Irene, Iowa – Population 1,000

People with different beliefs are more alike than we think.  Charlotte was about to get a lesson in setbacks.  The town of Irene and The Button Factory were going to experience what every small town goes through.  Enjoy Part 3

Not Cancer

CHARLOTTE JOHNSON SAT AT at the receptionist’s desk with her usual smile.  She had worked at The Button Factory for twenty years.  Almost half of her forty-three-year-old life.  She started as a typist.  Several times she was given opportunities to move beyond that position.  Each time she said she would rather become a receptionist if a position ever opened.  Three years after working at the company, the receptionist position opened.

Charlotte took to the position like she was made for it.  Her warm personality disarmed angry customers.  It often helped to calm a disgruntled employee too.  Around the company, Charlotte became known as ‘The Peacekeeper.’  She accepted the name proudly.  It fit her.  Most of her coworkers knew why she took to the name so well.

Charlotte had a nervous condition.  Confrontation only worsened it.  If Charlotte got into a disagreement with anyone, she broke out in hives.  If she thought someone was mad at her for disappointing them, she got hives.  If she and her husband, Randy, argued, she got hives.  Any displeasure that Charlotte experienced was pressed down deep inside her.  Her philosophy was that it was better to eat the stress than to regurgitate it.  This method worked for Charolette until she got cancer.

Some people say that was how she got cancer.  Too many toxins stayed inside her for too long.  That was their opinion.    

After work on a Monday evening, Charlotte and Randy began to suspect something was not right with her.  She was tired after work.  Some days she fell asleep while driving home.  Three times she had to park and call a friend to come and drive her home.  She left her car wherever she had to.  Yet when Randy insisted that they go to the doctor, Charlotte refused.

Three weeks went by with Charlotte falling asleep while standing.  Her hair began to fall out.  It was dry all the time. Her skin would break out in hives just from getting out of bed in the morning.  She even begged off playing with her seven and eight-year-olds.  Something she did almost every day in their backyard.

This time Randy did not ask her to go to the doctor.  He took her. 

Charlotte’s primary care physician took one look at her and sent her to a specialist.  Her physician saw to it that Charlotte’s appointment was the next day.  She would not tell Charlotte what she suspected.  Even when Charlotte tried to pry it out of her, she said to Charlotte, “Don’t miss that appointment.”

The next day Charlotte found herself waiting for the results of a few tests.  She knew something was wrong when one of the physicians told her he wanted her to wait so he could talk with her.  Before Charlotte went home, she got the devastating news.  She had the dreaded C word.  Cancer plastered itself across her mind.

Almost all of us have gone through a tough time, at one time or another.  It is good to know who will be there for us.

See you tomorrow.

Stephen Wallace

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