Monday, October 16, 2006

Signs

Haven't posted since the end of treatment and thought I should check in briefly. I'm doing well; haven't been sick again (knock wood) and my energy is coming back steadily. Another hair update soon, I think. I've been out in public a couple of times with my GI Jane look, though I still don't really feel the head's ready for viewing.

A couple of nights ago, I was at Whole Foods and, as I got back to the car, saw a woman in the parking lot with a bandanna covering hair like mine. I was wearing a wig, but wanted to whip it off and call out, "Hey, look! Me too!"

Having cancer has made me a lot more aware of the many difficulties and tragedies that people all around us face. (Also, when Noah and I watched a 9/11 documentary, we saw a guy who was in one of the stairwells when a tower came down, and he rode that stairwell down in the collapse--something like 60 stories--and survived. I thought about him walking around in the world, mingling with thousands of strangers who have no idea what he's been through--no idea that he survived the collapse of the twin towers.) It's impossible to see what people have survived, what they are currently enduring. I wish we all wore big signs: "In treatment for breast cancer"; "Parents died in a plane crash"; "Currently nursing my husband through terminal illness"; etc. Yes, it may be macabre, but it just seems like almost everyone has faced tragedy, and deserves tenderness, and yet we are all so oblivious to everyone else's pain because we just can't see it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This entry is so deserving of comment. Please let me be the first. TYTB!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps from now on we should all wear our underwear on the outside, so everyone can be sure we are wearing them.

Sometimes, we're not even aware that we ourselves our suffering, as with you pre-diagnosis.

There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. But are there unknown knowns?

Just the incoherent ramblings of a known psychotic.

IRS.

Heidi and Sarah Face The Day said...

I am not sure it was the Seether video I saw but I did a google and came up with this and it sort of relates. It probably was this video. Here's the link to the idea that came out of the video. http://www.peoplewithsigns.com/signs/index.asp?sign=33234

Heidi and Sarah Face The Day said...

Actually wasn't it the R.E.M. video for Everybody Hurts that also had signs or subtitles or something saying what was really going inside people. That is a great song and a fantastic but sad video!

Anonymous said...

shades of Ellis' rational-emotive therapy's caveat about irrational beliefs (IRBs)! When we encounter someone and have some reaction to how they look, what they say or do (or DON'T say or do), we're often hostage to our tendency to react/relate to them based on what we believe about their looks, action/inaction, etc and we don't instead recognize the infinite number of events, circumstances, relationships, experiences, etc. that have brought the person to who/where they are when we encounter them. I'm awed by your sensitivity to the reality that we seldom have the opportunity or privilege to see the emotionally penetrating pivotal points in the person's life before we decide who they are and how we will or will not relate to them...and so we miss how really special they are. I could add that I suspect that sometimes even wearing a sign about the mundane aspects of their lives might help us be more mindful of their human-ness and personhood and less likely to relate to stereotypes and impressions. As for me, I'm going to start lugging around a big sign that says, "i have a beautiful daughter whose courage and caring has reminded me to live each day moment by moment and not lose those moments forever."

rebecca flowers schamess said...

Totally lovely. It is shocking what ordinary, everyday people are walking around with. The challenge is to always keep that in mind...