Friday, December 17, 2010

Think you're having a "bad hair day"?

If so, please think instead of all the millions of children, men, and women who are having a NO hair day as a result of going through grueling cancer treatment. 

I was one of those that really didn't care too much that I had to lose my hair. I even shaved it all off before it fell out so that I could donate it to a good cause (Locks of Love) before it disappeared on me.  In a way, I found being bald liberating. I didn't have to wash or condition hair, didn't have to shave my legs or armpits, and didn't have to blow-dry either!  But, I did have to contstantly fear sunburn on my sensitive scalp and deal with itchy hats and scarves to protect my noggin.  When I couldn't bear to be seen bald I had several lovely hair pieces to choose from thanks to a great wig store in town (Godiva's Secret). But at home I had to deal with my head being freezing cold at night while laying on cold sheets in an air-conditioned house which of course needed to be kept cold because of the crazy intense hot flashes I was having (chemo-induced menopause).

Part of me wanted my baldness to be seen by others in public - I wanted people to remember that cancer still has no cure. The other part of me dreaded having to relive the horror of my situation by answering questions or seeing people stare at the sick bald lady with the one year old in tow. 

One year ago today I shaved my noggin for the last time. For those that don't know this, your hair still does grow a bit in between chemo treatments. Not all chemo causes hair loss but many do - mine did.  Anyway, the in-between growth was patchy, sporadic and a bit creepy to be honest. So, it had to be shaved off and I would use Bob's electric razor to shave it once per week throughout my treatment from July - December 2009.  On Dec.17th, 2009 I shaved it for the last time (my final chemo was on Dec.15, 2009) before heading to a photographer's studio to have my photograph taken.  Crazy, huh? 

I wanted to document how I looked. I wanted to remember about as much as I wanted to forget. So, here I am, on my final "NO hair day", one year ago.

Photographed by Lee Brubaker Photography

Praise the Lord that I got through a full year post-treatment and here I am just a week ago at a park with my son:

Photographed by Amber Katrina Photography

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and salvation! I'm so grateful for your healing power and unconditional love. Thank you for leading me back to you. For the brilliant medical care and coverage. For my compassionate employer. For the amazing and supportive family and friends you've placed in my life. For the new perspective. For the daily gifts and miracles. For using me to spread your great news. For every second of precious time.

Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:

“His love endures forever.”

3 Let the house of Aaron say:

“His love endures forever.”

4 Let those who fear the LORD say:

“His love endures forever.”

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;

he brought me into a spacious place.

6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.

I look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD

than to trust in humans.

9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD

than to trust in princes.

10 All the nations surrounded me,

but in the name of the LORD I cut them down.

11 They surrounded me on every side,

but in the name of the LORD I cut them down.

12 They swarmed around me like bees,

but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;

in the name of the LORD I cut them down.

13 I was pushed back and about to fall,

but the LORD helped me.

14 The LORD is my strength and my defense;

he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory

resound in the tents of the righteous:

“The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!

16 The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;

the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”

17 I will not die but live,

and will proclaim what the LORD has done.

18 The LORD has chastened me severely,

but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;

I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.

20 This is the gate of the LORD

through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;

you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone;

23 the LORD has done this,

and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 The LORD has done it this very day;

let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 LORD, save us!

LORD, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.

From the house of the LORD we bless you.

27 The LORD is God,

and he has made his light shine on us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession

up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;

you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

his love endures forever.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rest in peace, Elizabeth Edwards

It's always sad when someone dies, even those we don't know personally - celebrities, public figures, anyone that we have admired for one reason or another.  But there is a different kind of sadness when someone dies from the disease you yourself have had and fought and fear a recurrence of.  I can't explain it except to say it is deeply sad and extremely terrifying.

It makes me so angry that this disease still doesn't have a cure. So much money and effort is put to it and yet cancer is taking over 1500 Americans every day (that's a Titanic ship every day).

Philippians 4:6 (NIV) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Dear Lord, I beg of you, please bring us the cure. Amen.