Clinging to Community

Lymphoma cells This past week has been unusual to say the least.  I have found myself in unexpected places talking about unexpected things.  Our orderly plans to move and to say good bye to our friends have been truncated.  Life has shifted dramatically.  In this shift one of the things I have noticed is the power of connection and the hunger for community. In the elevator up from the main floor of the hospital we eye each other to see what floor each person is headed to.  Floors 13 and 14 are more likely to strike up conversation with one another.  We have something in common that neither in patient (10  & 11) nor cardiac care (12) has.  We have cancer.  And we have our coping mechanisms and stories.  One ride was all about trying to quit smoking.  When we see a new person we help them navigate the floor’s entry protocols.  We begin to recognize each other at the hand wash sinks and in the family rooms.  We can tell who we can joke with, who is having a bad day.  We are connected.One of the best illustrations of the power of connection was lunch yesterday with a friend who’s daughter has had leukemia for 2 years.  They were at Doernbecher’s for an appointment so we met up in the hospital cafeteria and spoke to one another in a new language.  I felt understood so deeply in that moment. Our friendship, always a good one, has changed now.Cancer has shaped my life in the wider world too.  I found myself apologizing to the guy at Hot Lips Pizza...