Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When Cancer Strikes!

It was both a blessing and a curse,

Her chestnut hair was often tangled or worse,

There were times Laura hated her hair,

Conditioners, detanglers, moisturizers,

Sometimes made her wish it wasn’t there,

It had been that way as far back as memory could get,

Uncontrollable when dry, hard to manage when wet,

Laura’s curly hair was admired often, she’d confess,

But it was often a distraction as a frizzy mess,

There weren’t many options on how to fix her hair,

She worried when the wind made it fly here and there,

Often Laura looked out of control and people would rudely stare,

Looking calm, peaceful, and beautiful was her goal,

Forgotten were the comments about her beauty as a whole,

Intelligence and her abilities made her special in all she did,

But under hats, tied up in tight braids, her curly hair she hid,

Laura was a businesswoman, ambitious in every way,

Determined to be a success before she turned old and gray,

Laura was also wife and mother with two children on her mind,

Time for them or even for herself, was very hard to find,

Her husband sent her flowers every month to let her know,

That he would be waiting for her if she decided to take life slow,

Her life was filled from dawn till night, with one job to the next,

Rarely did she spend quality time with Joe, and both were too tired for sex,

Vacations were quick and far away, with pictures to prove she was there,

But wherever she went and whatever she did, she covered up her hair,

Questions from a young M.D. on her routine annual exam,

Made her mad when he said, “We need further tests for you, Ma’am,”

She went through the tests mainly to prove him wrong,

Much to her chagrin blood was drawn, it didn’t take them long,

Laura balked at first when new appointments were made,

But soon she was on her way and memories of the visit began to fade,

 Later that week several phone calls at work interrupted her day,

“We want you to come in, not tomorrow, perhaps yesterday,”

“What’s so important?” she wondered as she brushed tangles from her hair,

“I’ve always been so healthy, so why should I care?”

That night Laura brushed her hair ninety-nine times or more,

With each tug she commented, “Curly hair is such a chore,”

But Laura was restless, the upcoming visit was eating at her,

And at her next appointment she decided she would concur,

“You have cancer,” he said quietly, “we should treat it aggressively,”

“I don’t have time for cancer!” she shouted, “or even time for me,”

“We need to treat it with chemotherapy,” he stated, “as soon as we can,”

“If we want to win this war, we have to make a plan,”

“Doctor, I’m too busy for this, I’ll do chemo in the spring,”

“Then they’ll bury you deep while you sleep, the chemo won’t mean a thing,”

The nurse read a list of changes that Laura might expect,

Foods to eat, nausea, loss of hair, there was little time to reflect,

She could deal with changes in her diet, so why did she care,

Yet on her way home one thought returned, she would lose her hair,

What would she do about work, would everyone lose respect?

And what about her children and her Joe, what would he expect?

“This is not fair,” she thought, “I’ve fought hard to get where I am,

Now I have cancer and that puts me in a jam,”

She’d talk to the doctors and see how this could be fixed,

Laura knew how business worked, maybe this could be deep sixed,

When Cancer Strikes  (Part 2, Birds of a Feather)

She was afraid to hug her husband, likewise with the kids,

With this draining more from her, their marriage would be on the skids,

Joe listened to her intently and suggested a group for her to attend,

“I don’t need a support group,” she countered, “I just want to mend,”

He left a number of the group in case she wanted to call,

For two days Laura wanted nothing to do with the group at all,

But the third evening as she brushed and detangled her hair,

Laura wondered what others did when strangers began to stare,

She called a cell phone number knowing she had to make a choice,

She agreed to go to a meeting when she heard a cheerful voice,

“Come on and join us, we’ll have a special guest tonight,

You’ll find we have lots of fun because no one gets uptight,”

Nervously she brushed her hair as she waited for her ride,

In the car it was explained she’d have to wait outside,

Waiting outside a home made her feel this was not the place to be,

But she only had time to see what they wanted her to see,

Conspicuously placed was a sign stating the group’s name,

“Birds of a Feather” and in smaller print, “We’re all the same,”

Laura was led in at the appointed time but saw one empty chair,

“It’s saved for you,” a woman called out, “and your beautiful hair,”

How could she explain that soon her head would soon be bare,

She was afraid they might laugh and show they didn’t care,

Laura’s fear was growing as she glanced about the room,

She was the only one with cancer and ready to meet her doom,

Businesswomen, single women, mothers, daughters, wives,

These women were all beautiful and had normal lives,

 “We have a newcomer tonight, so welcome Laura with applause,”

The leader continued, “And in case she’s worried, it’s time for us to pause,

We’ve faced our fears before, and sometimes hid our shame,

But together we are strong and our freedom we proclaim,”

One by one each removed a wig to reveal her hair was gone,

“We’re all in this together, no one is all alone,”

Their smiles were wide and welcoming as the leader took her hand,

“When you can, let Laura know that you really understand,”

When the meeting was over Laura returned home,

She kissed her children and showed them her comb,

She explained her disease and told them about her hair,

They answered, “We love you, mommy, we don’t care,”

Her husband, Laura learned, was compassionate and kind,

He loved her for her heart, her ambition, and her mind,

They decided to fight cancer together and strive for the best,

And they’d spend more time living and loving with zest,

The cancer went into remission and Laura grew back her hair,

And whether tangled, frizzy, or wind blown, now she combs with flair.

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