Connecting With Others
I've been trying to use these 6+ weeks of radiation to connect with people... a bit. I only have 5 to 15 minutes of waiting, by the time I come out of the dressing room. It seems like forever, when I'm sitting awkwardly with others in hospital gowns, not speaking. So I'm trying to avoid the comfort zone of staring at my technology... and I'm speaking.
For a while I seemed to be the youngest, at age 59. (Then again, we all look a lot older in our snowflake gowns) I was surprised to see so many men and women using walkers or canes or even oxygen tanks. The first man I spoke to weeks ago, announced he was 75. He set me at ease with his laughter and optimism. "I woke up this morning, didn't I? I'm here today!" He talked about praying to Jesus and he talked of grandkids. He told me to tell my son to hurry up and get married and give me some grand-babies! That made me laugh.
He said I'd do fine, because he could see a sparkle in my eyes. "Gotta be positive!" Then he quietly reminded me not to be like those other people, who drag in like they're already dead.
A Young Face
After seeing many feeble patients, I was surprised to see a new face, one day. She was young, with refreshing energy, wearing a colorful head scarf. I felt like a school girl, wanting to be friends. We were called back to the dressing rooms about the same time and ended up with a good amount of time to talk. I realized for the first time since diagnosis, I was talking to someone who had breast cancer along with me. We shot questions back and forth about hair growth and embarrassing wig problems. I showed her pictures of me getting my head shaved by the barber. She showed me pictures of her dressed as Mr. Clean for Halloween! I loved that. She was a mother, with 2 small kids and a job outside the home. She made it all look easy, but I could only imagine how tough it would be to juggle so much, plus cancer.
I haven't forced anyone to talk, but I've opened up to every single person seated next to me. The man in sandals was the least friendly. His clothes reeked of cigarette smoke and he coughed a lot. I greeted and commented on the weather, but he just answered. "Hmm." I left him alone.
Another day, a woman with a black cane sat down, looking like she preferred to be left alone. She barely acknowledged my greeting, but after a while she said softly. "I didn't think I would ever be here." I answered "Me too." She said there'd been no cancer in her family. I said, "Me too." She said she'd been praying a lot. I smiled and added, "I'll bet you've had a lot of people praying for you." "Oh yes!" We laughed about how you might as well take as many prayers as you can get.
I told the older woman how I'd met the young mother and how impressed I was with her. "She has so young, with children and a job!" I made some comment about how hard it must be to face cancer so young. "No." The woman answered firmly. Her sigh almost seemed to drain her energy. I had a feeling she was remembering what it felt like to be young. "It would be so much easier to be young with cancer." I saw the cane resting in her hands and I understood.
So, I'm halfway through my radiation treatment and I'm ready to be done. But I'll see what else I can learn from others, along the way.
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!