Monday, September 16, 2019

For those with breast cancer, mundane tasks like grocery shopping can be a challenge.

Before cancer, grocery shopping was a pleasurable experience. Up and down the rows, I'd search out new and interesting products now matter how long it took, now it's a challenging task. Lymphedema and back pain make my trips to the store short and fast, or at least that has been the case for the past year or so, but now that I've discovered online shopping and free pickup, things have become much easier.

This weekend, I ordered groceries through Kroger's online service. The process was quick and easy only taking about fifteen minutes. After I'd loaded my card, I inserted my credit card information and voila! I was done. My order, the site said, would be ready at my specified time the next day. I was grateful I hadn't had to go through the process of driving to the store, wandering the aisles, choosing my food items, loading them into the cart, unloading them onto the conveyor belt and then, reloading them into the car. That would have taken more than an hour and I didn't have that precious time to waste.

The following day, I received a text alert reminding me to pickup my order at the specified time. Happily, I drove to the store to retrieve the order. Sitting in the parking lot, I read through some emails as the store employee loaded everything carefully into my car. Within minutes, the employee was closing the tailgate on my vehicle and I was off. Smiling all the way home, I was grateful.

After bringing all the groceries inside and putting them away, it hit me. There had been a team of people who'd put my order together. Looking at the receipt, I saw about 8 names listed with a big smiley face and a hope you have a great day written beneath it. My "pullers" as they called themselves, had each been assigned separate sections. As they worked together, they made the task of assembling my order an easy one.

Sitting down at the table, I decided those workers needed to understand how vital they were to people like me, people with physical limitations like breast cancer, lymphedema, chronic fatigue, and back pain. Taking out a piece of stationary, I began to compile my thoughts and drafted a note of gratitude.

My husband agreed to drop of the note the next day on his way home from work. I hoped it would be received by the manager of the online ordering department and that it might possibly be shared with other staff.

The following day, I got a call from Kroger. The manager of the online shopping crew called to tell me they'd received my note. She thanked me profusely and said it was rare for them to receive any type of thanks much less a handwritten note. She commented on the fact that I was a breast cancer survivor. I'd shared that information in hopes of helping her understand the importance of their online service, especially when I was having one of my bad days. The manager understood and responded that she had a dear friend with breast cancer who had just started chemotherapy. We talked a few more minutes about the devastating effects of breast cancer before ending our conversation.

I couldn't help wondering if every woman knows someone touched by breast cancer. Perhaps not a close friend or relative, but surely, if every woman thought hard enough, even a distant acquaintance  would come to mind. Would it even be possible to find one women unfamiliar with the disease? I doubted it.

Breast cancer is so prevalent in our world today and it's sad to say so many have been touched by it.

Thankfully, there are companies, like Kroger, who make our lives a little easier by offering their online services. And next month, the shelves are going to be filled with pink ribboned products, but I think I'll pass on those when placing my order. I don't need a constant reminder of breast cancer. All I have to do is look down, there's a permanent reminder just under my nose.


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