Thursday, May 26, 2011

Connections

Dear friends,

I can check off blood work and the CT scan for today and of course we'll just wait for the results when they come in.  So here is my story that I wanted to share with you.

The other night we were in JoAnn's and Nate had to go to the bathroom, of course.  Funny thing is that he didn't have to pee, of course.  Anyway, he's in there and the only thing he's missing is his reading material. I of course am relegated to waiting outside the door these days... privacy is such a bid deal now.  As I'm waiting,  I realize that there is another shopper waiting to use the bathroom as well, waiting, waiting, waiting.  Anyway, she ended up asking me if I was undergoing chemo and we struck up a conversation.  She was a very nice woman and it turns out that she is a 5 year survivor of a diagnosis of a late stage cancer.

Our interaction the other night got me to thinking because she is the first person that has actually asked me about my cancer.  Clearly, I am the poster child for the cancer patient "look" and I guess it is or maybe it isn't that odd that no one has ever approached me about it.

And you know what, it was ok.  This then leads me to wonder if other cancer survivors out there should be more interactive.  This lovely woman was not in any way invasive, nosy, or curious.  All she wanted me to know was that she is a survivor and that she wishes me the very best in my own situation.  I know that there are cancer patients all over town, but I have yet run into one that is visibly going through treatment.  Even though I don't hide myself, I continue to feel self conscious about my baldness and no, I'm not paranoid, but I swear I've gotten some looks here and there.

This then leads to an even bigger concept of connection.  Do we connect with the people around us, especially those who have visible "issues"? Do we stay back because we fear that we are being nosy and that the other person would find us invasive or pushy.  Why do we speak with some and not speak to others.  Why eye contact is made with some and not others and if eye contact is made, do we continue with a how are you or a hello?  It's true, silence is awkward.

Really just some food for thought for both you and me.

Until next time.

-Katie

15 comments:

Gina said...

Hi Sweetheart :D I suppose a lot of the "I won't askers" are cautious because it is quite fashionable for women to shave their heads these days, so you can't assume their hair loss is due to treatment :D I have often cut my hair as short as my hubby's, and get lots of those "funny looks", especially as we live quit near a large hospital. A real double whammy for the uncertain haha!
Glad you met someone strong enough to give you that extra bit of hope for the future :D XXX

Candy F. said...

I love this post because it is so true!

Joan V said...

Hi Katie, wow, I guess that woman was sent your way for a reason. (Thank goodness Nate had to go to the bathroom!) LOL .
There is HOPE. And there is a lesson for us all. I love reading your posts. You are so honest about your thoughts and feelings. And you do give us food for thought each and every post. Hugs

Ted said...

Katie, God doesn't do "chance encounters". As Joan said, that woman was sent to you for a reason.

Look for God in the "chance" happenings of life. You'll see Him more than you know. :)

Grandma Nancy said...

And I am the poster child for being "that person". The one who people open up to for what seems to be no reason at all. LOL I've had people that I barely know tell me their deep dark secrets. It always amazes me that people will tell me very personal stories during the first conversation we ever have. I always wonder why I am the person they decide to unburden themselves to?
I am definitely honored that they feel that comfortable with me. How do they know I will listen without judging them? How do they know I won't blab their secrets? I won't...on either count, but how do they know.
That is where the..."no coincidence...meant to happen...sent part comes in, I believe. For whatever reason, the Lord "hooks those two people up" for the benefit of both.
I'm glad you got to talk with her.

~amy~ said...

I gotta agree with the others...I don't believe in chance encounters either...you two were meant to meet each other...even if it was outside the restroom:)

I would be one of those...don't askers if I don't know the person...I don't want to offend anyone and you just don't know how the other person will receive comments/questions.

Whatta nice lady to have started the convo with you...

Have a super Friday katie!

Kathy said...

So wonderful to find encouragement and inspiration where you least expect it! What a wonderful story Katie and I have to admit I do struggle to know where the line is when seeing others who are obviously going through "issues". Sometimes I just feel so inadequate and unqualified to say anything. But I want to be willing to talk to whomever the Lord wants to talk to so I'm going to put those times in the Lord's hands and ask for the words He would have me speak.
blessings to you and your family Katie!

cheryl (clee') said...

