During a routine annual check-up with her physician, Arlene learned that after 15 years in remission, her lung cancer had returned.
“The cancer had come back – an aggressive one. Surgery and chemo. That’s when it all began,” shared Arlene.
Arlene knew that chemo meant she would likely lose her hair and she wanted to prepare herself for the physical change and the accompanying emotions she might experience. Her daughter-in-law mentioned that CancerCare had resources that could help.
After making an appointment at the New York City-based CancerCare Wig Clinic, Arlene and a friend met with an oncology social worker to discuss her treatment and the challenges she was facing. She was also fitted for her new wig and given a care package to help her through the next few months.
“I went to CancerCare and was treated royally,” said Arlene. “I was expecting the hair loss, but it was still a shock to my system. But I didn’t make myself or anyone else nuts over it and, before I turned around, I had hair again.”
Arlene was touched by the care she received and made a donation to the organization and wrote a poem about her experience. “I made a donation in honor of the CancerCare staff who just made my day in many ways with their caring and comfort.”
Daze of Chemo
By Arlene C.
The doctor called, “We have to talk”
I set the date to learn my fate
Surgery then chemo
The next step was to embark with my children Susan and Mark
Where to go for my chemo?
Mark thought I should be closer to him in Sag Harbor for treatments
But we let that rest and went with the alternative that was best
The calendar was marked for the days, the hours, but not my mind or body
Mark and Susan were with me all the way
I made a promise I couldn’t sway or betray
Where do I begin?
The daze of chemo was upon me
I was never good at acting
But in the end I knew I was going to win a trophy as the best robot
Where do I begin?
My battle began with anxiety, brain loss – especially names
Stomach problems, low blood pressure
All of this caused by the very strong dosage given
However they changed the recipe and I was cooking again
And then the crowing glory
I lost all my hair
Susan bought me a hat
CancerCare gave me a wig
And I amassed some turbans, etc.
Everyday became a chore
Trying to match headwear with outfits
The one good perk was I didn’t have to buy shampoo
Six months later, after two PET scans, I’m clean
Is there anything else to do but thank God and all my friends that prayed for me?
Not done yet
I had my own unveiling
Tossed the turbans, etc. and showed my head off
Everyone loved my new hair do
I truly felt I went from being a robot to queen for a day