Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On The Other Side

When I was receiving radiation in February of last year, I would meet many other patients in the lounge. It puzzled me how some of them seemed to be upbeat and had a positive attitude despite what they are going through. I assumed that it must have been their nature or personal trait. Well, being back in the same place last week, I noticed a change in my attitude. I am one of the veterans now, like those people I always envied.

Yesterday, there were 2 guys and one lady who are going through the treatment for the first time. I listened in as they were sharing tips and talking about their experience and thoughts. I wanted to chip in and tell them not to worry, it will all pass and they will come to my side of the fence eventually. I wanted to tell them that their struggle will merely become another fact of life one learns to deal with. But I kept quiet; everyone needs to travel the journey themselves. They were also discussing how chemo makes the cancer cells more susceptible to radiation. I wanted to chip in again and say it's the other way round: radiation sensitizes the cancer cells and make them more susceptible to chemo... but I kept quiet again :)

While waiting, one lady, in her late 70s, came in a wheel chair guided by a medic. She was bald and had a white feathery hat, like an ostrich's. She sat next to that other patient with a wig and they started a conversation.
Wig lady: I can't do the bald look; I have to wear a wig!
Ostrich lady: It's beautiful to be bald. You can do so much with your bald head. I once had an artist draw some artwork on my bald head. Another time, I had him draw beautiful eyes at the back of my head.
Wig lady: Good for you; that's not something I can do. I need hair on my head even if it's a wig.
Ostrich lady: I don't need no wig. I have enough charisma and charm to make me look good--hair or no hair, wig or no wig!
Everybody in the room erupted in laughter. Good for her! The ostrich lady is definitely not burying her head in the sand.

Now I know that in one point of my journey I will reach that stage where she is. One stage at a time--there's a lot to reflect on and to learn from at every stage. Starting today, I'll be going there daily to be treated, entertained, and enlightened by the scores of people I meet there.

Kudos to the Ostrich Lady!


  1. Kudos to the ostrich lady indeed! What an amazing personality and such a vivid image of the ostrich feather hat. It's true that everyone needs to travel their own journey and learn things first hand, but little shared moments like this can help us all along. Thank you!

  2. Assalamo Alikum Hana,
    I've been away from the scene for sometime and have just read about your brave battle with Cancer. I pray that Allah will give you strength to do well inshala. I'm proud of your courage, determination and attitude during this time. Thank you for sharing your strength with us, you are an inspiration to everyone.

  3. Hi, Nahil. Your big day is coming up soon, huh? Wish we could be with you to show how proud we all are of you! Catch up soon.

    Salam, Beacon. It's been a while. Hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by and stay connected.