So I’m in the middle of composing a completely frivelous post about my hair when I read this really wonderful bit of advice and post from a woman who has been there, done that. Katherine had Hodgkin’s at 21. This is what she writes:
“As for advice…hang out with the chatty people at chemo they will help keep you sane while you go through this. Never use a wig made from human hair. Always have Sprite with you (coke’s evilness aside it works great). When given the choice between ice chips and a popsicle go for the popsicle. If you really get down look at the kids going through it and get inspired. Ask if you can play with the PS2 for awhile, or try jumping up and down on the scale when they’re trying to weigh you, kids are brilliant and they manage to go through trials with more grace than I can say.”
Kids. Oh. My. God. There will be children there. Little ones, big ones, ones who should be on the playground themselves. Of course there will be children there. I knew that. And yet, somehow, I blocked it out, preferring to think of cancer patients as old. Grandmothers themselves. Great-grandmothers even. Or four-pack-a-day smokers with raspy voices, like my onetime thesis adviser who walked into a cyclotron in the ’60s. (Yes, it was on. And yes, that totally blows my anonymity, but it’s too good a story to hold back. He lived for another 30+ years and 25+ graduate students. Tough guy.)
You’re reminding me that that’s not so. That moms and dads and bloggers and college students and caregivers all get cancer. It’s nothing they did. It’s just what happens. And it happens to people of all ages and races and genders.
The truth is, cancer can strike any of us.
When I go to chemotherapy next week, it won’t just be me in that great big room. I won’t even be the youngest.
There will be children there.