Although being diagnosed with cancer could be seen as one of life’s most grievous setbacks, still, for me, my efforts tried to discover a positive approach–a strong spirit, an open heart, and by accepting the support of family and friends, old and new–this event has turned out to be one of my life’s greatest triumphs.
There are wonderfully positive support groups like Gilda’s Club and Lucy Curci Cancer Center which can boost the spirit when the road seems too hard to travel. For those with few friends, very soon the people one meets on the journey can become as close as family. Having cancer breaks down the usual barriers between strangers; we can unite in our quest to make the journey passable. The lovely people I have met and who have helped me along the way have turned out to be some of my life’s most unexpected gifts that I can cherish for always.
It seems hard to imagine from the diagnosis of cancer that this journey would be so rich, and not only filled with life’s lessons, but also discoveries about inner strength. Without having had this cancer, I don’t think I’d either have really known of this, or become aware of the wisdom or insight that such suffering brings.
After the surgery came the chemo. Having my hair fall out was at first a shock to me, and my life partner could not conceal a similar reaction either. However we dealt with it together.
I’ve never been a fancy sort of girl–my sisters seem to have been awarded my share of the beauty and the finesse with make up and hair-do’s. I’m operating from the practical standpoint.
The Turning Heads project would however change all that for me.
To be treated like the queen of Supermodels–with expert make up, high fashion dress, accessories, and poses galore: never have I felt so elegant, and dare I say attractive! It seems unreal to think, just at that very time, I was just about bald and recovering from chemotherapy! I would encourage all I meet to be a participant in the Turning Heads Project. It is a wonderful day to experience.My co-participant and I were each asked to write the one word that best described our experience on the photo shoot day, and I wrote: Honored.
Honored to be part of it, to be a willing participant, to share it with one of my best friends ever, whom I met only because of cancer.
As a wonderful lady at Gilda’s told me the day before my first chemo, ‘its not a walk in the park, but it is doable, and you will come out the other end a different stronger person. It’s true, it’s not a breeze, but it is possible, and I made my journey as thousands of women have before and after me, many many of us will survive.
Who would have thoughts from those words ‘You have cancer’ would come such treasures: such strength of spirit, such appreciation for the simple things in life? And then came the ability to be able to let go of other things that once seemed vital, yet in reality don’t mean so much, and can be left in the past.
And finally, last but not least the dear ladies at Turning Heads, they are simply the best, Thank you so much.
Photography by Stacy Jacob Photography, Makeup by Olga Morales, Styling by Debbie Green
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