While at the grocery store this morning I saw a woman wearing a pink bandanna on her head and a pink breast cancer bracelet on her wrist. I was drawn to her – being of the same sisterhood and all – but I debated whether or not I should say anything. Then I remembered when I was obviously going through treatment and how it made me feel when women would come up to me and tell me it would get better.
So I walked up to her and said, “Excuse me. Are you a breast cancer patient?” She said she was and when I told her I went through what she’s going through two years ago she lit up. She grabbed my hand and looked me over and said, “Oh. You look wonderful!” Instead of my usual, “Oh, please. I need to lose about 50 pounds and I feel like I look much older than I am,” I just said thank you.
We chatted a little bit about chemotherapy and what her side effects have been. After a few more treatments she’ll start radiation, though she wants a break in between so she can enjoy the beach just a little this summer. In her words, “Even if I can just feel the sand between my toes and smell the salty air. I don’t need to get a tan.”
We said the usual, “nice talking with you,” thing you say when you’ve been chatting with a complete stranger. And then she grabbed my hand again and said, “Thank you so much for talking to me. I’ve been feeling discouraged and you were just the encouragement I needed.” I patted her hand and told her it was my pleasure.
And as I walked away I realized this is what it’s all about. I’m not going to touch the masses. But because of my experiences I’m going to make a difference – even a teeny tiny one – to a select few women over the course of my life. And there are a select few women who have and will make a difference for me.