I wouldn't compare myself to somebody in the armed forces, but I often hear about soldiers who have left the army and struggle to fit back into civilian life - this is how it sort of feels for me and possibly many others in my situation. It's weird. Very weird, because when you start getting better it's not obvious that you're ill, your hair starts coming back, you generally look healthier and most people don't notice that you have cancer.
I went into town earlier today to get a bottle of water, when I walked into the shop the security things went off (please excuse me I don't know their proper name!). I was immediately stared at by everyone in the shop, the staff were shouting to the manager and she ran down an aisle towards me. This alone really ticked me off, I'm already very self conscious about the way I look as a result of my illness and all these people were staring at me as if I was a theif when I was totally innocent.
Once the woman got to me she asked if I had sun cream in my bag and asked to see the code, but I said to her "I also have a port inside of me which sometimes goes off when I walk into shops" and she just ignored it and looked at me as if I was making up some excuse. Obviously not many people know what a port is or understand it unless they're a medical professional or have experienced cancer themselves or within family/friends so I understood her disbelief in a way.
The thing that gets me though is it went off as I walked in to the shop, so how could I have stolen anything before I'd even got in there!? Whilst in the shop everyone still seemed weary of me and looked at me with disgust as if they were all high and mighty. I was quietly thinking to myself 'don't stand there looking down your noses and me and judging me, I'm a nice guy who's been through a lot - if only you knew half of it!'. I am not afraid to admit that I was angry and felt hugely disrespected.
It just seems like now I am on the mend (hopefully) nobody knows what I have been through and I don't feel like a normal person anymore. I feel like an outsider and I have spent so long in and out of hospitals that it has become the norm to me. It feels comfortable being in the boxing gym and at home but when I enter a public place it just doesn't feel normal. Hopefully soon this will not be so and I will feel comfortable in public.
Just before I finish I would like to clarify that my port does actually make the shop security alarms to go off, it has happened several times in several stores but this is the first time I've been confronted and accused of shoplifting. For anyone that knows me that's something I would never even consider.
I know this is not a positive post, but I thought it would be beneficial for others to understand how I feel and through writing it's a good way to get things out and say things that I couldn't explain as well through speaking.
Enjoy this nice weekend everyone.