By Desirée A. H. Walker
Have you ever heard the phrase “personal your fact”? As I ready to endure remedy for a breast most cancers recurrence, I wrestled with what my fact was.
It’s truthful to say a most cancers diagnosis makes you uncomfortable — it locations your realities entrance and heart, pressures you to consider what issues, and requires a number of decision-making. Though my solely surgical possibility was a mastectomy, since this was my second analysis in the identical breast, I needed to determine whether or not to have a single or double mastectomy. I needed to do all I might to keep away from listening to the phrases “you may have breast cancer” for a 3rd time.
I did select to have a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, as I used to be not mentally ready to go flat. Throughout my session with my medical oncologist, she strongly advisable chemotherapy since this was a recurrence and a extra aggressive breast most cancers. After I heard “aggressive breast most cancers” and “chemotherapy” in the identical sentence, I knew a dialog about my hair loss was coming.
I have to inform you listening to that I might be bald by my second remedy was yet one more arduous capsule to swallow — not as a result of I liked my hair greater than life, but it surely was part of my identification. Sure, I used to be that one that steadily spent hours at a pure hair salon getting my lengthy locs washed, conditioned, retwisted, and styled with an occasional coloration and trim. My loctician’s creativity gave me hairstyles that had been dialog starters.
Since one of many drug regimens can be taken for a 12 months, the considered being bald made me uneasy. How would I mentally put together to go from lengthy locs to a easy scalp? I puzzled if my vanity would take successful. Would I see myself as lovely? Would individuals nonetheless contemplate me female? Would individuals know I’ve most cancers and really feel sorry for me? (On the time of my analysis, it was not as widespread for ladies to rock bald heads with out medical causes as it’s at the moment.)
My ideas weren’t unusual for most cancers sufferers, as most individuals are visible. I wager you’d agree that folks make assumptions primarily based on what they see and need issues to be visually interesting, though definitions can differ from one individual to a different.
I used to be proactive about going bald, and I lower my locs moderately than witness them falling out. I’ve disliked every little thing about wigs since childhood, in order that was not an possibility. However I didn’t plan to indicate my baldness. Hats had been my answer, since I really like them and would get pleasure from shopping for extra. It was springtime once I lower off my hair, so I wore hats for a number of weeks as my scalp adjusted to the coolness.
Nevertheless, one sizzling day, I made a decision to be daring and enterprise out with no hat. As I walked down the road, I handed a raveled lady and heard her say “Miss, Miss.” I considered ignoring her as a result of I used to be in a rush and thought she was going to ask for cash, however I finished. After I rotated, she stated “I don’t imply any disrespect, however I seen you and needed to inform you that you’re rockin’ that bald head. You’re lovely.” I thanked her. I used to be deeply moved! The expertise shifted my mindset and allowed me to “personal my fact.”
Thereafter, I boldly grieved the lack of my hair and rocked my baldness proudly with hanging earrings. I redefined magnificence for myself and not contemplated whether or not I’m lovely or female. As soon as I embraced my new signature model, I by no means seemed again. #BaldAndBoldlyBeautiful
Desirée A. H. Walker is a two-time breast most cancers victor whose diagnoses motivated her to grow to be a affected person advocate to share her skills and help numerous communities. She makes use of her platform to be a voice for the unvoiced and pay ahead by educating and inspiring sufferers to actually know their physique and really feel empowered to steward self, thoughts, physique, and soul globally. Walker serves as board president,
Young Survival Coalition
. Study extra on her
and observe her on
To attach with different breast most cancers survivors, be a part of our Breast Most cancers Fb Assist Group.
Picture Credit score: PeopleImages/ E+ through Getty Photographs