Monday, April 6, 2009

Masked Identity

Today at the local Whole Foods, while shopping for quick sushi (cooked varieties only! don't worry Dr. Asch!), I startled a little boy. Startled, intrigued, fascinated, I don't know. Actually it wasn't me it was my mask. He stared, and then he got his brother to stare along with him. Finally I said, "You are probably wondering why I am wearing this mask. (he nodded.) I'm wearing it because I have a disease, called leukemia."

Suddenly he moved away from me, behind his mother's legs. I said, "Oh no, no. You don't need to be afraid of me. I can not give you leukemia. Its me who has to protect myself from you! You see I can get sick really easily, when I am out and about I wear this mask to protect myself."

Kids are so good. They at least look for the reasons why, and hem and haw until they get at them. Adults just stare, unless they have a good reasonable, mature cause to ask. Apparently the two TV news spots have been sufficient. On the way out of the store a patron walking in asked, "Aren't you the woman that was on the news last night." I affirmed. As it turns out, his wife has cancer, too. I asked the type (cancers and their treatments are so specific, asking the kind gives insight into their treatment). And we said, good luck, and went separate ways. Compassion. One of the best side effects of Leukemia.

I'm thinking about making T-Shirts that say, Its okay. I have leukemia. Feel free to ask. I'm nice except when on Steroids.

I suppose there's no hope for stardom, since no one will recognize me without a mask on my face. I could be like a super hero in disguise (who writes and loves people and who has very little energy beyond that) Who wears a mask over her nose and mouth so she can see and hear things more clearly without being fixated on what she might say, or distracted by some new diversion. Seeing and Listening are both very good means of touching the subtle.


Lisa Carter said...

Hi Brandi,
I came across your blog today as I was searching for others dealing with ALL. What a wonderful outlook you strong!
My husband was diagnosed with ALL in May '07. He had a stem cell transplant in May '08. The one year anniversary is rapidly approaching. I was so overwhelmed with inquiries from friends and family when he was first diagnosed, that I had to either create a blog or invent a permanent earbud for my phone.
I can't begin to express what we've been through but we are closer than ever. Here is my blog if you are interested:

Sean's Mom said...

I came across your videos at the beginning of the year. You and my son were both diagnosed with ALL the same week. He was 3 then, but turned 4 in March. It's amazing how even though you both have the same disease, your treatments and effects are different. (Seems it's harder on adults.)

I, myself, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in January 2001. I now feel lucky--I only had to have 6 months of chemo. We now have matching port scars--well, actually, they're mirror images. Sean's doctor says he's never treated a child whose parent also had cancer. They claim one has nothing to do with the other--how did we get so lucky? Wish our luck would transfer to the lottery!

If you need some time-filling activity at the hospital, feel free to check out Sean's website at:

Good-luck from some fellow lymphoblasters!

yonder yogin said...

Dear Lisa,
I stopped by your blog, I'm so sorry to read about the recent developments. My prayers are with you.