Tuesday, September 15, 2009
So do you ask?
We were off on our adventures today - lighthouse, museum, old fort, beach, and dinner later on - and I saw a woman with short hair and wearing a t-shirt for a Komen breast cancer walk some place far away, like Alabama. Now is she a volunteer, did she participate, or is she a person living with cancer? This isn't really something you can walk up and ask someone you dont know. I mean there are things you can say to a total stranger like 'do you have the time?' or 'do you know where route 20 is?'. But it is not really considered good form to say to someone 'excuse me, did you/do you have cancer?'.
The world is littered with the debris and detritus of all these fund-raising/networking/world saving/cancer curing events such as t-shirts, bracelets, jewelry, tote bags, water bottles, and any other thing you can possibly think of with the cutesy little 'cancer' tag. But just because someone is wearing it doesn't mean you can ask them. Basically its just rude. So I didn't ask if she was someone just out of treatment with a haircut by chemo, but I was a little curious and wouldn't have been surprised.
But as I think about it, as a cancer person, I don't usually let anyone know my medical history unless they know me. Its not their business. And there is nothing worse than some absolute idiot coming up to you and saying all sorts of platitudes like 'you poor thing', 'you are too young for cancer', 'you are such a fighter to be dealing with this'. I need a wise guy retort for those - but usually I am too blindsided by the morons to come up with anything...