I never talk about my cancer at work. Sometimes patients will say little comments that make me wish I knew them on a personal level so that I could share with them why I am "so" pale, but I know it would be unprofessional. Today, however, something happened that made it impossible for me to keep quiet. Today I heard the words, "I have been battling Stage III Melanoma for the past five years."
I couldn't hold back.
I grabbed his arm, and said, "Oh! I have Stage III melanoma too!"
(What can I say? I meet very few people who truly understand this cancer so I got a little excited.)
There we were, a 24 year old girl & a 60 year old veteran, bonding over cancer in the middle of a busy waiting room. We swapped war stories, he told me how he is glad I did not stay with a local oncologist as he is a patient at Duke, and then he looks up quickly at me and says, "Can I pray for you?"
I assumed that this sweet veteran who has his own battle to fight was going to pray for me on his own time. Oh no, this was not his plan. He wrapped my hands with his own, bowed his head, and began to say a beautiful prayer requesting God's healing and love. When he looked back at me again, we both had tears in our eyes. He kissed my hands, looked directly in my eyes, and said, "Take it from me, I am blessed to be here. Please never give up."
I will never give up.