Something occurred today in the gym and I'm not sure what I could have, would have or should have said. As I was changing a woman entered the locker room with an obvious chemo hair cut. From my hairless experience, it looked like she was past the midway point of her treatments and was feeling better by the day. My first reaction was to engage her in conversation but was hesitant not knowing her reaction. As I slowly continued dressing and mulling over what to say to her, a couple of scenarios played through my mind.
Me: Hey, I had one of those hairdos a couple of years ago.
Her: Really, did you also get gum stuck in your hair and have to shave the whole thing off?
Me: How are you doing?
Her: Fine, why do you ask?
Me: I noticed your hair and wanted you to know I've been there.
Her: You've been to Suzie's Salon?
Me: (To myself--oops, this was a scheduled, on purpose kind of haircut)
Me: I had breast cancer.
Her: I'm almost done with treatments.
Me: Great! I wish you well.
Her: How are you doing now?
Me: (And this is where I stop. How can I tell this woman, be careful, be very very careful because 22% of us have to go a second round. She doesn't need to hear that from me.)
So, I say nothing to her on this day. I can not lie and say, "You made it! Good for you!" because that's not always the case and I don't want to frighten her. Cancer does what cancer does and when you have it, a day or a week doesn't go by without looking over your shoulder for the next bump in the road. Talking with others, that feeling never ever goes away.
Maybe the next encounter, I'll "woman up" and greet her with a gentle response in my head if she asks, "How are you now?"
Thanks for reading # 31 of 7777.