Taking the high road. The oddest thing happened the other day at lunch. I was in line with my friends when I overheard the couple directly in front of me having a discussion about breast cancer. There are few things I can wax poetically on and breast cancer oddly enough just happens to be one of them. Had this group been discussing the recent hike in gasoline prices or Mother Nature’s recent experiment with the amount of rain one community can handle I would have shrugged it off completely and paid no attention, but the term “breast cancer” caught my bartender’s ear so I decided to listen in.
The conversation was about their coworker who one believed had “milked” her situation with regards to the amount of time off she had taken. I really couldn’t believe my ears. This was turning petty in a hurry, and remembering my new year’s resolution I kept things to myself thinking perhaps there’s more to this story than meets the eye and it was not until the information really started to develop right there in front of me that I needed to step in and have a few words with them.
Remember, there’s almost never a “good place” to be discussing these topics out in the open, we all have ears and some of us know how to use them. The story took a twist when the female involved in this discussion stated “well, since she (the patient) did not receive chemotherapy or radiation, then she really didn’t have cancer!” I could feel my heart racing at this point because this is exactly the situation we’ve all endured with Bonnie’s situation … hell, I started thinking these two MUST be talking about my wife … enter a rational voice (you’d have all been proud of me). Rather than dropping my gloves right there, I quietly introduced myself by name, and let each of them know how incredibly insensitive it is to be discussing a coworker’s condition in the open as they have been doing, secondly how thankful they should be the person they were discussing did not have to endure chemotherapy and radiation, and lastly I reminded each of them that although the person in question did not have to receive these additional treatments she was still subjected to biopsies, surgeries, lymphedema, questions, notions, research, more questions, sleepless nights, drains, all of which was centered around the word “cancer”.
Fortunately for the two most petty people I had met in quite a long time the line for lunch started to move rather quickly and we soon departed company but not before a gentleman behind me patted me on the back and stated “Well done young man, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Shame on them!” The word “petty” comes to mind when I rethink about this confrontation and then I start thinking perhaps these two were just not kept informed about the everyday dealings of what a cancer patient faces – giving them the benefit of the doubt helped me as I sat down and tried to enjoy my meal. I texted my wife shortly thereafter to find out how her lunch was going to find out she was fine.
Yes she is.
I thank the fact we live here in California where research on alternative solutions is being conducted every day. I thank the fact we live here in California where Breast Cancer is monitored much closer than other states and I thank the doctors, the surgeons, the nurses, and this network where “Bonnie’s Beautiful Boosters” have resided keeping tabs on her.