Purpose (and a shaved head).
In this blog post...
Shaving my head
Women supporting women. There is so much beauty in this and it makes me feel so absolutely full when I can be a part of it.
World, meet Emily C.
And say HAPPY BIRTHDAY! (It was yesterday.)
She is gorgeous. She is sweet and caring. And she is my "angel."
I've never met her, at least not in person, but right when I learned I had cancer I decided to reach out to try and find someone who might help me feel better. I stumbled upon a site called Imerman's Angels that connects cancer fighters, survivors, caregivers, etc. The group linked me with Emily (who is also 31 and lives in Chicago) and she immediately reached out. Take a look at how beautiful this woman is! (Below the pictures are descriptions from Emily.)
(From left to right)
12/13/13: Pre-cancer. Our wedding.
05/9/15: At my best friend's wedding on May 9, 2015. I was in the middle of treatment and was completely bald. This is the wig! You can even see the green tape from my PICC line on my right arm.
01/4/16: My birthday. Was done with treatment and my hair was short but back!
08/20/16: Sorry, my husband never smiles appropriately for pictures haha.
To have someone like her in my corner... tell me what her experience was like... the ups, the downs, the unexpected... has been invaluable. It gives me hope, faith, strength and makes the whole "treatment" thing a lot more real. Everything else I've read has been a report stiff with medicalese or some anecdotal tale I can't wrap my head around. Emily reassuring me that life can be somewhat "normal" during chemo meant so much more to me.
She also understands everything I'm facing now. Like... the no-hair situation. It's just accepted as part of the having cancer thing. It's on the more superficial side, yes. But it still matters. As Emily wrote:
The hair loss was BY FAR the hardest part for me. Some people just don't understand that...but as a woman, you have hair your entire life, and you're never without it. It's hard to feel like yourself when you lose something that's been a part of you forever. If you have more specific questions about how it fell out, how long it took, what did I wear on my head, etc. let me know. I was most concerned about this part, so I understand if you have similar questions.
She then gave me her recommendations on what to do.
She's real → she did it ∴ so can I.
Emily wasn't the only one to help me with this. I want to say thanks to Stephanie O., Mallory C., Christine W. There are others I'll be reaching out to soon but the holidays really sort of put the brakes on a lot of my "cancer research" so to speak.
What this highlights to me is the best of humanity. People are good. We want to help others. We feel pain. We want to ameliorate it, especially for others. Sometimes it takes something pretty screwed up to kick it into gear, not because we don't care unless it gets to that point... I think it has something more to do with just realizing that helping others can be such a great purpose in life.
We don't have to share cancer diagnoses to do this. Everyone has something going on that could use some friendship/mentorship. I wonder if anyone knows of "an app" or system that helps connect people with every type of support network out there?
Shaving my head.
Ok, I'm starting to blab a bit. I just wanted to get some of my thanks out there before I DO THE DEED. Shaving off one side of my head tonight! Appointment has been set for 7pm thanks to Tim's hair guy, Ricky. I am pretty stoked. Will try to do a Facebook Live video on The Refract to show the process haha.
How about a Hello Kitty bow-inspired look?
I actually don't really know which particular style I'm going with yet. I just know I want to do SOMETHING so I can kick start the taking-control-of-my-destiny thing.
#lets do this