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I Sit with Bald Women in Borrowed Hair

by Teresa Cooper

I sit with bald women in borrowed hair
Each week we ask, “How are you?”
And each answers, “Fine”

Teresa Cooper image

Far from fine, we do the best we can
While having symptoms and side effects
Trying to focus on the fact we are alive

Through the brilliant efforts of our doctors
we go each week or whatever schedule
and have our bodies poked
only to be filled with poison to kill the cancer

Miracle/poison keeps us going
In a state less than before but alive
No hair … no energy …
yet we do our best to keep our lives intact
and our spirits positive

Bodies damaged/saved by surgery
Now have the look of cars with misaligned headlights
Or those in bad accidents, missing parts
No bold heads here today
Rarely a hatless head in this infusion area

I dream of having hair once more
Thoughts of lashes and eyebrows
Not vanity but normalcy
So we draw our brows and wear our wigs
In attempt to look and feel normal
And make others feel more comfortable around us

People say “You look so well!”
Much to their surprise
One would only wish to feel as good
As others say you look

We have faith …
We suspend the reality of our current situations
Seeking happiness and love of friends and family
Day by day

We have hope … Someday a cure.
We wonder if it will be in time for us

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Teresa Cooper is a two-time cancer survivor living in New City, NY.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, September/October 2008.