Facial expressions in response to you are comical. Last night, I was explaining my next surgery to a curious Public Affairs colleague. She thought I already had boobs. I saw all the typical facial expressions in a five minute period. The, I’m so sad for you face. This is gross face. I’m happy it’s not me face. I have no idea what to say face. I’m uncomfortable face. I’ll just pretend cancer doesn’t exist face. And finally, I’m proud to know you face. After thousands of these conversations, I’m used to the rollercoaster of emotions people go through when talking to me. Even doctors and nurses do it when I’m new to a clinic. “Wait a second, you had breast cancer? But, you’re so young (Insert perplexed look here).” No shit Sherlock, my story isn’t the norm, but is still happened. I just smile, and agree. Sometimes, I have fun with it and say, “My parents always told me I was an old soul, guess it finally caught up with me.” Or, “I really just like pink so I joined the club.”
I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter what ends up on faces. What matters is people walk away with a story that is true. Hopefully they walk away, educated about you.