I selected the picture of the man with the green cap to be my on-line face. The particular green hat he's wearing reminds me of a very similar hat I bought when my hair fell out two years ago. I remember being very cold that winter -'07 - as I had lost a lot of weight, had sores, boils and puncture marks all over, and generally felt like crap. I bought the hat for nine dollars as it was unusual, all cotton and was stretchy.
I wore it once. My wife smiled at me when I donned it and gave her my look, but it made me feel like an exhibit. That wasn't what she intended, I know that, but I distinctly remember feeling something stab into me. Here I was living the cancer cliche of covering up 'chemo baldness' with a funny hat.
Soon after my family - parents, siblings, children, 27 of us - went away to a bush retreat for a weekend. Lots of fun and we'd never had a clan gathering like that before. I had two brothers out from the States where they live, so that was special.
By the end of the second day I was sick of people taking photos of me. I knew they didn't mean to be invasive, but it was really obvious that one by one my extended family were trying to get photos of me smiling. I didn't say anything. I'm too polite and passive. But I knew they were wanting to have a nice photo of me in case I wasn't there any more. I felt a bit like an exhibit then.
So, I never wore that green hat again. Until now.
I do have a cashmere golf cap, which I love to death. I prefer that. I'm not an exhibit in that. Putting on a show, maybe, but not an exhibit.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.