Women Warriors Part Two

Greetings to all! A splendid Sunday to everyone!
It is only 87.8 degrees here in East Central Florida, at 10:11 AM. Whew! It has been a hot spell! Where is the cool air?
Fortunately, we live in AC here; what a blessing! I think Florida would be pretty deserted much of the year accept for that!
Now, getting down to serious stuff, we all are aware that it is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I don’t think that we should overlook the people who are battling other types of cancers, though. Why don’t we have other months, or dates, to pay tribute to our other warriors?
I have the pleasure of knowing a woman warrior who battled lymph cancer last year, and into early this year. Sheryl is a member of eWomen Network, and a talented musician.
Friends of Sheryl’s, including friends from church, and eWomen network created a schedule of volunteers to help her. These friends took Sheryl to chemo, stayed with her during chemo, helped with pet care, and stayed with Sheryl when her husband, Leon, had to be out of the home/office.
I had the privilege of taking Sheryl to chemo and staying with her for one session. I was glad for the opportunity, as I had no real experience with cancer treatment. I have heard many stories from friends, co-workers, and patients, so this gave me more insight into their journeys.
I have a new poem that I wrote last week, and I would like to dedicate it to Sheryl, and many others who have battled cancers. Here it is:

The Invader Within

Was the cause environmental,
Or was it family genetics?
How did this happen?
Perhaps, it was just karma
Bringing me this dark, unwanted gift
This cancer

The alien DNA
Hidden in the structure
Of the genome
Its time bomb releasing
Microscopic invaders burrowing
Into tissue, my tissue

Facing myself in the mirror,
Today, chopping long dark hair
Shorter and shorter still
Wondering who is this stranger
Who stares back
Stone-faced and resolute?

I begin this deeply personal
Uphill battle, or is it downhill?
Warrior stance—I am ready
“Let’s do this!” to my husband
We travel silently to chemo
Unspoken words blowing through
Our minds like autumn leaves

He holds my hand as we begin
IV dripping, we watch morning TV
Oblivious to the screen, thoughts
Still flowing, overflowing, synchronized
With the IV releasing the drug/poison
I will it to find the interloper
“Seek out the alien intruder, now!”

Many weeks have passed, now
Time has slowed to a turtle’s pace
I have sat in that recliner
Many hours, with IV piercing my flesh,
Chemo flowing, a soft cap covering the baby fuzz
Where my hair used to be
I turn my mind inward, pray and give thanks

Liquid ninja’s course through my veins

“Finish it”, I pray, “amen”.

You can access Sheryl’s music and story at:

5 thoughts on “Women Warriors Part Two

  1. What a lovely poem Joan Ellen. I've never been through cancer, but I suspect you're right…is it an uphill battle or a down hill battle. It's so nice to hear that you've been able to help Sheryl. She'll be in my thoughts & prayers.I know it's been hot in Florida. We were there in July. We've had lots of rain here in the mountains of NC and we're either going to rot, mildew or rust.Sam


  2. Joan Ellen,This is a very touching poem. I sure hope Sheryl is doing well now. I'm so glad you were able to help her through this very difficult time. I know it's been hot in Florida, but on Sunday evening, we got down to freezing here in the mountains. I would like to have some of the sunshine from Florida.


  3. Joan Ellen,It was great to see you at the library. I'm glad you got to see some pretty leaves driving across Franklin and got to eat at the chocolate place. Have a wonderful vacation here in the mountains. The leaves are really pretty today.


  4. Hi Joan, I like your poem. The journey through cancer is one of those things no one really knows until they have to face the pain and horror of the whole thing. Your poem has a great insight, however.I'm glad Sheryl has such a good group of friends for support. God bless her.


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