A Parade, a Race, and a New Friend: Experiences in Surviving Breast Cancer

A Parade, a Race, and a New Friend: Experiences in Surviving Breast Cancer
“Would you like tickets?” a stranger asked my husband. She extended a hand showing passes that would allow us to sit on bleachers instead of standing four deep on the sidewalk to watch a parade. My husband looked at the woman dubiously. “How much?” he asked. It was the day before the Indianapolis 500, and downtown was frenzied – jugglers on stilts, vendors selling popcorn, clowns on motorcycles, tiny dogs in designer purses. A man waved a Bible in one hand and a full-size American flag in the other, and I could smell cinnamony churros from a vendor. We had traveled to Indiana for the 100th anniversary of the race, an event my husband never misses on TV. Gary had dreamed of taking our daughter to that race, but I wasn’t sure I’d be well enough to go. Was this woman pulling a scam? Why was she offering tickets? “No charge,” the lady said. “You can have my extras.” She didn’t look like a scammer. Kindness radiated from her face, and she was accompanied by what looked like grandchildren and a friend. Our day had started early, and my feet were swollen from walking. Gary and Lauren were still going strong, but I was fatigued. Those bleachers looked like a dream come true, and I was anticipating the moment when I could rest, even briefly. “My wife is recovering from breast cancer, and she’s tired,” my husband said. “If you’re sure you don’t mind, we’d love your tickets.” Generally I hate telling people that I’m in cancer recovery, but my husband talks about it with ease. When he does, I silently remember that it’s his disease, too; that he endured a year of care-taking, running our family business, and rearing our child pretty much on his own, all under an umbrella of worry. He took the tickets and I sank
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