As of this writing, there are now at least 7 breast cancer patients/survivors in the village I live in and nearby, including myself. The latest breast cancer patient is an elegant lady, known for being the leader of the community for a long time. It’s been a long while since we last saw her attend Mass at the chapel. She’s also a generous chapel donor. The treasurer of the Homeowners’ association who is also actively assisting in the chapel kept on asking me about how I found out about my breast cancer. I remember her asking me about three times, I thought she herself found the lump in her breast. It turned out she’s doing it for Mrs. V.
And then, there were whispers of “Did you know about Mrs. V?” which the others tried to hush or deny until last Sunday when somebody told us of the details – that she is already undergoing chemotherapy prior to mastectomy. Maybe she didn’t want people who know her to see her wearing a scarf to cover her bald head, that is why she’s been avoiding gatherings and attending the Sunday Mass at the chapel. Only a few friends were allowed in on her illness details.
When I was undergoing chemotherapy, I just heard Mass on the TV in the first week. I tried to get back to my former activities in the chapel the following weeks wearing a wig. I even was able to assist as a commentator when the commentator was absent although I was conscious of the people looking at my wig.
I would like to presume that she is hiding her illness except to close friends due to the fact that she thinks the others will be happy that she is seriously sick. I did, too and I regretted that decision. My former officemate who found a lump in her breast asked for prayers on Facebook and it turned out to be benign. I could have more people praying for me then before I had the biopsy. Who knows, storming the gates of heaven with prayers could work a miracle!
I don’t think the secret can be hidden forever. It’s bound to come out, anyway.