Anna’s Story – Let’s Get Real

When you look at someone what do you see? Appearances alone do not tell the whole story.

This is a story of regular people like you and me whom I had the privilege of meeting while going for chemotherapy treatment. I had time to waste as I would sit for 4 to 6 hours waiting for the array of IV bags of cancer-fighting drugs to finish their drip. Noah was busy juggling his schedule between work and tending to Colin and Logan until it was time to pick me up from the hospital.

Being a quiet person, I’d spend my time observing, watching people, and noticing what was happening around me. From the moment I entered the chemotherapy room; I realized that I was only one of many with cancer – each person with a different type of cancer, each in different stages of treatment, and each with varying degrees of treatment. A steady array of people no better or worse, for at that point cancer is a fight for life.

One particular day the chemo room had emptied out leaving me and another patient the only two remaining at that time of day. In her late thirties, she was so exuberant and full of zest. She had a buzz cut, dyed pink with a heart and ribbon-edged design running along one side of her head. I commented on how nice it looked and we started a conversation. She told me, “My boyfriend shaved out the design for me since my hair has just started growing back in. Don’t mind me, I’m so excited, my teenage son started his own band and I’m going to go watch his first performance tonight!”  She would joke saying, “I’ll have to fill up on a couple of energy drinks before I go, so I don’t get so tired!” She would continue telling me she had been going for treatment now for a couple of years, nonchalantly saying, “I’ve had two different cancers, I’m terminal, and they don’t expect me to live another year. The treatment is only to try and give me more time.” I looked at her in disbelief, and couldn’t help but be inspired by her positive outlook. She was incredible and I smiled at her strength and determination to enjoy what remaining time she had left – She was going to make the most of it!

A regular volunteer in the chemotherapy room was a very kind and caring elderly man. He tended to the patients by making sure they were comfortable, in need of anything, and always had a listening ear. I would learn later on while browsing through a cancer magazine, that this man was featured in one of the articles. His story of survival battling cancer was truly amazing as I was to learn he couldn’t eat foods anymore; he would spend the rest of his life on a liquid diet only.  

I would hear other stories of resilience and upliftment, stories I would not have known about, had it not been for my own cancer. That’s why I say learn the whole story, “Do not judge a book by its cover, have a look inside!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *