Interestingly enough, for the first time in my life the opening line of many a conversation these days is “you’re looking great”.
It’s said after a hello and a hug. The person steps back and takes another look and genuinely compliments me on how I look.
I take it as a sincere compliment and know that it is always well intentioned. From their perspective it is often the first time they have seen me in a while and most likely they have read my blog and have a good sense of what I am going through. And if they aren’t reading the blog they are definitely aware of what is going on. When they see me they are genuinely happy that I look better than they expected me to look, and I think that is a very good thing.
The opposite seems to happen when people are not aware of what is going on, these people tend to do what has always occurred in my life – we play our usual verbal fencing game, and I love it as much as I always have. They naturally mock my beard for being white or jokingly ask why I’m dying my hair; many just say I’m trying to look old in order to get some advantage that I guess comes with being stately (J). Or they make wisecracks about how I look like the Dos Equis guy or Fashion Santa in Toronto (look it up, I didn’t know till I Googled it after getting it so often).
Rarely do I tell them till late in our conversation as I don’t want them feeling bad, nor do I want things to change from where we have always been. Either way, if and when I tell them they usually say ‘wow, you look great’.
But this summer something really interesting has happened. I’m still getting the ‘you’re looking great’, but I’m also getting equal amounts of ‘wow, you look way better than last year!’
And somehow this has become my favourite opening salvo. It wasn’t until I was up in Muskoka that I realized how far I have come from last year. Compared to the summer of 2017 when this was brand new, and I was on Pazopanib, this summer seems like a cakewalk. Not as easy as 2014 mind you, but certainly better.
To compare, 2017 was like I was hiking in the depths of Mordor carrying a very heavy weight, this year feels like I am hiking the Bruce Trail again and all I have to carry is my pal** Skinny Man. It’s work, but way more enjoyable.
Regardless of what you say or how you say it I know the sentiment has many meanings. On one hand it’s to congratulate me on how I’m doing, another a natural response to seeing me for the first time and being pleasantly surprised.
And to me, I know it wouldn’t be a statement unless I was fighting cancer.
But I have it, and I love hearing it.
So thanks. I think you look great too!
PS I included photos in case you were wondering what I look like these days. It does keep changing but this is the last 4 months.
**those that know, will be laughing out loud at this point but for those that don’t, just think of that one friend that provides entertainment in lieu of heavy lifting.