Part of the content for the US Navy training we recently completed included self-talk, positive self-image, and making a lasting impression.
I had a story to share and I did not share it. I am unsure why I held this close to me. I could rationalize that I am two years, and about three months from diagnosis and one year from chemo. I still have three years, seven months of a daily oral treatment and an injection every six months. I remain unsure if it is where I am in this cancer journey timeline. I suspect I was unsure as to how the story would be accepted. Most likely, how would I be accepted.
It was so important to me that no one saw me as a cancer patient. I think that is why I pleaded with Richard to save my hair. Losing one’s hair is such a cancer stigma. I know my limits and remain grateful to Richard for saving my hair, my dignity, my sanity.
I guess I was about three or so months into treatment at the Clearview Cancer Institute. I always dressed for treatment in nice clothes, heels, full makeup, and jewelry. My friend from high school, Chantal, shared that she dressed well and it would make a difference.
This particular treatment day, I had left the lab and was headed to meet Richard where I had a scan scheduled. A thirty-five year old or so looking man stopped me and asked if I could direct him to the pharmacy. I did.
As he walked away a strong sense of sadness filled my core. My self-talk was active saying he asked me because I look like a cancer patient and would, if course, know where the pharmacy is located. Then, I called him back and said, ”Did you ask me where the pharmacy is because I look like a cancer patient?” He replied, “I asked you because I thought you worked here and you would know.”
The stories we make up in our minds. The power of a stranger’s reframe.
Next time, I will share.