Fellow Cancer Patients, Let’s Build Each Other Up

chemo-chair-picI had hoped that my next post would be about the “brotherhood” of cancer patients, that we all have so much in common and can support each other. Unfortunately, I had kind of a crummy experience today with some fellow cancer patients.

Yesterday was a particularly grueling treatment, my fourth TC. I was worn out, in pain, and barely able to walk into the Cancer Center of Kansas today for my Neulasta shot, but I was there. Determined. And then I began to hear the gossiping…

A group of older ladies were gossiping about all of the other women in the waiting room. Nothing kind, of course. As I was leaving the waiting room after being called to one of the treatment rooms, I heard their statements about me:

Isn’t that too young to be a patient?

That hat is so ugly!

I didn’t know that was a girl!

I’ve done my best lately to maintain a positive outlook, but that last shot was particularly heartbreaking. I’m 43, facing breast cancer for a second time. The treatments are wearing me down, and I’m no longer able to work. I’m bald, losing weight, and will soon face a double mastectomy and possibly a hysterectomy. Being a woman after all of this treatment and surgery is a secret fear that’s tearing me apart right now.

And honestly, I was too sick today to gussy up. I’m tired and feel quite ugly after hearing their comments.

Fellow cancer patients, let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. We’re all struggling with different aspects of this disease called cancer. Let’s bless and support each other, pray for one another. And if you see someone like me in the waiting room who was tired but trying to maintain her dignity, please be kind.