A Social Experiment

I’ve got chemo tomorrow…..so I thought I’d go to Home Depot this afternoon and stock up on some spray paint. That makes sense right? I went by myself….nothing on my head….totally bald. I walked around for about an hour….I like to do that….just browsing the aisles and thinking of potential projects. It was the ultimate social experiment.

 

I hit up the garden center…..Mr. LBB wants some ferns for under our pergola. I couldn’t find any…….so I kind of aimlessly walked around in the shady plant section. A woman smiled at me and said “you have a VERY nicely shaped head.” I told her excitedly that I had just shaved it. Only a few moments earlier she had berated a man for stealing a shopping cart. You should have seen the look on the poor guy’s face when he saw that it was my cart….he looked like he had stolen a cart from a cancer patient! He sheepishly returned it to me.  I was so embarrassed and I told him it was no big deal. It wasn’t……if someone steals my cart I usually find another. It’s good exercise.

It’s not really fair, but I started to mentally ticking off which categories people fell into as I walked around the store. It ended up being all over the place:

 

 

Okay….so I came close to crying in Home Depot too. I was in the checkout line and a sweet elderly man looked at me, turned around, and then looked back at me again. He said softly “have you been sick, sweetie?” I told him yes, but I was going to be okay….he took my hand and said “well I wish only the best for you.” I barely made it out of the store intact.

I don’t think I acted any differently than I ever do in the store. I know I was paying more attention to interactions. I was on a mission NOT to look sick: standing up straight, walking briskly, smiling and talking with energy etc.  But I was definitely treated differently. It doesn’t bother me at all…..we are all human. It’s just something I’m aware of now…..and I’m thankfully aware. I’ll never look at anyone bald or wearing a scarf the same again. It’s what my mother said as well.

The crazy part about the whole thing is……I fell into the category “totally wants to say something but doesn’t get the courage” at lunch. There was a bald lady sitting near us and I wanted to know what her story was and I didn’t have the guts to ask. Maybe she wouldn’t have wanted me to ask. Ironically, I was a bald woman worried about talking to another bald woman.

Last night was my mom’s last night here. She babysat and Mr. LBB and I went out to dinner with our friends Ben and Staci who were in town visiting. It was awesome…..I haven’t been out in months. I wore a wool beanie….and I got SO hot….so I took it off at dinner.  We had to laugh because half the restaurant was bald…..seriously. We were the youngest people by about 30 years.

Update: Someone asked me which category I wished people fell into. I like when people are inquisitive and compassionate because I’m very inquisitive and like hearing what their story is.  I also like when I’m treated completely normal….so probably somewhere in between! I can’t speak for anyone else though. Maybe some of you could let me know what you think…..especially if you’ve been there!  I know I’m a total fail on things like this sometimes….I get social anxiety and want to do the right thing but then become a crazy person. So I’d be the overly friendly and awkward!

 

****

 

So…my mom left today….and we already miss her. Who is going to force me to drink green juice and test my PH daily?

 

 

My friend Kristina sent me some personalized M&Ms! CHOOSE JOY, NURSES BEWARE, and DEMAND RECOUNT. A few weeks back my HCG numbers didn’t budge….even after starting the aggressive chemotherapy and I told everyone that I had demanded a recount at the doctor’s office. I didn’t believe the number. Turns out the doctor didn’t either and switched labs for my weekly test. I’m learning more and more to speak up when I think something is wrong.

 

 

Chemo isn’t until around lunchtime tomorrow…..it won’t be a long day!  Hopefully I’ll get something creative done in the morning.

 

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Comments

  1. 1

    Dont take this the wrong way, but I can’t go to sleep till you’ve given me a good cry and time to reflect…Bald is beautiful and powerful I always ask their story…but I am kind of the exception…Be well and eat up those antioxidents!!!!

  2. 2

    AWW… what a sweet elderly man. :(

    I think a lot of younger people don’t know what to say. I wouldn’t… I would be one of those people wondering if it’s appropriate to ask or say anything.

    When I was 2 or 3 years old, I’ve got to say… I had (apparently) never seen a bald person before. My mom says I screamed “NO HAIR, NO HAIR!” in the middle of the mall at a bald man passing by. The poor guy wheeled away quickly. :( Poor guy. But, I was just 2-3 years old and didn’t mean it in a bad way… I just had never seen it before. I think kids are sometimes the most honest, blunt, and genuinely curious.

  3. 3

    You know one reason I think people stare or act uncomfortable is not understanding the whole chemo/cancer ‘thing’. I mean, I just figured if you were on chemo you were sick in the bed. So if I see a bald woman walking around I keep thinking “shouldn’t they be in bed?” You are def educating us all!

  4. 4

    Much love.

  5. 5

    WooHoo! You’ve made it through another big hurdle and are now that much closer to getting well! Your bald head is your badge of courage, so go forth and be proud. People will know you are a fighter and that you are in the middle of doing some serious kick butt!

  6. 6

    I just want to smile at the happy colors you picked. On a side note, maybe the other bald woman was just as paralyzed as you were to ask about the lack of hair …
    Good luck for tomorrow!

  7. 7

    So interesting to hear it from a “real” bald person because of chemo and not because you are a 70 yr old man that is expected to be bald. I know I personally fall into the 2 categories, overly sensitive to the point of embarrassing (probably…it’s not my intent but I know that if I do start a conversation and find out that someone is dealing with a type of cancer, I tend to be so worried about saying the “wrong” thing that what I do say is probably way overcompensating for anything that I might have said that was offensive. And then also the “wants to ask but is too shy/embarrassed”. I would love to be able to know how to sstart that conversation especially when my kids have questions about it. It’s nice to be able to say, well she is sick or she has alopecia or etc…it’s nice to be able to explain it with compassion, or better yet, let them witness the conversation and learn from that person themselves.

  8. 8
    Liisa Sanchez says:

    I have to apologise for being such a stalker……I feel like I know you. Your posts always make me emotional, I laugh and tear up at every single one! I to fall into the category of wanting to say something, but not having the guts for fear of saying the wrong thing. So I just pray. Maybe only right there in line, or maybe over the next few hours, even days. I know my prayers are as powerful as a kind word or smile. Stay strong, you have so many behind you….blessings.

  9. 9

    I just wanted to say that I found your blog through the Cameo giveaway, and I’m so happy that I did! I love following your posts! Can’t wait to see what crafty things you come up with with all that spray paint! (I <3 spray paint)

  10. 10

    When my mom went through chemo and sported the bald look we went to visit her grandfather. He was 95 or older , and everyone had decided not to tell him that she was sick. For a 95+ guy he was really with it. He took one look at her and told her ‘you should never go back to whoever cut your hair.’

