There was so much activity in the cancer center.

I was there most of the day and when that happens I usually notice an ebb and flow of patients and caregivers.  The early birds look tired and weary but anxious to get their treatment started.  Maybe they’re looking at hours of chemo and it just makes sense to start the job and get out of there before the afternoon traffic.  Maybe they’ve tried to sleep in and go for an afternoon appointment, but by the time they’ve arrived, something has caused delays and what was a 1 o’clock radiation time is now a 3 o’clock time slot.  It works very much like the airport and flight delays; first plane out usually takes off on time, but after that, it’s potluck.

It wasn’t just the numbers of patients and caregivers that caught my attention, it was the way they looked.  In the lobby, folks with T-stands sat while their medicine’s slow drip paid no attention to what time it was.  They had blank stares; no expression to speak of.  Some looked out toward the street where the world moved at its normal pace.  Where they remembering that world?  Other’s took steps so measured, it was almost as if they were counting down to an end.

A little girl broke the rhythm  in the room, and even though she was clearly a patient, with a shiny bald head, pale skin and bandages wrapped on both arms, she had the biggest smile on her face.  She was skipping with her mom next to her trying so hard to keep up with her daughters pace.  Cancer wasn’t going to stop her, at least not on this day.

But she was the exception in this crowd.

Too many eyes gazing down.  Too many faces that had lost their smiles.  Too much cancer.

It was one of those “daze.”

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