21 October 2011

Best story, ever

I hate group therapy. My group leader, Anne, just called to tell me that they’ve missed me for the last few weeks. As I only attended one class, her understatement sounded a little sarcastic. We were a small group sitting on cheap motel lobby furniture, surrounded by boxes of Kleenex. I spent the first half of the session being bored by people's stories (Seriously? You call that a problem!) and the second half being really, really scared.

The list of things that can go wrong following a diagnosis is about a mile long. The list of chemo side effects is even longer. (I prefer the Imperial system. It sounds more regal). However,  the list of side effects that might actually affect one individual might only measure two inches.

Throughout my session, participants brought up the whole long mile, bringing to light things I never wanted to know. Needless to say, it goes much  further than loss of hair. So, just when I was thinking I could cope, I started to think I couldn’t. So the reason I never went back to therapy was one part boredom, and two parts terror.

But (here comes the positive) one lovely woman told a story that felt like Christmas morning. She is completely bald, and bravely walks around without covering her head. She was also wearing a tracksuit, and without hair and street clothes, it’s harder to tell about about lifestyle or age. No matter. She had a twinkle in her eye, a charming manner, and a contagious sense of peace. 

As always with ladies, the conversation turned to men, and I asked her about her relationship. She told me that she’d just met someone prior to her diagnosis, but not knowing if he was a keeper, she didn’t divulge her situation. Then she decided she liked him.  As the chemo date approached (in her case, surgery would follow) she knew that she would have to let him in on her secret.

So on the eve of her first treatment she invited him for dinner, and told him they needed to talk. He arrived, nervously, and she poured him a glass of wine. Then she told him about her tumor, her upcoming chemo, and how she might, be sick, tired, and bald.  Slightly shaken, he leaned on the table and put his head in his hands. “ Oh Thank God”, he said, “I thought you were going dump me.”

Enjoy your weekend.


  1. What a great story. Reminds me of my second date with my wife. Just her and I and her oncologist. That was 10 years ago, and we still go out on dates - my wife and I. Keep writing .... Thanks

  2. Hi Lady Egghead,

    Here for you, been there. No hair, chemo, hats. I have a bunch of great hats if you want to borrow.

    July 2000 and I'm still kicking - quite hard in fact ;) Email or connect if you like. We have common friends.


  3. Thank you. I like your stories too.