Everyone Deserves to Feel Like a Cancer Fighting Super Hero

Last week my friend Anna accompanied me to my chemo appointment, where she surprised me with a superhero costume theme. We each had a cape, a t-shirt with a personalized Superman-like symbol, and a sequined tiara. Each week when there has been a fun theme, the staff at my oncology clinic and many of the patients have enjoyed it. Sometimes people at the clinic look at us like we are strange, but for the most part there are smiles and words of appreciation.

Anna and I
My Super Kelly logo (with chemo tubing)

We were approached by one patient who asked in an excited voice if we were cancer-fighting super heroes. That moment has resonated with me. I felt an instant connection with her and once we were back in the chemo room she sat across from me and we exchanged names and she gave me a few of her magazines to read. She saw that the symbol on my chest was in blue and asked if I have ovarian cancer. I said no, that I have endometrial cancer and that its color is peach. I told her I’m not a fan of peach as a color, so I’m just winging it.

Super Anna

Super Kelly

As my chemo drugs dripped away and Anna and I visited, I noticed my new friend sleeping quietly in her chair. I never had the chance to ask her the type of cancer she is dealing with. I found myself thinking about how happy it made her and I wished I’d had an extra cape for her. I started thinking about how wonderful it would be to make smaller capes to take to a children’s ward. If anyone deserves to be celebrated and made to feel like superheroes, it’s children spending their childhood stuck in hospitals and doctor’s offices. I’m not sure how this will manifest itself, but I would love to accomplish that somehow.

My monkey cape
Monkey detail

When I was done with chemo that day and got up to leave, my new friend was still sound asleep. I didn’t want to wake her and told her companion to tell her it was nice meeting her. I know there is a slim chance that we will see each other again. Patients are on different schedules and even though I’m there every week there is a chance that her normal day isn’t the same as mine or that she doesn’t come in as often. It’s okay. I’m glad when I get to meet kindred spirits, even if briefly.

And now, back to battling cancer and living my life. And yes, I like sleeping in my superhero shirt and I have my cape on standby, in case the world signals that it needs a cancer-fighting super hero.

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