The little boy, he couldn’t have been more than 4 years old, jumped out of the SUV with a bag full of presents.  The woman who grabbed his hand to make sure he didn’t step out before looking both ways, was probably his grandmother.  The grandfather wasn’t far behind and he was carrying the jackets.  They were a three-some on a mission.  They were walking into the cancer center to deliver Christmas presents.

Sometimes cancer world demands you make the best of the worst situation; spending Christmas in a bed on a cancer floor.

Inside the elevator, dressed in faded blue jeans, comfortable shoes and a khaki colored sweater was a woman holding on to her drinking cup so tightly, I could see the pressure in her fingertips.  I don’t think she even knew I was in the elevator with her.  She was so deep in thought, with such a worried look on her face, she seemed startled when the doors opened and it was time for her to step out.  Christmas wasn’t even close to being in her thoughts today, but I bet cancer was.

It was business as usual on the main floor of the cancer center.  Doctor’s doing the quick step to get to appointments, nurses, researchers and patients timing their entry into the rotating door so the momentum wouldn’t stop the rhythm of the day.

Did anyone know it was just a couple of days before Christmas?

And then I heard the bells.  I turned in the direction of the sound and there she was, a patient in a wheelchair wearing a Santa hat.  The bells were in her hand.  The sound broke through the hum of cancer, and everyone was staring at her.  She was being pushed across the floor and out the door to “freedom” with a smile on her face that spoke volumes.

Cancer at Christmas has so many faces.

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