It’s a little strange going through chemotherapy during the Corona Pandemic, though I imagine it would be strange any time.
One Bonus: I’m not the only one wearing a mask during flu season this year. 2020, a vintage no one will request.
Being bald, while super low maintenance, is the clear signal to people that I’m sick. They need to stand back. Don’t breathe on me.
If I’m not feeling well, I display my baldness like a waving banner so I don’t have to weave slalom-style amongst people who don’t wear masks or practice social distancing. I’ve had to do that many times, and it’s exhausting.
If I’m feeling ok, I gussy myself up with a wig and hat and head out. But that honestly doesn’t happen very often.
I’ve noticed that the way people look at me has changed. I live in a small town and I’m a pedestrian, so most people recognize my face. But even people who have really known me for years don’t recognize me. I’m no longer me, really.
I’m Cancer Lady!
People look at me and they think: Death, and I can tell that many think of their own mortality.
I remember this one man and his young son walking past me along the sidewalk. The man smiled at me, which was nice. As they passed, the boy said, “Dad, that lady is going to die!”
His father said, “Well, I think she’s going to make it.”
I am going to make it, but I thought the boy was funny. He was just old enough to notice and understand that I have cancer. And in this newfound knowledge and observational ability, he excitedly shared it with his dad.
I’ve decided it’s ok being a reminder of death. I can’t undo it anyway! But I think we’re far too removed from the reality of it, of Death.
Even now, in the midst of a pandemic and so many dead or very ill, we are separate enough from that pain that some people can deny there’s any risk. Dealing with cancer means I’m in the hospital a lot. At the moment, a minimum of two days a week. And every time I’m there, I hear about the Corona Patients and what is going on at the hospital – how the pandemic is affecting the other wards.
If you lived with cancer, I can tell you right now, you’d wear anything and take any precaution anyone suggested so that you could stay alive. And that’s what I do.