While I'm not sure what my white count is right now, I've decided playing it safe is advisable. So I've started wearing a mask in stores. The first time I did this I felt incredibly self conscience! I braced myself for people to stare at me. That didn't so much stare as made a concerted effort to look away. People very studiously avoided looking at me at all.
I don't know if that was better or worse. After a few more times out with a mask (and a talk with the social worker at the cancer center) I'm a little more confident. I'm doing this for myself. And if the bandana on my head doesn't clue them in as to why I have a surgical mask on then not much will.
But why do we look away from what we know to be a serious illness? Trust me, in doing that you aren't giving that person any privacy, respect or concern. You make them feel even more isolated! The only time a person will feel isolated in a crowded store is when they are purposely and obviously ignored.
I'm not saying go up to someone and start talking about cancer to them. But instead of turning away, meet their eyes and give then a smile and keep on going! That one small, noninvasive action helps more than you know. It breaks the isolation and gives people a good feeling of acceptance, mask and all. And maybe, helps them deal with what they are going through themselves.