The Best Secret To Life
As I experienced the consequences of an unintentional Facebook over share, I shook my head. Shame on me, I had relentlessly warned my children to be extremely careful of what they post online. I should have taken my own advice. Out of desperation, I posted several messages to a relative; I did not think the posts would be displayed on my personal Newsfeed or my HypoGal Facebook Newsfeed but I was wrong. Lesson learned, hopefully.
I have tried to candidly blog about my personal life under the myself assigned name HypoGal. The alias HypoGal has provided me with the artificial confidence to blog about my personal life openly, ask questions and respond without political correctness.
However, the security of the HypoGal mask is limited. I do not want to hid my personal life from my blog and vice versa.
I blog forward in my HypoGal world… As my Father chapter closed, I tried to replenish the shortage of supplies, payment of bills, unread emails and house tasks that I have left to simmer.
My pharmacy needs topped my list. The pharmacy that fills my prescriptions is located in my local market. As I waited in line to pick up my prescription I noticed a woman grocery store employee out of uniform quietly weep in a chair near the pharmacy counter.
I recognized this sweet woman immediately. In the past four years, I have darted in and out of this market and this woman has rung up my groceries dozens of times. Even through her years with chemotherapy, she always had a smile on her tired face, positive kind words were spoken and her upbeat attitude made it seem as if Cancer would never win her war.
As she sat in the chair, I questioned whether if I should approach this exhausted woman. Past conversions with this woman flashed through my thoughts. If I recalled correctly, this definitely was not the closest pharmacy to this woman’s home. I quickly surmised this woman must be at the pharmacy inside the market because to her it felt like home. I approached this woman while her head was halfway lowered into her cupped fingers. I stared down at the top of her sparse white hair that tried to cover with a left part comb over. The coarseness of the sparse hair sat on top of her head was a distinctive sign of the cancer side effects. I said hello and she replied with a louder weep. As the tears cascaded down her cheeks, she looked up at me and her lips formed a halfway smile.
My customer, my customer rung through the air. I immediately understood that I was the customer. I am sure with her thousands of monthly regulars I was a familiar face, but my name was a loss amongst her thousands of regulars. I bent down and gave her a big bear like hug.
It was obvious that she was not well, but I almost asked her the canned question, how are you doing? I was thankful I had caught myself and I shared with her that I missed her greetings, chats and smile.
She stared at me as she told me the secret to life; health. With gulps of short breaths, she went to explain that health is everything and without your health you have nothing, nothing….
With a teary voice she conveyed to me the exorbitant costs of being ill have left her without a steady income, a world filled with loneliness and her emotional well being felt dark.
As I gave her a bear hug I quickly agreed with her that health is everything. She looked at me and said, you just do not understand the importance of health. I nodded and gave her my best.
A mixed range of emotions swirled through my body as I slowly walked away from this woman. I felt terrible for her, but at the same time I was a bit frustrated. I was at the pharmacy to pick up my blood thinners, steroids, a couple of other helpful but toxic prescriptions.
It is just so bittersweet, I thought as I laughed about my body. I found humor that my body appeared to be the picture of health. My life with an invisible disease is often difficult for me to navigate, convey to others or to be seen a with serious progressive disease.
I have understood the value of health and life with an invisible disease for well over a decade. It can frustrate me to look perfectly fine as my body attacks itself and destroys it’s cartilage. My diseases have no cure just handfuls of medications that try to halt the process.
Unfortunately, I understand this woman’s world and then some. Sadly, she battles cancer. However, cancer is a known disease with different treatment results, knowledgeable medical support and community awareness. People with rare diseases frequently battle just to find a diagnosis. Many people afflicted with rare diseases may see dozens of doctors, spend years begin poked and questioned before labels are offered. Once a label is given the treatment plans are frequently limited or non existent.
I do understand the secret to life all too well; health.