“All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” 

Tahereh Mafi

Merrraim-Webster’s definition of compassion is “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”

I have been travelling recently, both for pleasure and for work to attend conferences.  Whilst this is enjoyable, there are moments of discomfort for me, especially the airport screenings.  This is a constant reminder of my mastectomy and that I am wearing a prosthetic breast.  Whilst I am not upset at wearing the breast, the reaction(s) of the staff and their actions can be distressing at times.

Yesterday at my local airport was a stark difference to another visit at a regional airport in Queensland.  Whilst having the body scanned, the male worker noted that there was an indicator alerted, I mentioned about my prothesis, and he discretely called his female colleague over.  I mentioned my prothesis and she gently and discretely patted me down and I was called through the screening.

During June, I had been travelling and was at many airports, Adelaide, Darwin, Townsville and Mackay.  The one that stood out was Mackay, where once again the breast prothesis was alerted as an issue.  The female took me to a room for “privacy” and then didn’t close the window as she patted me down everywhere! I realise that the staff need to perform their duties as required, however, the compassion during these times waiver from staff member to staff member.

I am not certain how common a prosthetic breast is, perhaps more women are going for reconstruction post a mastectomy and I am always hopeful that women do not have the same experience as me and can opt for a less invasive surgery, such as a lumpectomy. 

My main concern is the staff conducting screenings at airports and am ever hopeful that I meet one, like yesterday, who has compassion when patting down people as this goes a long way when already feeling vulnerable in a very public setting. 

You never know what a difference you can make to one person, thank you.