acknowledge the elephant. Although it is always in the room with me, somehow in the spring, I feel it’s presence a little more than other times of the year. It does not make me pessimistic, or negative—it is part of me. I know!—Maybe the elephant should have a fun blog name! One day, I will tell Principessa all about it— how her birth was a kick to my elephant’s face and how being bald as she claims she would like to be, really is not all that exciting. Actually the more I think about it, Principessa is my shield against my elephant. She reminds me of all that is beautiful, and all the strength that it took to squash that node into the ground.
Some of you will say that I was brave, that I have accomplished so much. But really, this lymph node gone bad…aka- cancer, did get to me. It got to me in all the right places. Sometimes it still makes me a little crazy (I see some of you rolling your eyes thinking that I am just plain crazy all the time!!!)— sometimes even a little paranoid. Here is the thing though–whether it is cancer, or anything else–we each have our own elephant. Maybe we could make a zoo for these elephants…because in all honesty, although life would be easier without the weight of this mammoth animal, I appreciate it as a reality check–as a reminder of what is really important. And really, if stressing about the elephant makes me work out a little more or harder–and I lose a pound here or there—maybe it is not so bad after all
So—Say hello to your elephant….you could even give it a peanut or two! And then pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage–and make a toast—to the Elephant! May it always…stay in the background.