A quick-shop sixty miles from home is not exactly the place where you might expect to have a mini-confab with other cancer patients. But there I was...and there they were.
I was at the register, paying for a couple bottles of juice and a handful of snacks. The clerk asked if I had "membership savings" or some such thing. I smiled and said, "No. But does that mean I get no special considerations?"
For the life of me, I can't imagine why I blurted out my next words. They were unplanned and certainly not serious, for I was laughing when I said them. I had tugged my scarf a bit higher on my bald forehead and said, "What about cancer? Does that count?" In terms of special consideration, that is. And, then, I thought to myself, "Wow, that was a silly thing to say!"
The clerk, a young woman about 35 years old, looked me straight in the eye and replied, "I had cancer. Three times!"
And then, the woman behind me added this, "My daughter had leukemia when she was nine months old!"
We looked at each other in amazement. The clerk was in remission. The daughter was well. I reassured them that my hair-destroying chemo was treating me kindly.
As she gave me my change, the clerk grasped my hand tightly, sharing her heartfelt "Be well!". The three of us looked at each other one last time as we parted.
I left, thinking, "Wow!"