Thanks for that story, Katie. The part about whether we make eye contact with some and not others IS food for thought. Years ago I read an article by a man in a wheelchair and he said one of the most isolating things was that people never made eye contact. I suppose part of it is just the height difference, but when I mentioned it to a friend of mine, she said she purposely doesn't look at handicapped or "different" people so she wouldn't make them uncomfortable. It's good to have the other point of view pointed out. I try to smile and say hi to everyone equally...because, why not? Just plain friendliness shouldn't depend on appearances.

Emily Painter-Davis said...

That was a GOD thing for sure.
People come into our lives for a reason. Some of the nicest people I've met at stores. lol Remember the lady at WalMart who told me her whole story about her husband passing, etc?
I do think that people don't want to be invasive, but people like me can't help saying things... I found myself saying "you really look beautiful today" to a frazzled mom the other day. I am quite sure God put that in my heart to say.
I'm glad she reached out. It's not enough for your friends and family to tell you. We all hope and pray you live long and prosper (note the Star Trek Reference). But perfect strangers who have been there... they have a need to say "you can do it".... It's such a blessing.
I'm so proud of you and HAPPY for you!
Hugs...
em

Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy ~ Inkcicles said...

Even though cancer is not a positive thing it does connect you with a community of fighters and survivors. Just like there is a papercrafting community and so on... you connect Katie just for being you. :-)

I believe in God's leading and I do believe that I come across people that He wants to use me to reach out to. Sometimes that reaching out is in my prayers.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It keeps us all connected.

You are so loved!
HUGS!

~nance

seamom said...

My Mom spent the last few years of her life in a wheelchair with a canula under her nose and my Dad faithfully pushing her and her oxygen tank. She had emphysema and rheumatoid arthritis. She loved people and would strike up a conversation with anyone who was in close enough proximity. I think I have taken up her habit of talking with people, and expecially people in wheelchairs with oxygen onboard. Virtually everyone I have ever spoken to responds with seeming gladness for another opportunity for human contact. I know my situation is reversed from my Mom's, but who knows? If I were in the chair, I would hope folks would chat with me!

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie, I agree with the readers who said that was a God directed encounter but I think it is valuable food for thought for all of us. Although I try to at least smile and greet people I encounter, I must admit that I avoid inquiring about an obvious situation. I guess I am guilty of that because I don't want to remind someone of something they are trying to forget about whenever they can. I also don't want someone to think they are 'different' because I don't think illness or handicaps make us differen. However, if I was a cancer survivor, I would want to reach out to you and make sure you know that I was and that I understand what you are going through. Right now I am going through tests to 'rule out' cancer so I do understand the 'fears' connected to what my mother called the 'C' word. God put that lady in your life that day to reassure you that He is in control and All IS Well.
Lots of love and prayers are with you and your family every day.
Elaine

idebi said...

I remember talking with a woman in a restroom that had no hair and asking if she was going through chemo. Yes she was and she spent a few minutes talking about how she was doing and feeling. I loved hearing her spirit come out through those words and wished her well. I have been following you for quite a while and recently introduced my sister to you. She has reoccuring lymphoma and started chemo a few weeks ago. She is 5'11" and very noticeable to many with the loss of her hair. She is not too sure how to manage the hair loss, but feels quite strong that the chemo will overcome her lymphoma and give her another 8 years as it did before. We haven't always seen eye to eye on everything, but our love for each other is deep. Thank you for sharing your story. You've touch many lives with it.

Axes DesigNs said...

Hi!! Long time I didn't come but it is a lot of work here :)
I think people didn't like to talk because as me . are lazy..busy.. some times we think if we talk it will take time and these days time is what we all need.. for me a lot of times I'm lazy and I prefer not to talk.. oh well I'm not sure if I'm right but I can't talk so easy with people I don't know :(

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