Last Friday was Mandela day….
Officially the birth day of Nelson Mandela and a day where many South Africans donate 67 minutes of their time to be of service in some way to others and their communities.
I was contacted earlier last week by the radiation bunker administrator to ask if I would be interested in attending a CANSA initiative for Mandela Day. This would consist of a pamper session held at one of the participating beauty salons followed by a “tea” hosted by a local supermarket chain as part of THEIR 67 minutes.
UMMM let me think about that…………………………………………………………YES!!!!
I mean C’MON there are not too many advantages of being a cancer patient!
So on Friday morning I showed up bright eyed and bushy tailed (haired) at the allotted salon for my appointment. I greeted the friendly receptionist and asked for my designated pamperer. The receptionist took one look at my hair and said “ok we will have to change your treatment, your hair is too short”.
Now, I had already had this discussion with Pete the night before telling him that I would probably ask for a manicure instead of the hair option as I couldn’t imagine what they would be able to do with my hair (not everyone’s a Kirsten after all) 🙂
I tried to be like all so cool about her remark, after all it wasn’t untrue or anything I hadn’t already concluded………………….but I have to admit, it stung.
The substituted mini Mani was great! My therapist said they had to change a few other appointments from the hair wash and blow dry option to the mani and pedi as quite a few of the ladies had very short hair…………ummm ya think?
I left her station with beautifully glittering nails. Which sadly lasted less than 67 seconds after I reached in my bag to pull out my car keys and glasses? Apparently I should also have insisted on a chauffeur – to give my nails a chance to dry *slaps head*
I arrived at the tea with a few nail polish casualties but fortunately for me, showing off a perfect manicure was not a prerequisite to being granted access!
I ended up sitting at a table with four other ladies. Three of which were related: a mother, a daughter and cousin: one a breast cancer survivor of 12 years and 2 soldiers – one battling breast cancer and the other ovarian cancer.
A representative of Reach for Recovery sat down next to me. Now this is an amazing group of women – all volunteers and all breast cancer survivors. Deirdre, one of these ladies, came to see me in hospital after my mastectomy – she offered counselling, prostheses if I needed them, gave me comfort cushions for under my arms and those fantastic little bags which allowed me to carry my drains around with ease. We spoke of the possibility of me becoming one of their volunteers, but I can only do this once I have been in remission for at least a year.
We were given a talk by the local CANSA coordinator. She issued words of support, encouragement and gave us some very scary stats including this: 90% of cancers are reportedly caused by environmental factors, only 10% by genetics…….!
I also met up with some old chemo and radiation buddies and had some (non CANSA approved) snacks. We shared stories, advice and contact numbers. The salon incident was quickly forgotten when most of my buddies marvelled on just how long my hair was – I guess it really is all about perspective…..
It was an amazingly uplifting way to spend 67 minutes and I’m sure Mr Mandela would have approved!
“The best way to find yourself in the service of others” Mahatma Gandhi
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” John Bunyan
“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” Mandy Hale
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”. Muhammad Ali