Monday, April 16, 2012

Just Another Bitch Slap From Reality

I went to my every three week Herceptin infusion today.
I was excited to see my doctor and nurse, who I haven't seen since late January.
I settled into my chair in the waiting room and waited for my name to be called.

While I waited, I noticed a man and woman in their 50's and a man in his 30's talking quietly. The woman was fighting back tears. The men were somber.
For some reason, I walked over to her, sat down and asked her if I could hug her.
She hugged me hard. I asked her if she had just been diagnosed. She sniffed as she said, "No, my daughter." and motioned down the hall.

I immediately started in with my success story, as I had so many times. "No worries! Breast cancer is highly treatable! I have no evidence of disease. It's not that bad...."
She started blankly at me and said, "She's 34. This is her second round."


I changed my speech to the "there are new advances every day!" line.
Our eyes locked and we both started bawling. I walked back to my seat feeling like I had been sucker punched. At that second, even I didn't believe the BS I was spewing.

A woman came to the front desk from the doctor's office hallway and started making her follow up appointments, as we all have to do.
I heard her schedule her PET scan and MRI.
She was calm. She was friendly to the receptionist.

I then watched as she walked over to the family I had just spoken to. Judging from that woman's demeanor, I would have had no idea that she was the one that had just been diagnosed for a second time in a few short years with breast cancer.

I couldn't help but stare as she walked arm and arm out of the oncology office with her family without saying a word. I also watched as all four of them embraced and collapsed the second they were safely out in the hallway.

Another sucker punch.
I had just witnessed my worst fear.
Why the hell hadn't I just minded my own business and let that lady weep in peace? Then, I would have had no idea about their story. I wouldn't have opened up my own raw wounds and emotions.

Just yesterday, I told Eric that I'm finally feeling like the old me.
Cancer thoughts weren't consuming me like they used to.

Now today, all I can think about is that poor girl. Her screening two months ago was clean. She was cancer-free. Now, her future is unknown and her prognosis is grim.
What a difference a day makes.

I'm sorry. What a buzz kill this post is.
It's reality... and sometimes, reality bites.

If anything, it's a good (much needed) reminder to not take a single day for granted.

My prayers and thoughts go out to that girl, whoever she is.


  1. I think it's wonderful that you went over and hugged that lady. She clearly needed it.

    Cancer sucks, no doubt about it.

    But that shouldn't stop you from reaching out to others. It's such a wonderful quality and 99% of the time it is wanted and needed. Even in cases like that.

    Praying hard for that family.


    1. You're right, Carrie. I don't think God would let me stop hugging people anyways.

      I think he's always testing me to see how much I will do. I'm sure He gets a good giggle out of it. ;)

  2. It could be you. It could be anybody. But TODAY you are cancer free, so today you are going to enjoy the shit out of every damn second and be thrilled that you beat cancer. If it does come back, there will be plenty of time for stress and tears, Don't give it one more second of your time or let it take away one more happy moment. It doesn't deserve it! XOXO

    1. You are absolutely right. Thank you! XOXO

  3. Wow just think how "in tune" you are becoming with others around you! God is growing you in each situation. Yes, next time you may just go up to someone hurting and say "this just SUCKS doesn't it?" and give them a hug. But by God's grace that woman understood your compassion and took your hug and went home with a little more hope than she had in that moment, even if you didn't see it. Don't ever wall of your compassion!!!

    1. Thanks, Laura.
      I think I'm a little TOO in tune at times. God is definitely working on (and through) me!
      Hope you're doing well!