Cancer Kind

Maybe you have heard this phrase before: cancer kind.

A friend said it to me in reference how well those with cancer are treated, wherever they go.

Cancer Kind

As a person still undergoing treatment for cancer, whose hair has yet to return, I can verify this is a phenomenon.

Countless times people have been cancer kind to me, especially when out in public. Upon seeing my bald head, folks have offered me their space in a long line, they have gone out of their way to allow me a clear path in jammed grocery store aisles, they have offered their condolences in hopeful smiles, have offered me help in all ways, because, in our society, we are kind to those who appear seriously compromised.

The first few times I experienced the overt kindness, I was somewhat confused as I hadn’t been the recipient of such over-the-top helpfulness or kindness in the past. Before cancer, I had been a regular schmo, living in a regular world of simple politeness or general indifference. Now, I come home and regale Garry of the amazing kind people I come across in my day.

Of course, forgetting that I was being treated for cancer, forgetting that I was bald (this phenomenon has lasted from the moment we shaved my head), made me temporarily believe a shift in the Universe had happened and folks were simply getting their kind on.

Nope.

I’d come home, pass by a mirror and suck in my breath in surprise: I’m bald! That explained everything, which always left me sad that folks were going out of their way to be kind to me, yet on a normal, fully-haired day, the kindness meter would definitely be dialed down.

What about those who are ill, yet you can’t see their illness?  What of those who don’t have a pop-culture favored affliction? Why aren’t we extending cancer kind to the mass of humanity?

It’s easy to love on those whose infirmities present themselves as such, it’s easy to offer kindness because our sympathies are entangled with them, but I proffer that we offer kindness without strings attached, without judgement; offer cancer kindness to all.

Today, my hair is on its way back. I have a 5 o’clock shadow on my previously bald dome. As the days dwindle that I will be offered cancer kind, I know I will miss the sweet kindness of strangers based on the simple fact that they cared based on my appearance, yet have learned a valuable lesson in offering my own kindness, no matter a demonstrated ailment.

We suffer in ways that are silent and mute to the world, all of us. Let us remember our own private suffering when confronted with the opportunity to be cancer kind to those we meet along the way, so that we too may be a vessel of unexpected love for those who need it most, which, you know, is everyone.

 

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Comments

  1. so true. everyone is dealing with something – kindess goes a long way!
    elle
    southernellestyle.com

  2. Well said, Patti. We all could go a little further, try a little harder to be more kind to everyone. Thank you for the inspiration to at least try to make that effort.

  3. Well, of course you are correct, but my efforts to be commonly courteous to everybody on a daily basis don’t always reap expected rewards! I step aside to let someone pass in the grocery store and she PLANTS herself right in front of the shelf I’m shopping, taking her sweet old time without a glance back. I snap up someone’s dropped grocery list and hand it back, she won’t even say “thank you.” When I decide I’m soooo done with this nicey-stuff, I do my own snatching of groceries without moving aside – and then I spend the rest of the day feeling guilty for being a rude slob!

    • A no good dead goes unpunished sorta thang! I understand this as well and have done as much. I try to remember that it isn’t the reward of returned kindness I’m after, as we will never know what our offering has done for another’s heavy impolite heart, but the act offered solely for the intended’s uplifting. Easy to write; hard to do sometimes.

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