The Perks of Having Cancer!

An Unlikely Angel

For those of you who know me personally, or have read my book, it should come as no surprise that I believe in angels. Just as I am sure that there is a Divine being called God, who oversees the workings of the universe, I am equally sure that He has assigned angels to each and every one of us to watch over, guide, and help protect us. I also believe that the loving energy of the angels is sometimes manifested to us through a fellow human being, as was the case for me this morning.

Before I introduce you to my angel in human form, let me tell you about the events leading up to the encounter. About 8 weeks ago, I started to feel a nagging little pain in my middle back. The biggest fear that cancer survivors like me live with, is the fear of the cancer returning. Even though I am currently cancer free (as far as I know), for the rest of my life, I have about a 30% chance of having a recurrence. Since breast cancer commonly metastasizes to the lungs, brain or bones, this little back ache caused me serious concern, as you can imagine. It also concerned my doctor enough to send me for a bone scan.

So off I set this morning, Miraculous Medal pinned safely to my bra, in search of St. Claire’s Mercy Hospital for my bone scan. Having visited St. Claire’s a couple of times, I thought I had an idea of how to get there. Once again however, I was reminded to never, EVER trust my warped sense of direction. Before I knew it, I was in the bowels of downtown, driving around aimlessly, making wrong turns, and going up one-way streets…….the other way. A sincere thank you to the “gentleman” in the rusty red truck who was kind enough to chase after me for a quarter of a mile, waving his fist and shouting obscenities, in order to alert me of my mistake. God love him.

I eventually found the hospital, but was not so lucky in finding a place to park. After circling several lots, (and encountering what I assume to be the cousins of rusty red truck guy, judging by their fist-waving and obscenities), I finally decided to hold up illegally in a “permit only” lot. So, fingers crossed, off I dashed for the hospital, already ten minutes late for my appointment.

I am pretty sure the ghosts of the kind old nuns are still roaming the halls of St. Claire’s, pictured above.

One would assume that when one enters the MAIN doors of a hospital, and is standing in the MAIN lobby of said hospital, that one would be greeted by a receptionist of some kind, who could direct lost souls such as myself. Not the case with St. Claire’s. After several trips up and down the elevator, and harassing fellow patients for directions, I finally found a narrow hallway that led to, what looked to be a receptionist of some kind, sitting behind a desk.

“Can you please tell me how to get to Nuclear Medicine?” I asked.

“Take a number and have a seat,” she replied, rather Nazi-like.

“Please, I am just looking for directions,” I pleaded.

“TAKE A NUMBER AND HAVE A SEAT!” she practically shouted. “Or I will call security and have your sorry arse dragged out of here!” Well, she didn’t actually SAY that last part, but I KNOW she was thinking it. So I took my seat.

About 15 minutes later, my number was called.

“I am looking for nuclear medicine”, I timidly repeated, so as to not rouse Nazi-receptionist’s anger again.

“My ducky you are in the wrong area,” she sweetly answered. “Go to the first floor waiting area, take a number and have a seat.”

And so I did. Again.   But this time I was in the right place and before I knew it, I was injected with some radio-active crap and sent on my merry way.

On the drive home, I happened to pass a lovely super-market touting a sale on fresh produce. Since I was lost anyway, I figured there was no harm in checking it out. True to their word, it was a vegan’s paradise: Cauliflowers, 3/$5; shitake mushrooms, $1; and avacados, buy one get one free. I happily filled my cart and set off to the check out.

No sooner had I loaded all 18 items onto the conveyer belt, than I glanced up to see a sign: 8 items or less. I looked to the cashier, “I am so sorry, I didn’t see the sign, it’s my first time shopping here,” I said.

“No worries,” she said, “I’ll check you in.” Just then, her evil step-sister pushed her aside and took over the cash.

“Mam, this lane is for 8 items or less”, she growled at me.

“But by the time I put it all back in the cart, you could have it checked in,” I said with a sheepish smile.

“Mam, PUT YOUR ITEMS BACK IN THE CART”, she practically shouted, “Or I will call security and have your sorry arse dragged out of here.” OK, she did not actually SAY that last part either, but I KNOW she was thinking it!

I hastily re-carted my groceries, all the while enduring Medusa like dirty looks from my fellow shoppers. Red-faced and indignant, I headed off to the next lane, followed closely behind by an elderly gentleman, who looked something like this:

“Don’t mind her. She’s a real bitch, “ said elderly gentleman.

“Thanks,” I smiled, relieved to finally have found a kind soul in this mean city.

“I was going to try to sneak in there myself with ten items, but if she turned me away, I was afraid I might tell her to go shag herself!” he responded. “It’s like this. I am dying of cancer, and I don’t have time for that sort of crap. Life is just too short.”

“I am sorry to hear that, “ I said, “What kind of cancer?”

“It started in my prostate, but now it has spread to my bones,” he continued, “I don’t have a lot of time left and I am not wasting a minute of it around negative people like her.”

As our groceries were being bagged, we went on to share our stories, one survivor to another.   Before I left, he squeezed my arm and said, “Best of luck to you. I’ll say a prayer for good results.” What an angel.

Ok, I will admit, you probably would not hear the words, “bitch”, “shag” or “crap” coming from the mouth of an authentic angel. But after dealing with rusty red truck guy and his cousins, Nazi receptionist, and evil step sister cashier, that man was truly an ANGEL!