The other day during my dog walking duties, a large black SUV pulled up next to me. I run into lots of people in each of the neighborhoods in which I house/pet sit, so I was not alarmed—it’s usually someone who knows the dog I’m walking. I was shocked to look up to see the husband of a former co-worker, neither of whom I’ve seen in over 6 years. He’d aged a little so it took me a second or two to recognize him. Yet, he recognized me from behind (and I was wearing bulky layers, long coat covering my ass, so get your mind outta the gutter), from down the street.
Since I lost my hair in chemo, and it continues to come back soooo sllooowwwly, I’ve felt incognito. (Actually, I’d like to be incognito, for a number of reasons, but that is another post.) I hated my short, super-curly (like Gene Wilder or Tom Hiddleston curly) hair so much that when people who had not seen me in a while (and did not know about my cancer) would mention my short hair, I was quick to say I’d had chemo…like OMG you don’t think I’d have this hairstyle on purpose do you?!!
But I realize that I’ve changed so much mentally that I’m kind of surprised when people I associated with years prior to diagnoses know me. I guess I look close enough to how I looked before that I am recognizable, but me, the real me, has changed, all because in split second in 2010 I moved from the land of the well to Cancer Land. Even though I currently have NED, I am still a resident. As long as I have to keep my various oncology doctors in the contact list in my phone, I feel like I am under their care (especially since I still see them twice a year—two times too much). I look forward to the day I can delete oncologists from my phone’s contact list.