Let’s drag the big fellow out into the open.
It has been 15 years since my treatment for tonsil cancer ended and I am still sitting in the room with this big geeky elephant. He sits there as I drink my morning coffee and catch up on the news of the day. He doesn’t say much, in fact he is usually eerily quiet. But every once in awhile, when I least expect it, he stirs, the room shakes, and I can hear his trumpet blast through the constant ringing in my ears. He rumbles towards me, totally uninvited, and plops down right on my chest. His weight paralyzes me and my breath catches and I wonder if I am going to make it through the next 60 seconds without suffocating. How do I get him off of me? I can’t think of anything else for hours, except why does this big pachyderm persist on torturing me? Why is he set on crushing me? I don’t want him around. I certainly don’t feed him. I constantly yell at him to go away but he doesn’t listen.
I think he feeds off of the fear in my mind. He must, because he is very fat and shows no sign of ever going away. The doctors say, “we can give you medicine to make him harder to see”, but I don’t want to live my life in a drug induced euphoria.
He has a habit of following me to each check-up but he doesn’t come in with me. No, the sneaky bastard lurks in the background until I get home and try to go to sleep, then he sneaks in the room and climbs once agin right onto my chest causing angst and sleeplessness. Nothing I do or say can make him get off. He seems to enjoy making me uncomfortable.
My friends don’t see him of course. They look at me and say, “he’s in your mind. If there really was an elephant living with you we would see it”. “Oh”, I say, “he is there, and he is big and gray and smelly, and he is trying to ruin my attempt to live a normal life”.
I have noticed that when I talk about him in group, or among friends, he seems to fade into the background, much preferring to torment me when I am alone. That fact gives me hope that one day, maybe tomorrow, or maybe 5 years from now, I can convince him to pack his bags and leave me alone. Everyone says it will happen. But it’s been 15 long years of dealing with this big fella and I am somewhat skeptical. That doesn’t mean I will ever quit trying. The problem is, I woke up with a really sore throat this morning and when I turned my head and began to rise, he was staring me right in the face.