Finding unexpected humour in cancer

I work in a wonderful place. Yes, almost everyone who comes through our doors has cancer and is seeking help. But along with the sadness, we find unexpected moments of hope, joy and even humour.

Last week, my colleague and I met with a warm, wonderful  lady from a foundation that offers services for people with brain tumours. We sat and talked for over an hour about the programs each of our organizations offers and how we can help each other and the people we serve.

Then she shared that, on a personal basis, she is a breast cancer patient advocate. She had a full mastectomy followed by reconstruction surgery because she carries the BRCA gene.  This led to a discussion on a recent recall of breast implants, bathing suits and bras for women who have had mastectomies, etc. My colleague is a nurse who works closely with our clientele, so she was very interested in getting information on these items that she could relay to women at our centre.

This discussion came at the end of the meeting and we were all standing and making our way to the conference room door.  The room has glass walls on three sides so anyone walking by can see into the room. (It is, however, on the second floor of our building. Our programs and services are offered on the main floor and basement, so patients never come upstairs. But staff, visitors, volunteers do).

Our guest looked quickly at the glass walls, gripped the hem of her blouse with both hands and pulled it up to her neck.  “I’m wearing one of those bras now; look how beautiful it is,” she said. And it was! She wore a beautiful, feminine, lacy slip of a garment that we all admired. She then lowered her blouse and we continued our discussion.  The gesture seemed perfectly natural at the time: It was a sharing of information among women to help other women.

It’s only afterwards that the incident made me laugh because, really, where else could something like that happen in a business meeting?

One thought on “Finding unexpected humour in cancer

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