  11. 12

    You are so REAL. I love it. :)

  12. 13

    I am finding as I am caring for my senior parents that you MUST speak up with our healthcare system. Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate. So…maybe you’re wrong…but just maybe you’re right. Always trust your instincts!

  13. 14
    Christi Hoehn says:

    Good for you for turning what could have been a taxing “first” into a reflective, growing day.

    I’ve lost both legs below knee and now use a wheelchair only. Some days I’m up for the “social experiment” some days I’m just in and out as quickly as possible, and still other days I delight in educating people.

    Right before Christmas I was in Walmart, struggling to get 2 carts apart. A woman was watching me and I only found it slightly irritating that she didn’t offer to help. As soon as I freed the 2 carts she came forward and started taking one. She thought I was the Walmart greeter. One one hand I found it slightly hysterical, on the other slightly horrifying. Still another thought was that this woman shouldn’t be allowed to shop alone :)

    Children are especially inquisitive (as you well know!) and my stock answer to them is that my legs were very sick and had to go to heaven. That appeases 95% of their little souls, the other 5% want to hear the gory details, including where they might be now.

    My prayers stay with you, I was fortunate with my lung cancer to, thus far, only have to have surgery to remove 1/3 of the lung and no chemo. I didn’t think I would find a lot of humor in not only having no legs but no hair as well. But if it happens, I’ll be sure to tap into the path you’ve set and find joy in there somehow. It’s there, often hidden, but there.

    xxoo

  14. 15

    I don’t know you but I just love you. Thank you for your honesty and sharing your journey with us.

  15. 16

    You have such a powerful way of telling your story. You are an amazing woman. I pray for you a speedy recovery.

  16. 17

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s very interesting how people react.
    I always want to know the story too, but wonder if it’s ok to ask..
    What a sweet man!
    I would have lost it there for sure…it had me in tears just reading it.

    All my best for the chemo tomorrow

  17. 18

    I hope u know that older gentleman meant nothing but the best. So sweet it almost made me cry, I only hope to be so strong. But me, I would be the awkward overly nice not sure how you would take me asking questions stranger. But FYI…I do have the Henrietta Lacks story here from the library, you are touching lives Ashley. All the best.

  18. 19

    The story about the gentleman in line in front of you made me cry. It’s the way I would want to respond to someone, but wouldn’t have the nerve to. I am not that outgoing and like to give people their space. (“Wants to say something but doesn’t have the courage” is me!) My way is to silently pray for people.

    I LOVE the M&Ms! What a creative friend you have! I’ll be thinking of you during chemo tomorrow.

    All my best!
    Kathy

  19. 20

    Oh I could just picture the old man….brought me to tears. I can also picture the restaraunt scene. I love how you are so sweet to take us on this journey with you and to invite us into your private little world. I feel so blessed to have found you and this blog. I prayed for you so much last night.
    Nina

  20. 21

    I would have been the old man. I love him for that simple gesture. How beautiful was that moment. Tear**

  21. 22
    Bunny Dannelly says:

    Hey Ashley,
    When I was bald, shopping in Oldown Market in Galax one day, this poor young girl was staring at me as I passed her in the aisle. I smiled & kept pushing my cart. A second later I heard a crash. She had turned around & was walking backwards so she could continue to look at me & had walked into a stack of boxes. In the end she was sprawled out on the floor. I tried to help her up, but she must have thought I was contagious, cause she didn’t want any part of that!
    Keep on keepin’ on. You are doing great. xo Bunny

  22. 23
    Southern Gal says:

    I fall into the can’t get up the nerve, but inquisitive with a smile. Is that completely awkward? I love that little old man.

  23. 24

    I check a couple of times a day for a new post, I love to her how you are doing.

  24. 25

    Those m & m’s are awesome! I always fall into the category of wanting to say something but not having the courage to.

    I love all the pretty colors of spray paint in your cart. On a side note, Leila watched the head shaving video with me. We were at target today and she saw a crazy long Rapunzel wig. She asked if we should buy it “for my beautiful friend Ashley” :)

  25. 26
    Lisa Stevens says:

    ♥ lots!

  26. 27

    Hi Ashley! I went to PDHS with your husband (and Ben and Staci, Mike W, and the rest of the gang), and was made aware of your blog through Staci. I’ve been following for a few months now and am so impressed with you. I just watched your video and, like everyone who sees it, am so moved by your courage and focus on joy through this process. I am simply in awe. I read your recent post where you mentioned that you almost failed English in school….but it is plain to me (as I’m sure it is to all of your readers) after following your blogs and reading the comments that you are a gifted writer who is able to reach people from all walks of life. Perhaps you should also demand a recount on your grades from English class. :) (I’m also trying to learn some craft skills on your site because I’m terrible at that stuff and have an 8 month old daughter who will one day wish I had these skills!!) I’m sending positive thoughts your way from Atlanta, GA, and hope to meet you one day soon. PS – You seriously look amazing bald. Gorgeous!

  27. 28

    I’m adding myself to the Loooooong list of people that love you even if we never met in person. My mom thinks you are beautiful and your ‘inside’ just shines trhough …anybody can see it….my mom doesn’t speak engligh, I tell her about you…she has been thinking about you all day today and you made her realize that we just chose joy on a daily basis….a white dove…..that’s you…a messenger…touching so many people.
    ((Hugs))

  28. 29

    Got a kick out of your experiment. I would be the treat other people completely normal. I do however watch how people treat their children and I watch how I treat mine. So I do judge on that, horrible ha? I am the person that justs let my kid scream in public. I will not give her her way. What does it do? Hurt their ears? I stick to my guns!

    I have a friend who has alopecia and has lost all her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. She wears a wig or scarf. I def wouldn’t ask someone but I wouldn’t treat them any different. If they wanted me to know I think they would tell me.

    I am sad your mom left. Does she live by Perry? But I am happy for your night out! We have not been without our children for along time. I think Trici has been left twice in her 3 1/2 years! Maybe in the summer when we go visit family or when Tony starts getting his disability pay.

    And I LOVE the M&Ms!! So fun! Have a great Chemo day!

  29. 30

    You GO girl! I was debating on having someone do a henna tattoo on my head. I prefer to wear my beanie (t-shirt material hat/cap) or nothing at all.

