When cancer can’t stare back…

As usual, the Cancer Center was a busy place this morning.

Friday’s, in many places are considered “get away days;” not so in a busy chemo room or any other treatment area.  The waiting room for the CT scans was full.  Every seat was taken and it wasn’t hard to tell who the cancer patient was and who the care giver was.  There were a lot of anxious faces in that room.

Just outside the waiting room for chemotherapy, chairs and benches line a wall.  It was there, I noticed a man, sitting alone.  His red and white sweat pants and jacket were well worn.  He had on his gym shoes and socks, both white and his face was frozen in a stare that was haunting.  Doctors, nurses, attendants, and visitors were walking by and this gentleman never acknowledged a single one of them.  He just stared out into space.

Had he just gotten a terrible diagnosis?  Was a loved one inside the infusion area, receiving yet another cycle of chemo?  Maybe he just found the chair and needed a break from the pressures of dealing in cancer world?  I do know he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and it was weighing him down.

How many times, I wondered, had I looked like that?  Any of us who have walked on this cancer path, have had our moments when the only relief we can get is a long, frozen gaze that is ours alone.

It’s the only time when we can truly “escape” for a little while, when cancer can’t stare back.

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