Content note: this post discusses the topics of suicide and death.
I had a pretty good treatment day recently.
I didn’t even get upset that a new nurse tried and failed to get my infusion started. What’s another blown vein, anyway?
The infusion team was excited because they thought they’d seen a picture of me on a Facebook ad (it wasn’t me) – they’d even saved a screenshot to show me. My conversations with the nurses were light-hearted before I transitioned into catching up on emails.
I hid myself in my favorite corner where I can sometimes pretend I’m the only one in the room and I nearly forgot I was in a building with the word “cancer” all over the front of it.
I love the infusion team. And I better love them – these are treatments that I’ll need for the rest of my life unless this drug stops working or a better treatment shows up. I’m what you call incurable.
But as I was leaving my appointment I almost walked into a vendor table being set up for an event. On the table was a sign reserving it for a lingerie business. And then my eyes caught something else: pink.
Pink was everywhere. Rose petal fabric. Pink shirts. Pink everything. Pink was in the air. It smelled pink.
October. Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I can’t explain how crushing it was to leave my better-than-usual treatment, then turn the corner into an explosion of pink for an event that screamed, “You’re in someone else’s space.”
I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. The infusions I receive for my disease happen in a medical complex named Mercy Cancer Center. Every time I enter the building I see the name in big bold letters above the door and behind the check-in desk. While I wait for my appointment I see poster-sized lists of support groups and special events specifically for people with cancer.