    Shortly after shaving my head we went out to eat for my brother’s birthday. I thought I would try out my wig for the first time. On our way there I started getting a headache. We met up with my brother, his wife, my sister and her hubbie, my parents and my hubbie for dinner. We were seated at a big booth table, got comfy and gave the waitress our orders. My headache proceeded to get worse. I finally had, had it. I snatched the wig off my head and shoved it into my purse. The waitress came back to our table with some salad’s and almost freaked out. She composed her self and went on. Sorry, it was funny to see her reaction. After the waitress left my Dad looked at me and said “Lori, you have wig head.” What?? Oh, my headache was being caused by my wig being way tooooo tight. Duh! I did not know that there were adjustment straps inside the wig. That was the last time I wore my wig. I have tried but it just isn’t me.
    I think my family prefers my caps or bare head too.
    It is now 4 months after chemo and my hair is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ long. I totally undertsand the social thing. Even now when I wear my cap I am treated different then when I don’t. Interesting.

    Oh… I used baby Aveeno shampoo on my head and lotion. I read on several websites how some chemicals in regular shampoo can hurt our scalp and the baby fine hair when it starts growing back.

  30. 31

    Oh my – I had tears long before I got to the part about the elderly man in the checkout line!
    You are a tough cookie best wishes for tomorrow

  31. 32

    I second Annie-o..I found you through someone else a month ago. Been following you on twitter and FB and I just think you’re an amazingly strong person. I absolutely enjoy your blogs and thank you so much for sharing them with us. I wish you a successful day tomorrow with the chemo and all the best to follow.

  32. 33

    I definitely fall into the category of wanting to say something but not courageous enough. I know this because I’ve never left a comment even though I’ve been reading. You’re amazing and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  33. 34
    Brenda McAfee says:

    I am going to be like that little old man when I am old. If at 46 I had walked up to you and said the same thing, I don’t think the reaction would have been the same. I mean that I don’t think it would have gotten all the aww’s that it elicits from the little old man. Certainly some thought provoking going on with this trip! I think right now I fall into the group of people who are inquisitive and compassionate but afraid to say anything, so I just think really good things for the person! I love you and hope you have an easy day tomorrow <3

  34. 35

    Thanks for sharing your home depot story. I never know what to do in such situations and hope that people understand, especially when it comes to answering my children’s questions. I trust that most people’s intentions are good. Good luck tomorrow.

  35. 36
    Michelle Poole says:

    I’d like to think I’d fall into compassionate and inquisitive. I’ve seen plenty of bald women and children and feel a bit sad and curious when I do. I got teary eyed at the elderly man taking your hand in Home Depot. Did he fall into compassionate and inquisitive or what!!
    I hope for good news on your next HCG count!

  36. 37

    So I never shaved my head, but when I look back at pictures, I realize I had very little hair (I’ll have to send you a photo sometime. it was insane that I didn’t just shave it off. Stubborn I guess.) Anyway, I have a GIANT port in my chest, just above my right boob. it’s got three large bumps that stick out, a red scar (I scar terribly, just my skin), and a visible tube that goes up to my neck. When I was diagnosed I weighed about 130 lbs (for reference, my pre-cancer/pre-pregnancy weight was about 160), and was basically skin and bones (according to my family, i didn’t see it). It sticks out like a sore thumb. Seriously, you can see it blaring in photos, in the mirror, you can’t miss it. I am shocked that i have only ever been asked about it ONCE! it has been there for almost 11 months. (and the woman who actually asked me about it saw me on a playground with Saoirse and was an oncology nurse so she actually knew what it was!)
    Now, when I had it put in, they said to me, “you are so thin, it will be noticeable, but you can just wear high cut shirts.” I basically looked at them and said, “first off, that would mean a whole new wardrobe, second of all, you obviously don’t know me – I could care less what people think.” And it was true – I flaunted it like you flaunt your cleavage, and I am shocked that no one ever seems to say anything about it. I guess I was looking forward to the questions that might come up, so that I might be able to share some of my story with them, but nope – nothing. Now I don’t know if people stare at it and just don’t say anything, I don’t ever seem to notice any staring. But then again, I have been having people stare at my chest since I was about 13, so I guess I might just be used to it.
    In other news, I switched to Dr. Bronners magic soap for everything – I use the liquid and I do my hair and body with it. It’s all natural, and totally amazing for me as my skin and hair are so dry its insane. took some getting used to, as it feels oily when you use it, but my hair and skin have never been softer. (they make laundry soap too, have it but haven’t done a load. will keep you posted ;) )

  37. 38

    As a survivor, who has been through my own bald-period, I now have a glorious head of hair. I am able to catch the eye of current treatment patients, tussle my hair, smile and say, “It grows back”. Sometimes, that comment spurs a conversation. Sometimes I get a simple, sincere, “Thank you.” Not matter the length of the conversation, a connection is made and a story of survival is noted. Thank you for using your platform to share your story (you only THOUGHT it’s purpose was to share projects). The video of your hair ceremony was MOST powerful. Your grace and bravery is an amazing life-lesson for your daughter and for those of us vicariously participating.
    Peace and Grace… CiCi

  38. 39

    I feel like a stalker. I don’t normally follow blogs but saw a link to yours through facebook (oh so posh photography). So I got lost in your blog last night—literally for hours! I felt like I was getting to know you (thus the stalker feeling because it was a very one sided ‘relationship’ developing!) ;) Of course I was enthralled with the one part of your story–the cancer. But I also read about your Dad (who I also would have liked to know more). The love you described between your Mom and Dad made me cry. And then there’s the intense creativity to read about! Wow! You amaze me on so many levels. I want you to know I personally appreciate you sharing the cancer story with us all. I began to ‘know’ you because of the cancer posts but I know cancer does not define who you are. But you are tackling this challenge with as much passion as you tackle everything you do and that is so inspiring! I love your message “Choose Joy”. I’m trying to design something crafty with Choose Joy on it to hang in my kitchen so I can always be reminded to smile and be thankful for all that I have! You are in my prayers—God Bless you and stay strong!

  39. 40
    Shalin Scheuerman says:

    I’m so sorry I didn’t even know you had cancer, I have not checked my reader in months from being so dang busy from Halloween and Christmas! You are SO brave. I sometimes wonder how I would behave if I had cancer, would I be brave or would I be a baby and feel sorry for myself? Well I think seeing your posts and courage is awesome! This could happen to any of us at ANY time and it’s nice to know there’s hope. I wish you the best and please keep up the posts and updates…

  40. 41
    Michelle T says:

    What a sweet story. I love that the man asked you so sweetly and gently. Everything happens for a reason and I think you were meant to run into him.

    I’m sorry to hear that your mom had to leave. I’m sure it’s been very comforting to you and your family to have her there. What time does your mom usually remind you to drink your green juice and test your ph? I believe you have hundreds of people at your fingertips that would be more than willing to help look after you and remind you to take good care of yourself!

    I hope you feel better soon, and I wish you luck at chemo tomorrow. You and your family are in my prayers.

  41. 42

    I don’t know if you’d be interested but could you start adding the recipes to some of your juices? Each time you mention them I’m so curious on what they taste like. Even the green ones which don’t seem so tasty. But I’m willing to try it….

