When I was told I had cancer, my immediate reaction was one of disbelief. How could this be happening to me? I read once that cancer does not change who you are, it only intensifies it. I have always been a very positive person, so I tried to hang on to whatever positives I could. There was a treatment for my cancer… that was a positive. The survival rate was very good… that was a positive. But losing my hair… how could I ever find a positive in that? My hair was such a big part of my identity and my femininity.
I realized that how I saw myself played a big role in how others saw me. And I was determined to like what I saw when I looked in the mirror, with or without hair. Not a victim, not poor me, but a proud bald fighter winning the battle against cancer. My Turning Heads photo shoot reinforced all of that for me. The photos gave me strength to face the world, especially on the tough days of not feeling my best.
While I was bald, I would go out without a wig or hat and make eye contact with everyone I could. I found that as soon as I smiled, they would lose their own discomfort and smile back.
It may sound strange to say, but my journey with cancer has been filled with more positives then I could have ever imagined. And embracing life and all it has to offer is something I am truly grateful for.
As for my time being bald, my friend and pathologist, Dr. David Kaminsky, said it best:
”As you move through chemo days reflect on these gorgeous women whose lives were enhanced by the experience. Hair isn’t the woman, it’s an appendage with determination to prevail. It comes back. It will return to you like a devoted lover. In the meantime, you’ll be as radiant and attractive as ever.”