Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Being Noticed

Double Chocolate Chip
Frappuccino - YUM
Today it happened - finally.  The moment I've been anxiously awaiting  since I shaved my head.  The moment when a stranger came up to me and asked me about it.

At Starbucks this morning (I told you I spend a lot of time there...) a woman pointed to my head (wrapped in a scarf) and asked, "How are you DOING?"

I told her I was fine, I had finished chemo and was just waiting for the hair to grow back.  She told me she had ovarian cancer 4 years ago and also lost her hair during chemo but she's fine now.  I gave her a big hug.  She was such a nice lady.  We didn't talk long, my drinks were ready and I had my 10 year old daughter with me on the way to school...

I didn't mind at all that she was nosy/curious about it.  I don't mind telling my story and, maybe, I secretly like the attention.  I thought more people would be asking me about "my" cancer - but she's the first and it's been nearly 3 months of being hairless.  3 months since someone would be able to TELL that I have cancer (or HAD cancer).

I get a lot of sympathetic looks and big smiles and strangers saying HELLO and obviously looking as though they want to say more but don't.  I don't think I'm scary to talk to, I don't think I'm giving off a "Don't talk to me" vibe - but I suspect that most people don't know WHAT to say.  And that's okay.

I didn't think I would feel comfortable with so obviously looking like I HAVE cancer.  But, I really haven't minded it too much and I would venture to say that it's made people be a little kinder to me.  I don't think a clerk or anyone has been rude to me since.  People seem to be a lot friendlier and maybe when they see me, they are reminded that maybe their bad mood isn't really all that important.

Or maybe I just spread joy everywhere I go - that's possible too.




  2. Sadly, I have been in your new acquaintance's position before and said nothing, even though I wanted to. In these instances, I usually have an internal battle going on, one side urging me to talk to the person and wish them well, the other shooting down the idea altogether. I'm embarrassed to say, especially after reading your article, that I never say anything because I am worried about unintentionally offending someone. I don't know when I became this way. (?) Maybe it's the garbage I inadvertently see on television while flipping through the channels or even the behavior witnessed my children's baseball games, but I am wary of exposing myself to an unreasonable and angry person. Unfortunately, I tend to run through life with my head down and arms in hoping not to trip up. This is a sad way to live. Your story has given me a new perspective, Laura. I have always presumed that people want to go through "these things" privately. I have been following your journey via your Facebook posts and articles and have been profoundly moved by your strength and willingness to let us go through it with you in a little way. Let's see what happens next time. :o)
    By the way, I'm sure you spread joy everywhere you go. You're a constant source of amusement on Facebook and, I'm positive, you are just as charming out and about!
    Belinda :-D

  3. They stop you in public for not having hair....but say nothing about the lack-o-pants? Crazy.