    I shared your photo with my husband for the first time today and he thinks you are absolutely beautiful! And I have to agree. You are in my prayers daily.

  42. 43

    I have been following your blog for quite some time now but haven’t said anything yet. I was at Creative Estates and loved listening to you talk but I’m the outgoing quiet type. There are times when I am more than okay with making a fool out of myself and others when I would rather stay hidden and that was one of those times. When I got home I wished I would have been more willing to introduce myself to people, but oh well. I know that many have said it before me, but your courage and more importantly your joy is unreal and so very inspiring. I’ve been struggling lately internally with a few things that I’d rather not discuss and here you are being an active voice for those who are too afraid to speak out. I just want to thank you, I read your posts and I don’t get sad or cry I smile because I know that’s what you’re doing. I know it’s hard, but what is crying going to do? Just make life more miserable. That’s why I know you choose joy and that’s why reading your posts make me smile. I smile because you choose joy. Thank you.

  43. 44

    I had a picc line..similar to a port..in my arm for 3 months to feed me after a surgery. My recovery was filled with severe nausea which led to severe dehydration and malnutrition. Sigh.very traumatizing.

    I got looks and comments that would blow u away. You couldn’t see my line just my net on my arm..I’m not one who likes to draw attention at all. Lol! I don’t want or like sympathy but I got a lot of it when I had my line. Like I was dying! I did almost die which is why I had it but really people? They asked if what I had if I could give it to my kids. Wow.

    Its tough I guess being out with something that draws attention but I never acted different in hopes that people wouldn’t either.

  44. 45

    I have never had cancer, but have lived with cancer for the past 5years. My dad passed away 18months ago, suffering from two kinds of cancer, my mother is currently having a break after having her 115th chemo for ovarian cancer.My brother and I both have three kinds of ancer genes so we know we are heading down that path. I have no idea what it feels like to have chemo or go bald (not out of choice). What worked for them…. t-shirts that said “its not contagious”. As a joke we recently had one made for my mum, bearing in mind she is bald, emaciated, walks hunched over and shakes and the shirt says “at least I’m still good in bed!” The best advice is forget the list, make your own list and have one group. The ” who cares about them, I choose to laugh!!!” list

  45. 46

    Ashley – I have met Perry before and Justin quite a few times through golf. You are one of the strongest women I have ever met!!! And girl, you look fabulous bald!!
    I helped shave my moms head when she was going through breast cancer. It’s an emotional experience and you handled it with grace and beauty.
    So now every time I see a woman with our hair, I smile and give a little nod and I hope that makes her day a little brighter.
    Keep fighting girl!

  46. 47

    Ashley, I just started reading your blog after being linked here through a Pinterest project a couple of weeks ago. You are such a beautiful, creative, inspiring, courageous lady. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, and for reminding all of us to “Choose Joy”. Praying for God’s blessings on you and your lovely family!

  47. 48

    You are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your journey, you are in my prayers!

  48. 49

    I was wondering how your, mums going to find people act ,with her?
    I had to walk with a stick a lot in the last year. I can’t see anyone with out a stick now and not feel compassion. I always think are they living with acute pain like me. I think I used to think people just needed them for support. I never thought about what else was going on.
    I also think some people just empathise better than other people. My husband has no empathy gene. But he’s not a bad person. He wouldn’t even notice you. He wouldn’t even think to smile at you.
    He abandoned me in hospital as I was sat waiting to go down for major surgery on my spine. He was so upset, he felt he couldn’t stay with me any longer. He didn’t /couldn’t think that I may not have wanted to sit on my own.
    Good luck for today,I hope you get lots done. X

  49. 50

    Ashley, I definitely fall into the category of lacking the social courage. But upon reading this post I had to find my courage and comment. I popped onto your blog back in Dec and spent forever catching up on your posts as I hadn’t been there in several months. When I read what caused your cancer I sobbed, maybe in part because I’ve been there sort of. It was over a decade ago, and I was fortunate enough to have the hcg levels drop after 9 weeks of blood draws. I only had to deal with the loss, migraines and the curious eyes of the two techs that drew my blood each week. They never asked but I could tell they were trying to figure me out and I wasn’t brave enough to share. I was pretty oblivious to how serious things could have been. You have been through so much and I admire your strength and witty humor through it all. You are an inspiration to me. I am choosing joy in my life, taking more time to slow down and enjoy my family. And I pray for you and your darling family often. You are so beautiful, both inside and out. And you are so creative, which is what brought me to your blog in the first place. Stay strong!

  50. 51

    I would probably be in the “completely normal” category. Not much phases me and I have two relatives fighting cancer right now so I would understand the bald. You’re pretty cute though so I might have to be in the “look then look away” category. :0)

    Your M&M’s Rock! What an awesome friend.

    Sorry your mom had to go. Bet she Doctors over the phone and through e-mails pretty efficiently though! Good moms are like that.

    Love and hugs to you.

  51. 52

    Thinking about when you said you will never look at someone bald or in a scarf the same way again….our experiences do change us don’t they….my sister battled cancer 6 years ago and I too never view some one bald, in a scarf or in a wig the same way….Saw a woman this weekend in a wig and wondered what her story was….once you have walked it personally or with a loved one you are definately changed! Praying for your chemo treatments, praying that the infusion will be the healing balm to your body that it will attack what it is suppose to attack and that you will feel okay after the treatment.

  52. 53

    Last week I wanted to share with you that we had to take our son back to the oncologist for his yearly check ups. But, I usually wait until afterward before say much (afraid to jinx it kinda thing). Thank God all tests contine to be great, and he just hit the official “Survivor” mode.

    Our oncologist is 8 hours away at St. Jude Childrens Hospital, so sometimes we fly. The following scenario happens everywhere we go, but this was at the airports: 1. Odd looks at him, then at me for allowing my son to wear a mohawk in the 9 degree weather. 2. “Cool Mohawk little guy…do you ever paint it”. 3. (this is the one I HATE)…stare, point, giggle (unfortunatly usually by mom’s like you and I). 4. Finally the smart people enter that would rather ask than stare… My son’s reply is standard when asked, or approached; “thanks it’s Radiation enhanced.” At that point, you either get the “awww” look, or the “you rock” look. I love it when he comes up with his own answers to lifes questions. Because honestly, at one point it was VERY hard for me not to become angry, or to cry like a baby because I know at some time in his life it may bother him to be bald on half of his beautiful head. However, when he responds in that manner, it makes it so much easier to “CHOOSE JOY”.

    I would love to share some pictures with you. If you are ever interested shoot me your email. Prayers go out for you today.

