>The Lemonade Club and A Little Rambling.

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In Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, Kris Carr talks about some members of the Cancer Babes (her posse – all women diagnosed with cancer of some type) who lost their hair and the ways they dealt with it.  One woman shaved her head early on and had a wig party with her friends.  Her friends went with her to help her pick out an assortment of wigs. There were some great photos of everyone having fun trying on wigs – some elegant, some down right silly.

This reminded me of a wonderful book by Patricia Polacco – The Lemonade Club.

Amazon Product Description:

Everyone loves Miss Wichelman’s fifth-grade class—especially best friends Traci and Marilyn. That’s where they learn that when life hands you lemons, make lemonade! They are having a great year until Traci begins to notice some changes in Marilyn. She’s losing weight, and seems tired all the time. She has leukemia—and a tough road of chemotherapy ahead. It is not only Traci and Miss Wichelman who stand up for her, but in a surprising and unexpected turn, the whole fifth-grade class, who figures out a way to say we’re with you.

I love Patricia Polacco’s books. They touch on real life situations that we sometimes forget that children may have to face. Spoiler alert:

In this book, when Marilyn loses her hair due to chemotherapy, the entire class, including Miss Wichelman, shaves their heads.  Soon everyone’s hair begins to grow back – everyone’s but Miss Wichelman. Turns out she has breast cancer.


Even more of spoiler:

This is not a sad book. (Ok, that’s as far as I’m going to go without giving you the ending to the story.)  Even if you have not been touched by cancer in some way, even if you do not have any young children in your life – you should read this book.  As are many of Polacco’s books this one is based on a true story. Polacco does her usual excellent job of taking a tough subject and turning into a touching and beautifully written children’s story.

Since I won’t be going through chemo, I will get to keep my hair. But I suspect that if I had to shave my head, that I have a group of wonderful people who wouldn’t shave their head, but would have a fun wig party with me.  Prior to the diagnosis, my self esteem was at some pretty low levels due to some other drama in my life.  I had convinced myself that people only liked me if I could help them out in some way and when certain events made me feel as if I’ve been dropped like rotten fruit, I allowed that to impact the way I looked at myself.  One positive about all this cancer mess has been that I realized that way of thinking of was just dumb. Sometimes you never realize just how loved you are until you are feeling so low, you’d have to look up to just see depressed and just at that point, you realize there is a long line of people just waiting to you haul you up.

I won’t say that being diagnosed with cancer has made me realize who my true friends are. That wouldn’t be fair. Deep down I actually had a pretty good idea of that even when I was wallowing in self pity over the other drama in my life.  Cancer did open my eyes to just how many wonderful people are in my life. The number is very large.  However, I have had some people shy away once they learned about the diagnoses. Most of them were Facebook Friends that I have not seen in 20 years and probably wouldn’t be in touch with if it weren’t for Facebook anyway.

And I really can’t blame them. Cancer may be just a word, not a sentence, (John Diamond) but it is still a scary word.  The word cancer can stump the most eloquent speaker.  Many people don’t know what to say when they learn someone has it.  Others just don’t want to be anywhere near cancer. Not that people believe that cancer is catching, but I think all of us deep down sometimes feel that “trouble” can be contagious.

So what do you do when life gives you lemons? Do you make lemonade or do you throw them back and tell life to send you chocolate?

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