December has flown right by. I dropped the cancer bomb on everyone and then I got so caught up in the magic of Christmas that I didn't have time to update! That's not a complaint. Christmas was great. Super great. Watching my kids was like watching Ralphie and his brother Randy open their gifts on Christmas morning...."Wow" "Whoopie"....Toby didn't get a red ryder bb gun, but he got a Nerf gun which might have won Christmas.
Since we last chatted, I flew to NYC for a second opinion, I've started chemo at Roswell, I chopped all my hair off and donated it, what hair I had left then started to fall out, and then I had it shaved off. Oh, and in there was work, shopping, wrapping, parties, welcoming a new member into the family (I'm an aunt again, yay!!)...it's been a busy month.
I think I'll save the chemo talk for another time and skip straight to hair talk. It's more fun and it's impacted my life in the past month way more than the chemo has.
I started the month with my usual full head of curls. Knowing I was going to lose those locks soon, I upped my selfie game to get some last shots. Why not? I thought about doing a tour of Buffalo with my hair in different locations around the city....but that's weird. Who would do that? I'm not normal. Luckily, there's an incredibly talented photographer at Roswell by the name of Ben Richey who has challenged himself with documenting my cancer journey through the lens of his camera. How cool is that? Not only can I update everyone here, but now you'll be able to see the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of this shitty adventure. You can check out his work on Instragram: @benricheycreative.
I met Ben on my first day of chemo. The Buffalo Sabres were in the building visiting patients for Christmas. Super cool. They came by my chair and took some pics and signed some autographs. My first day of chemo didn't suck. Later that day, Ben returned and we had our first photoshoot....while I was being pumped full of chemo drugs. Me, my curls, my red chucks, and my chemo pump. Living the dream.
My chemo nurse had warned me that because my "cocktail" was going to be so strong, I would most likely lose my hair before I made it to my second treatment. So just a week after my first treatment, I beat the chemo and chopped my hair off before it was gone on its own. I've always wanted to donate my hair. I was actually planning on participating in the Bald for Bucks program through Roswell in March. Even though I didn't make it to March, I was still able to donate through Roswell and I donated over a foot of hair! My friend Tamera, who cuts my hair regularly, was able to meet me that Wednesday morning and, in a studio in Roswell, she cut off my curls while Ben and his partner Tony filmed and took pictures. It was a pretty special day. Here I was losing my hair because I had cancer, but it was one of my happiest days. Tamera and I grew up down the street from each other. She and her sister and I used to play hide and seek in my front yard and I would swim in their pool in the summer. And here she was playing this important role in my journey. My husband, the captain of my support team was there to stand by me as I lost such a strong piece of my identity. My friend Ashley was also there. Ashley and I have been friends since before we even started kindergarten. She had one of the most important roles - she made sure the Christmas music was playing, she danced in the background, and she kept a smile on my face the whole time. What a day.
Since I still had a week or two before it started to fall out, I took advantage and had Tamera do a fun short haircut. I have NEVER had hair that short. This was an adventure in itself. It took me a day or so to get used to it, but once I got over the fact that I could double for the Biebs, I actually really liked it. I was told I looked like a brunette Pink. I'll take that!
Fast forward to Christmas. My hair was falling out pretty heavily but I thought it would make Christmas less awkward if I kept my rockstar hair versus being a Christmas baldy. Then 2 days later it was time. I couldn't take it anymore, I was making a mess. There was hair everywhere...time to shave. Again, Tamera to the rescue! This time I met her at her at work - Corto's Salon in Hamburg. My friends Anne & Emily were by my side - and my new personal paparazzi. Tamera buzzed all my hair off. I didn't think I'd get emotional, since I didn't the first time she cut it but seeing her buzz it off got to me. There were tears. Once she was done, I still had some "fuzz" - but it was splotchy fuzz since some had fallen out. We needed one more step - the razor. Into the barber seat I went for a clean shave! I was treated like a queen every step of the way. It was a little emotional, but like before, I was surrounded by people who made it special. And after we were done, we went hat shopping!
So in the matter of about 3 weeks, I went from long curly locks to Justin Bieber look alike to Mrs. Clean. I think I can rock this. I mean I have no choice, so I HAVE to rock this. And if nothing else, there's hats!