|Googly eyes on the chemotherapy waiting room|
sign. Someone added a touch of whimsy
to a fairly bleak, uncomfortable room
Each week she would enter the waiting room with her walker adorned with colorful lights, decorated according to season or holiday. On her head would be a colorful headband or funny hat, accessorized with sparkly costume jewelry, and she would change into a fun pair of novelty pajamas before her treatment would begin. Many times it was obvious that she felt tired and weak, but as her treatment progressed she started to look healthier than the rest of us - I believe she may actually beat a second terminal diagnosis. Her huge, fun-loving spirit is so much bigger than the cancer! I couldn't help but smile when she entered the room - she was a one-woman celebration of life in an extremely grim place!
She might have received a terminal diagnosis, but the illness is not keeping her from living life and being an inspiration and source of hope to others.
I encountered so many strong, inspiring people over the past several weeks: A woman with throat cancer who couldn't eat herself, but baked weekly treats for the doctors, nurses and fellow patients; another woman who was violently ill from the chemo but drove herself to culinary school every day, determined to become a chef; and a man with disfiguring cancer who made a point of greeting each person in the waiting room cheerfully every morning and took time to ask others how they were feeling (I even saw him dance).
There were those who complained or were frightened, too.... but for the most part the people in these waiting rooms had a resolve to get through the treatments and get on with their lives.
If nothing else, this experience has strengthened my beliefs about the human spirit and how important attitude is at all times and in all situations. Yesterday cannot be relived and tomorrow is promised to no-one. All we have is now. And we have a choice on how we pass through this moment in time. Do we make the most of an imperfect situation, decorate our walkers with twinkling lights, or do we let an imperfect situation get the better of us and moan about our fate? Which path do you think leads to healing?
And for those who are wondering, I have put on a few pounds but have remained in my size 12s. In a few weeks I'll get back on Ideal Protein and my bike and maybe one day soon I'll find out what the final three phases of the diet are like!