I wasn’t excited about being bald from chemo. I was excited about my wigs, but when I was home I didn’t wear them. I quickly learned to avoid looking in the mirror. The Henna Crown given to me by Rebekah Faith of Joyful Canvas changed that.
I was never defined by my hair. In fact, most of my life I had hair on the shorter side. Occasionally, I would grow it out, but I always went back to short. If the haircut wasn’t great, the hair would grow back and I would try something new.
So fast forward to about 2 1/2 years ago, my doctor said I absolutely would need chemo and yes I would most likely lose most of my hair. I didn’t cry, I just figured I would get some wigs and have a lot of fun with them. I bought human hair wigs in blond (and a red one) and my hairstylist and I played with them and did all kinds of funky colors. So I was ready, or so I thought.
About a week after my first chemo treatment, my husband shaved my head. I didn’t want to have one of those scenes in the shower, pulling out clumps or waking up in the morning and finding piles of hair on my pillow. I took a photo after I did it and shared it. I then kept chemo hats or wigs on. Just a day or two later I was able to pull out the little hair that was left with almost no effort. At that moment I broke down. I’m still not sure why I did, maybe it was the reality of the situation.
Soon, the stubble was almost all gone and I was almost entirely bald. One day, scrolling through Facebook I saw an article on Henna Crowns for cancer patients. I was immediately intrigued. I had henna tattoos before so I knew a little about it. I shared the article and asked if any of my friends knew anyone. Luckily, a friend, Liz Ramsey of Soaps by Elizabeth, saw the post and connected me with her friend Rebekah. Rebekah had not done any Henna Crowns yet but was a talented henna tattoo and face painting artist and she wanted to do them.
Rebekah and I talked and arranged to meet. About 2 hours of sitting for her, I had an amazing piece of artwork on my head and I didn’t mind so much looking in the mirror at home. People loved it, Rebekah had done an amazing job.
I kept the paste on as long as I could in order to let it last as long as it could. I probably had the crown for over 2 weeks. If you are going through chemo or have lost your hair for some other reason, I highly recommend getting something like this done. Not only did it make me feel better at a tough time in my life, but it was quite relaxing and almost meditative to have done.
My friend Rachel Amelio of Rachel Amelio Photography saw my crown on Facebook and asked if she could photograph me. For someone going through chemo and being bald it was a feel good moment that someone still wanted to photograph me. What a boost when I really wasn’t feeling great!
Today, I still think this is the best photograph I’ve ever had taken. I only wish I had felt this beautiful while I was going through all this. Unfortunately, sometimes illness gets in the way of how we feel. Don’t get me wrong I was amazed and felt so much better, but I don’t think I fully appreciated it as much as I do now.
I am thankful to Liz Ramsey for introducing me to Rebekah, Rebekah for creating this amazing piece of artwork and Rachel Amelio for encouraging me to take these photos. Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone can create something amazing and make you realize you are a unique individual.
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