  53. 54

    My mother had cancer and said that one of the hardest things she experienced was that look of sympathy and pity when she met someone who knew. She didn’t lose her hair so it was only with people she knew and knew her situation. Having lost you hair I guess that happens with everyone. I know my mother didn’t want to be defined as ‘Cancer Sufferer’ and wanted to remain defined as ‘Irene’. It’s hard for people to look at someone and not label them based on appearance, whether that’s got anything to do with illness or not, clothing, hairstyles, weight, body piercings, tattoos are all things that spring to mind. We shouldn’t do that and we know that but it’s very hard to not to do. There are lots of reasons for this, prejudice upbringing etc. In your case I think its fear. A woman with a bald head is a clear indicator that something is not right and that thing that is not right is scary. As you say ‘She has Ebola!’ I would say carry on as you are and ‘Choose Joy’ look them in the eye and smile (if you can), thank them if they say something nice and ignore them if they make you feel weird. Maybe that way in a little way you will spread a little acceptance of this thing called cancer and next time that person won’t be so scared. Good luck……

  54. 55
    Claudia Méndez says:

    Cada dia me sorprendes!, tienes mas energia que yo, haces mas cosas que yooooooo!, y ese experimento social fue de lo mas sentimental…. Ojala hubiese estado contigo para acompañarte. Te dire una cosa, tal vez pensaron que estaban frente a una modelo, porque he visto tus fotos y te ves guapisima, sinceramente no pareces enferma de cancer, tienes una cabeza con una forma perfecta, tus enormes ojos azules y tus dientes perfectos que efectivamente pareces maniqui viviente.
    Me da gusto como vives tu dia a dia, como eliges la felicidad antes que tirarte a que te mimen y hacer victimas de tu enfermedad a tu familia. Eres un ejemplo de fortaleza y de lo que somos las mujeres: guerreras incansables.
    Respecto a tu trabajo de la lona del mercado es HERMOSA!, y eres tan graciosa cuando comentas que no usaste tu sierra porque quieres conservar todos tus dedos, eso me agrada mucho de ti.

    Ten un excelente dia.
    Con amor Claudia.

  55. 56

    You are a wonderful teacher!!! Thank you. The other day you wondered who will remind you to eat properly and test your ph…well I’m certain several of your friends, here and irl, will be doing just that.
    I’m praying for your day.

  56. 57

    I neverrrrr know what to do in situations like that. I definitely try my best to act totally normal and try no to have them feel awkward. the last thing y’all want are people staring….I mean come on. Not sure why ppl act like they’ve never seen a bald person before! Thanks you for teaching me a lesson that it’s ok to speak up and talk if I’m brave enough!

  57. 58
    Beth Morrow says:

    Thanks for your insight! I fall into the category “totally wants to say something but doesn’t have the courage!”. Looking at that I guess it would come under the COWARD section…ouch, that hurts.
    I always pray for patients as I drive by the Oncology Clinic here in town: that their chemo would work for them, that the cancer would dry up and leave and that they would live and not die, but honestly I don’t want to invade a cancer patients private space if I am face-to- face w them…so I guess my ? To you is do you want strangers to say something or just let you shop or whatever like you would have before the cancer/bald head…you are our window into this world.
    Praying for you today!
    Love,
    Beth

  58. 59

    I never know what to do in those situations either. I would like to say something but am afraid I’d say the wrong thing and accidentally offend someone.
    Learning to speak up at the doc’s office when you think something is wrong is important. Its something I’m working on myself.
    Sending good thoughts your way. Choose Joy!

  59. 60

    I had to update myself with your posts & watched the video. There you go again making me cry at work and having to regain my composure! Your daughter & husband seemed to handle it SO well. Your mother is awesome for shaving her head too :) Both of you are absolutely beautiful bald, I really sincerely mean that! God bless that man that spoke to you at the store, how sweet <3
    Still praying for you. . . . .

  60. 61
    colleen from alabama says:

    I hope i would be as sweet and gracious and compassionate as that sweet little man. I have a friend who is in year 5 of fighting metastatic breast cancer – stage 4, now in her lungs. She has taught me a lot about just being sensitive and caring. In EVERY situation. She is without hair right now. Depending on treatments, in the last 5 years she has been bald and then it grew back beautifully and now she is bald again. I just always want to be loving and kind and trust that however i respond, it will be received as that.
    On another note, my sister and i have big teeth, especially the top front two. We call them our chicklet teeth (remember chicklet gum?) We’ve called them that since we were little! Made me laugh when you were telling about your teeth having grown. I can identify with that!

  61. 62

    I’m the inquisitive one for sure, but I do like to give people their privacy. Nothing wrong with that I guess.
    I was so excited to see you buying my FAVORITE brand and color of spray paint. When i saw your unfinished desk, I immediately thought that some portion of it needs to be Rustoleum Berry. It’s the BEST.

  62. 63

    Loved your social experiment Especially the sweet old man that touched your heart:) I love your blog Ashley and look forward to hearing about your new adventures every day. Wishing you a blessed and happy day!

  63. 64

    I waited tables throughout college, and one day on our lunch hour a lady was sitting with her family and they all looked defeated. No one talked, their heads hung low, and it took only a second to catch on to what was going on. The lady was bald, I wanted her to know I knew what she was feeling. I noticed she was wearing a lymphoma/leukemia race shirt and that was my “in”, I told her “thank you for walking and raising money for me.” She perked right up, and asked all about what I meant, I gave her a brief run down of my experience and my survival. She said she needed to hear that, she had received bad news recently. I let her know I was part of an ongoing research study and was trying to help people like us out too. My conversation lasted a whole 5 minutes, but it I still remember it today. Too many times I walk by and say nothing, but the simplest gesture can make us feel confident again when we think all of our confidence is lost.

  64. 65

    When I was going through chemo I walked around bald too. One day I had my three kids grocery shopping with me when a man approached me and told me I must have my hands full with four kids. I looked at him and said no there are only three of them but they have made me resort to pulling out my hair.
    Most of the time I felt better when people treated me like a normal person, talking to me about normal topics, almost overlooking the fact that I had a bald head. Many times when people stared I wanted to say “Just ask me about my bald head” because I know they wanted to know.

  65. 66

    Those M&Ms nearly brought tears to my eyes! What a special gift!
    I’ve not been bald, but I broke my leg a few years ago. I had to use a walker for a while. I found the reactions to me interesting as well. Some people looked away. Some people didn’t even try to help me such as when I was attempting to open a door. This was quite awkward, involving a 3 step process of opening the door a bit, then scooting forward.
    I think I’m like you. I wouldn’t want to be totally ignored like I don’t exist or am contagious. On the other hand, extreme friendliness could be disconcerting.
    I now am more aware of how to behave. Although I do think one needs to read people to see what is appropriate. I offer to extend a helping hand, but leave it open for their refusal.
    I think most people simply do not know what to say or how to react.

