It was in October last year that I was sitting minding my own business watching the TV in the waiting room when I heard the voice. It was a woman from a cancer related organization walking around introducing herself to other cancer patients. She was eager to talk with everyone and hear their compelling cancer battle stories. She was walking around like she was at a cocktail party, chatting with people here and there. If only she had a drink in one hand and some type of appetizer in the other, would I have thought it was appropriate?
As she snaked her way through the one waiting room, out of the corner of my eye, I could see her looking towards me. I purposely positioned myself lower and lower in the chair hoping that she wouldn’t notice me. As she moved in closer and closer towards where I was sitting I knew I was screwed. I quickly pulled out my phone and pretended to be writing an email.
Within seconds I heard her say to my section, “What would we do today without cell phones?” I kept staring at my phone trying not to look up and make a face. I really wish I had my, “yet despite the look on my face you are still talking” t-shirt a friend gave me. It would have been perfect in this situation. She was two seats away from me and getting closer and closer. I watched her as she talked with the other patients. She made the classic facial expressions and gestures you give to someone when you hear their stories. I wish I could have interrupted the story by pulling out my phone and playing, “Chariots of Fire” when the person talked about how they overcame this disease.
Now at this point in my treatment I was in between rounds 3 and 4 of chemo. I looked white as a ghost and knew I would need a blood transfusion soon. The last thing I wanted to do was talk with this overly excited cancer story lady. I don’t mind sharing my story with people, but I absolutely hate it when I get the look. You all know what I am talking about: that look people give you like, “oh poor you. I don’t understand why this happened to you.” Ladies and gentlemen just stop with the damn look. I can spot it a mile away when I get that look and she was giving that look to everyone she was talking to.
Thankfully, the woman she was talking to before me was taking her sweet time talking to her. I looked up at the clock and realized I would have to go upstairs for my appointment. I got up from my seat with my mom and started walking away. As we were walking towards the elevator she called to us, “it was so nice meeting you!” and gave a huge smile/wave. I just shook my head. Not only did she not reach me in time to talk but I also hadn’t introduced myself to her. Awkward is putting it mildly.
I would have gladly shared my story with that woman if we were in a different setting. A cancer center waiting room really isn’t the place to hunt one of the few young adult patients. Just because I have a young face and was bald doesn’t mean I am the great cover story for your next edition of cancer weekly. Now you are probably thinking don’t ever ask her to share her story with the world. If you haven’t already figured this out it’s called the sarcastic sarcoma and by the way I’m free for any speaking engagements in the near future.