random acts of connection


I have spoken about the odd phenomenon of how breast cancer survivors seems to sense other survivors. In a room, a store, library, on the street…wherever.

Sometimes we recognize each other as currently going through treatment. Other times it is simply more subtle. It’s weird, but sometimes you just know – I can’t explain it more than that .

I met a new person today at the farmers’ market. We pulled in next to one and other in our cars. This woman got out of her car and I saw the headscarf – she was currently undergoing treatment or had just finished – I did not know.

I don’t know why I decided to speak to her but I did. I do not remember what exactly we first said to each other but it was something along the lines of breast cancer survivors just recognize each other. She mentioned how sometimes people are so awesome with survivors and others not so much. I laughed as I can definitely relate.

Soon we were walking through the market together and just chatting. Ends up she had come to the market from chemo.

It was just one of those oddly serendipitous meetings but I am so glad we spoke. She was so nice and so upbeat and positive. That is something I just appreciate.

We spoke about our cancers, doctors, support experiences, treatment and how people react to breast cancer.

Ends up we live not so far from each other and when we were leaving the market she asked if she could give me a hug.

She went off to her kids and I made my way home to my sweet man and my tall kid. (either I am shrinking or my stepson is growing like a weed!)

Life is funny that way and lately I have been struggling a bit. My transition to Chester County PA physically has been complete for quite a while. But it has not been without its own brand of loss for lack of a better description.

When you move, you don’t realize it initially, but you leave some people behind. It is the whole human nature thing of out of sight and out of mind. And when people you used to see every day do this to you, hell it’s hard- it is not that you had a fight, you just aren’t around and as convenient. I am learning to let some of these people go, but it is still hard. Or it is hard for me.

But one thing breast cancer had taught me is to keep people in my life who can accept me for who I am now as well as who I was, and whom I can count on.

I have also been phasing out some things I used to do like publicity and photography work for a non-profit where I used to live and that was a hard decision . I loved being part of this amazing arts based non-profit for the past few years, but my life isn’t in that community any longer, and I want to do other things. I believe I hurt my friend who runs the non-profit by finally completely cutting the cord, but I had to do it. I have a life in a different area and I have to concentrate on that. And I need to be immersed in my new life.

A lot of my friends from where I used to live need to (I think) see me in my new life. Many of them, although invited out many times have not even been out to see my new home. And that is something that is particularly hard for me. Especially when some have said “well if you have a party we’ll come out.” I know they don’t mean that to be insulting but it doesn’t hit me quite right. Why can’t they come out even if I am NOT having a party?

Making friends as we get older is hard, so in a weird way I am grateful for this new sisterhood I belong to. Because breast cancer made me look at how short life can be and how we need to live and live well, I have learned to be more open in a sense. Not that I was closed off, but just more open to human interaction.

Maybe that odd conversation had here and there won’t mean a brand spanking new friendship, but it can be taken at face value and simply enjoyed. There are a lot of interesting people out there and sometimes to meet them you have to be a tourist in your own life and open to new possibilities.

Today I was just open to new experiences and the result was I met someone really cool…who happened to be a survivor.

Be open to the unexpected. Life is good.

About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
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