  66. 67

    I totally have to ask. I have to work up the nerve to ask but I will not sleep if I don’t ask. Then once I know, I will never forget and always pray for that person. I pray for you daily. I have a friend who is just starting chemo and I sent her to your blog so she doesn’t have to ask. Don’t you kinda wish your story was just known by everyone so no one had to ask?

  67. 68

    Hi Ashley,
    You don’t feel like an inspiration but you are, trust me, just read these comments, so many people are stronger or more aware just by reading your blog. Specially comment (nr.15) I think is an example that you inspire to choose joy.
    To answer your question, I treat people always the same, but I too look, not stare, but I look if people make a connection themselves. Not everyone wants to talk about their pains or feelings to a stranger. But I believe in giving kindness and smiling a lot. I wrote about it in some of my posts too, just to make others think about what a simple smile can do for someone.
    I hope you will have a good day after the chemo, stay strong and you are in my prayers, hugs from over the ocean,
    Maureen xx

  68. 69

    Ashley,
    I justed watched the video of you shaving your head! I cried! Thank you for sharing your story and your voice! Your strength is such an inspiration! I want to thank you with all my heart. You are amazing and your beauty radiates from both the inside out! I am sure this is not an easy story to tell but by sharing it you are touching people and giving those strength that dont have someone to shave their head with them(Your mom is AMAZING)! So thank you thank you thank you! I will be praying for you and continue to read your story and be inspired!

  69. 70

    I am completely in awe of how you are handling your cancer diagnosis in such a healthy way. When I was in the middle of chemo, I did not want to talk about what I was going through, so I always wore a wig when I went out. I’m pretty sure that if strangers tried to talk to me when I was in the middle of all of that and just trying to go to the store, I would have burst into tears. I was definitely in denial, and wanted people to act normal. It wasn’t until I got a couple of years out that I became fairly comfortable talking about it.

    You are such a strong role model for your daughter. And you look amazing bald! I am a little envious of the ladies who can pull that look off :)

    Much love, luck, and healing vibes from another young, crafty, cancer-surviving mom :)

  70. 71

    It must be so difficult to be in your shoes, but I see you bring out the goodness, the kindness, the compassion in this wonderful world that the news neglects, and that we sometimes neglect to see. There is beauty in a bald head, or a pink haired head, or a spiked haired head. Beauty is inside, and I am so glad that some people took the time to share their beautiful inside with you…and with all of us.

  71. 72

    Every day we are choosing joy in our home. You have changed who we are. You inspire. You are a gift. God bless you and yours.

  72. 73

    OMIGOSH!!! I absolutely LOVE you bald! You look so beautiful!! I’m not the kind of person that says things that are really weird or ugly are metaphorically “beautiful”…that’s just dumb :). You really are gorgeous without hair! Maybe it’s cause there’s nothing to distract from your facial features. Be so glad that your head is not lumpy and that you don’t have a fat face :). Hair normally covers up those unfortunate features…haha!
    I loved your video…I cried, of course. Your family picture is so sweet and your husband shaving your head just says so many things to me…the importance of family, the shortness of this life, the fact that it really doesn’t matter what bad things happen to us here because so much good will be waiting us on the other side…
    As far as your social experiment…that kinda sounds like something sick I’d do :). As far as I go, I think I’d want people to be as humorous and kind as possible about my situation without being intrusive. You gotta think, after a couple months of all the weird glances and questions you’ll probably get kinda sick of them. I know it’s not at all the same thing but I get lots of comment when I go out with my kids (I have 5 little kids, including twins) and EVERYONE comments. At first it was fun but now sometimes I just wanna get my Target browsing done without every last person raising eyebrows and telling me I have my hands full. But then again, it’s hard enough to shop with all the kids even without comments…and that’s my doing :)
    Thanks for your letting us see all the ins and outs of your experience with cancer and how it’s affecting you. It’s great to see you smile and teach other people how to react to you…to just choose joy!

  73. 74

    Hi Ashley, I too am a recent survivor, having completed my treatment early November for stage 3 breast cancer. Losing my hair was traumatic at first so I am so impressed with you, Ashley! It is growing back now and so easy I may keep it this short forever! I had a lot of people tell me their worst case scenario stories and have vowed to not do that to others that are called to this cancer journey.Others just looked at me with a knowing look and I felt their compassion without them saying a word.I love your response CiCi and will hopefully get the chance to use it myself. I am praying for your complete healing Ashley. God bless you and keep you in His grip. Choosing joy with you,
    Sandy
    Salem,OR

  74. 75

    A few years ago my daughter was in a preschool class with a girl whose head was shaved. I waited a couple of weeks, then finally approached the mom, telling her that I prayed her daughter was getting better. She was like, “Getting better?” and seemed confused. I bumbled through, basically indicating that I assumed the little girl had cancer. The mom, who has a hair salon in her home, said her daughter wasn’t ill; she shaved the little girl’s head because the girl had gotten into the scissors and cut her hair so badly that she didn’t know how to fix it. So she shaved it! I was shocked by that, and also shocked that I was the first person who approached her, thinking that her little girl had cancer!

  75. 76
    Kelly D < :) says:

    ((((((ASHLEY)))))

    Thank you for sharing this experience.

    And know that just reading about the gentleman’s kind words to you almost had me in dears too :)

    Love ya!!

    Your sister in Him!

    Kelly D < :)

  76. 77

    It takes people like you…telling their story to turn the masses into people that ask and don’t feel weird about it. My friend lost a baby and told me the worst part was seeing people she knew in the grocery store turn and go the other way when they thought she hadn’t seen them yet (because she knew felt, they didn’t know what to say). For that reason I always speak up or try to ask a “normal “question at least.
    And…my friend Knew it was going to happen to her, from another that told her of her horrible experience and that was what to expect in our small town grocery store.
    For the record..I love old people…the least judgemental of the bunch of us!
    Pass it on… pass it on.
    Love you..hang on.
    Can’t wait for the spray paint post too!

  77. 78

    Ashley;

    I love your impromptu experiment. I pretty much had the same experiences when I finally decided to go ‘sans’ hair. You’re amazing and I can’t wait to see what you do with those 9 cans of spray paint….

    Fondly, Heather

  78. 79

    I would be the person that would come up to you and chat….I’m a southerner, that is what I do. I also can be such a good listener that you would end up telling me something personal and I would laugh or cry or both and then I would bring you over a delicious meal, because I am a great cook and I know that you would appreciate it. May God watch over you today, tomorrow and everyday.

  79. 80

    Ashley-My husband is a twice cancer survivor. One treatment was chemo and he decided to shave his head too. His dad joined him. We had a family head shaving party. He shaved his dad’s hair and his dad shaved his hair. I think a lot of people are compassionate but just don’t know what to say or if they did say something, how would the person receive it. So they just don’t say anything, I wanted to say if you feel that something in your medical treatment is not quite right, question your medical team. They are experts but not perfect. Prayers and best wishes to you.

  80. 81

    Thank you for sharing every day. You’ve had a tremendous impact on my sewing, creativity, and (best of all) my compassion. I’m looking forward to reading about your full recovery and following your many future creative adventures!

    Warm regards,
    D.D.

  81. 82

    Strangers tend to be so much more chatty in my part of the world (I’m originally from the northeast of England, now living in Chicago) and I definitely miss that. It’s the kind of place where you can’t ride a bus without talking to someone, or you pop off to the bathroom at the bar and your friends don’t know where you are for 15 minutes because you’ve fallen into conversation with another girl over a particular shade of lipstick. I realized recently that I’d lost that friendliness a bit so now I make sure that I don’t chicken out when I see someone on the street with a cute outfit or think their baby is beautiful – I’ll just tell them! So I guess nowadays I would probably fall into the overly-friendly category because I would have to tell you how well you carry off the shaved look.

  82. 83

    It is funny you should ask. Once I was in The Children’s Place and there was a bald woman standing there. She didn’t look sick. She seemed happy. And beauitful. Truly, I assumed that was how she liked to wear her hair, and I complimented her, telling she pulled it off well. I could never have the guts to try and see if I could pull that off. So I had to hand it to her. She thanked me and told me her sister had cancer and had just shaved her head when it began falling out, and so she shaved her head, too, so her sister wouldn’t feel alone. She pointed out her sister standing at the check out with her little kids, buying them new clothes. Even her sister, the one who was really bald and really sick with babes to think of, was happy!

  83. 84

    Loved hearing about your day. You are the most amazing writer, Ashley. What a sweet man at check out…..I would have been bawling too.

    You know, one point in my labs things didn’t drop like we “thought” they would. I was using a lab close to my house. They told me they had just gotten new equipment, people were being trained. That was the last time I went there. From then on, I went to the lab at the hospital where my dr. is……and still drive up there to this day…..40 minutes…..and it is so worth it for accuracy.

    Will be thinking of you tomorrow!! xo

  84. 85

    I love that little old man.

  85. 86

    Hi Ashley, reading your post made me realize that people’s reaction to sickness is indeed, universal. Americans are the friendliest people I know – you’re usually very chirpy, and is always easy to start a conversation with. We, Asians, don’t usually greet each other or smile at strangers. I’m telling you, it’s very rare to step into an elevator and greet the person in there a good morning. I guess when somebody is sick, we all tend to hesitate about talking to this person because we fear that we might be too intrusive, or too cheerful. As for me, I try my best to treat the person the way I would treat anybody. I want him or her to feel normal. And most of all, I don’t stare!

    My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and is now cancer-free for 10 years and counting. So hang in there! You are an amazing person and you’ll be well in no time. Continue inspiring all of us with you art, and your good heart.

  86. 87

    Hugs to you. I loved the part about the old man. :)

  87. 88

    I have to say that even though some feel people’s reactions are universal, I tend to think that they are as varied as snowflakes. We all come from different backgrounds and experiences and different levels of social comfort. Plus, even though some people might feel inquisitive and cheerful, every chemo patient doesn’t have the same reaction either. They don’t know YOU, nor how you would react. I’m wondering if you remember how YOU reacted to a very ill person prior to your illness.
    When I watch TV or read blogs I am struck by the fact that everyone thinks others should think and do they like do. It just doesn’t happen. Even if we try, we are all different. After 50 plus years of marriage my husband and I don’t react the same to hardly any situation.
    I am praying for your swift recovery and pray for blessings for all who are helping you so lovingly.

  88. 89

    I love your social experiment. I’m not sure I’m that brave. But since you asked, I think I am in the category of wanting people to completely ignore my bald head and treat me like nothing was wrong/different. Outside of the cancer center, I’ve only spotted one bald woman with a baseball cap on, at the mall. I saw her, I passed her, I didn’t say anything… it’s awkward to walk up to a total stranger and assume they are sick or want to talk about it. But… if they presented an “in” like a funny cancer slogan or hat, or said something as a conversation opener I would probably say something compassionate or encouraging. Then again, there are many beautiful bald women who may not be sick, just rockin’ the look. Just like there are tattooed and pierced women. We don’t say things to them either. Interesting subject to think about.

    I guess we’ll see. I figure I’ve got a few more weeks before I go for the shave. I hope I can walk with my chin up in grace and beauty as you do. Even with my fat face :-D

  89. 90
    Meghan Grace says:

    Hi Sweet Pea! I just finished reading all these beautiful expressions of support and love. You know, I am almost old enough to be your momma. I guess that the mother hen in me just aches with the love that your beautiful mother must feel for you and the sadness she feels saying good bye. I am sooooo happy that you have such a beautiful family and an unbelievable blog family to wrap their arms around you. My mother too now reads your blog so I guess that you also have a grandmother hen praying for you! :). We love you, Ashley! Thanks for sharing your journey and your talents with us! Choosing joy!!!!

  90. 91

    I suspect I’d have smiled at you & went about my day because I wouldn’t have wanted to bother you.

  91. 92
    Leigh Ann says:

    Lots of hugs and prayers to you beautiful girl!

  92. 93

    Unfortunately we as humans don’t know how to react to a very nice bald headed person walking around Home Depot.
    Momma always told me not to judge a person by their outside but by their inside, so I probably would of smiled at you and asked you how you were doing (as I have done many other nice bald headed men & women). Make small talk and then move on wishing each a nice day…

  93. 94

    I sometimes see people with severely handicapped children or relatives shopping at Walmart or Target. I do often give them a smile as a positive non verbal compassionate gesture of encouragement. Not everyone wants to share their story – I am glad you do.

    I enjoy your blog. Many of the comments from readers are so insightful, caring, uplifting, just like your writings. I feel a lot of compassion for a lots of people posting here and I’ve never met them in my life.

  94. 95

    ok am i the only one with a warped sense of humor? did you still have the drawing on the back of your head? maybe they were staring because they thought it was a tattoo? you continue to amaze me with your incredible attitude.

    i am sending you positive thoughts & prayers from va.

  95. 96

    I remember when my MIL had breast cancer (this was 20 yrs ago) One by one her best friends stopped coming by. It really pissed me off and I didn’t understand how they could do that to her. My MIL sd “I reminded people of what COULD happen.
    My mother has been in a nursing home for 5 years with Altziemer’s – doesn’t recognize anyone anymore. Very few friends come to see her, I guess for the same reason. I choose to treat my mom like she is normal; she still knows me, I take my 4 granddaughters to see her, just like normal. My MIL taught me alot and so have you. I bet you will know everyone in every store from here on out. Hugs and prayers.
    Cindy

  96. 97

    I’m not trying to “pimp” my own post out, but I wrote about this topic awhile back and thought I’d share it with you. It was how having a Dad with cancer helped me become an inquisitive encourager: http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/2010/06/girl-with-cancer/

    I have no doubt your daughter is learning amazing things about life just by walking through this with you. Thank you for writing this.

  97. 98

    YAY for sticking up for yourself!! That is awesome. Oh my, that sweet elderly man is the bomb. I have a chronic illness, and I just met the most darling woman last night that made me feel so good with her understanding and caring. I think a lot of times older people just understand illness better. That man in your line just touched my heart so much. Those m&ms rock! (So do you!)

  98. 99

    You know, the bald thing has had me thinking for a while recently. Well, for the past couple years. A girl that I babysit (her name is Emma) was diagnosed with a brain tumor a couple years ago. She is 9 now, I think she was 6 or 7 when diagnosed. She underwent a long chemo regimen and was bald or had short hair for a long time. This past summer she did radiation, and she lost her hair again. She handles it so well, and her school allows her to wear hats and stay inside for recess on cold days. I’ve made her hats in every color of the rainbow. :)

    Recently I took all 7 of the kids to the dentist. My oldest two were the only ones getting a cleaning, so my other 2 and the 3 girls I watch played in the waiting room. It is a huge dentist office, and while we were there Emma had her hat off for a while. Her hair has grown back some and is pretty short, but she also has scars on her head from the radiation and surgeries. I found myself watching how other people reacted to her. Some people would just glance up, and others I noticed STARED at her, even turning around in their chair to watch her walk off. I knew she must get tired of the stares, or she may not even notice anymore– but the Momma Lion in me came out! I felt so protective of this little one. I’ve known her and watched her on and off since she was a toddler, and it broke my heart to think of how much she’s had to deal with the stares or awkward kid questions. It made me think about how protective I felt right then, and I couldn’t imagine how strong her mother must be, how protective her own mother must get when her daughter walks into a crowded room. One thing I know I do feel is pride. I’m proud to know her, proud to have the opportunity to care for her and love her. And I’m proud of you. :)

  99. 100

    My English isn’t very good but good enough to wish you lots of love from Holland. You are great.

  100. 101

    I remember the stares, sweet comments and friendly gestures to the “sick girl”…and all that is magnified when u are holding your 6 month old son. I know u want to act happy, energetic etc but people need to know to be extra nice to you darn it…you deserve it!! Haha the weird part will be when you are done with treatment, finally seriously feeling better but looking at your bald self in the mirror gets hard!! You just want to look “normal” or like your old self again!! I lost long blonde straight hair…now have curly dark post-chemo hair!! You look amazing…bald is beautiful!!! ((hug))

  101. 102

    You know, I’m one of those type of people who would try to break the ice on my approach with something completely irrelevant to my curiosity. Like, for example, if I saw you pushing that HD cart and I was sooooo curious about you, I’d open up with something like, “wow! that’s a lot of paint! you planning a living room in a graffiti art deco style ?” then I’d laugh about and grin real big and hope you’d laugh, too. I love reading your blog and looking into a little bit of your world and I thank you so much for it. It means a lot to see you smile and lift your chin. I think your mom is wonderful and I would have shaved my head, too :)

  102. 103

    I just found your blog. You are so brave..I never had the courage to go out without my head covered. And I have chemo number 12 next week! I totally understand the shopping thing. Maybe it’s because I’m still young and insecure, but I feel like everyone stares, especially kids. Shortly after I lost my hair, a checker in the grocery line asked me about it and she shared her own cancer story. I much preferred that :) Okay, going off to read the rest of your blog! <3

  103. 104

    My best friend of 20 years has stage 4 cancer, she was diagnosed 17 months ago. She never lost her hair from chemo, then in November they found 2 new spots, 1 on her spine and 1 on her brain. She started radiation in December and lost her hair a few weeks ago. SHe has been strong and brave throughout the whole process, showing only a few of us that are closest to her her true feelings. I knew she would lose her hair and had offered to shave mine off to make a wig for her or just so she had a bald friend and wouldn’t feel alone but she wouldn’t let me. She had decided she didn’t need a wig and was comfortable (at least outwardly) with that, but after a night out together her husband couldn’t handle the way people looked at her with pity in their eyes and bought her a wig the next day and she looks beautiful in it! She and I often joke about the way people, strangers or aquaintances, look at or approach her with that look of pity, I get way more annoyed than she does. I think the really important thing is that she is a survivor, that she should be proud of every time she is able to leave the house and be productive, that each new day is another day she is alive, another day she is with us, another day she is beating cancer at it’s sick game. Since this past summer every time she’s had testing she’s gotten bad results, the cancer is outsmarting the doctors yet she continues to keep going, staying positive even though she is so tired of the fight yet not willing to give up. I try to encourage her to find others going through the same thing that understand far more of what she goes through on a daily basis. I was so excited when I found your blog today that I called her and told her about it, lol, then I told her teenage daughter to help her get on the computer to find you! Thank you for your bravery and for sharing your strength and beauty with others!!!

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    I totally understand but in a different way.. I don’t have cancer but I do have a nerve disease that is in my foot and a little part of my leg and I have to get spinal injections for it so because of that my lower back is now bothering me a lot but anyways back to the point I have a wheelchair and I have to ride in it from time to time but when I am riding I have to get out and walk a little because my back starts to bother me from sitting to much and inside of people asking me whats wrong they just give me dirty looks and say rude comments.. One time at disneyland this lady said there was nothing wrong with me we were just using a wheelchair to cut in line. So in my case I wish people would ask me but they never do because they just see a young adult that looks to be health so they just assume.. But I totally get it..

    I read your blog all the time and reading about your cancer of course made me cry but your strength is amazing.. the days where I am crying in pain and cant walk I wish I had just half the strength you have.. And also you make me laugh when you talk about living in your little desert town because I live in hesperia and I so get it..

    Anyways this has been a novel but I just wanted tell you how much I admire you and just wish you and your family the best

    Aimee

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    I would fall into the treat you normal and smile category. Just wanted to let you know you have been added to my prayer list and I know you will be fine. and i love your attitude

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    Katiasergio says:

    Someone who approached from the back call me mr. I started crying. Very sad experience. I hated when I shaved my head and some tiny little hair started pinching at night while sleeping. I,s been 20 years, I was 19 at that time.