Published by pam on Sun, 03/18/2012 - 2:33pm



One of the drains has left my body.  I didn't realize how accustomed I had become to the small vacuum powered grenade dangling from my chest, but now that it is gone, I feel a spring in my step.  At least on the right.  The left is still tethered.  On my way from one appointment to another (when my body was searched high and low, a small kidney tumor was discovered.  Not related to my breast cancer.  Now it must be evaluated before I can be cleared for chemo) I went to look at hats at the hospital cancer care gift shop.  Marc struck up a conversation with someone going through chemo and asked her about her hat.  She raved about it and said she got it at the hospital gift store, so I look to see what they have.  A woman wearing a thick purple wool hat asks me about the scarf in my hand.  It looks like a good length, she says.  We chat about scarves and hats and she says she needs something light weight.  It's getting hot for what she has.  I ask her about her cancer (breast) and her treatment (not the same as mine).  I ask her a million other questions and I realize how incredibly important it is to talk to people making their way through the process.  They are like guideposts along the trail, full of information about how. To navigate what lies ahead.  I've always been such a pill about accepting advice.  I've always been determined to do things myself.  But I don't think that will serve me well in the months ahead.  


It used to be different seeing people in hats, in scarves, with just the tiniest bits of hair peeking out.  They used to scare me as thought Death had forced open a door inside them.  Just a crack. If I got to close, I might be caught up in the vortex.  I might be sucked through into the darkness.  Cancer isn't contagious, but fear is.  I avoided those sallow-faced hatted people, even though I wouldn't admit it out loud.  But they look different to me now.  Sages, wise, oddly strong, survivors. The shadow of Death doesn't scare her.  She has faced it down and lived to tell the tale.   I don't see fear in her eyes and that helps ease the fear in my own.  



She is happy to offer advice.


I am happy to receive it.



Pam, as you may know, I do volunteer work for a group called Support Connection, who provide all FREE services for anyone dealing with breast or ovarian cancer.  They have counselors (all cancer survivors) who will talk to you, answer questions, listen, etc.  Please feel free to reach out to them: or 1-800-532-4290.  If you call them, feel free to use my name (remember, it really is Paget, not Berg) - they all know me!!