When I turned 50 in June 2015, I was convinced that it was not only my MILESTONE birthday, but my year to SHINE! Philadelphia born and raised, I have always aspired to be an author and have two self-published novels under my belt. I was more than determined to write that THIRD, which would be my BEST-SELLER, my PULITZER PRIZE masterpiece – the one that would take my LIFE to even greater heights! So not only had I reached a milestone age, I would make people take notice of my God-given talents and abilities – once and for all!
So you can imagine my shock and distress when in 2014, I developed a horrible cough that absolutely would NOT go away. Diagnosed initially as the flu, this didn’t seem unreasonable. After all, it WAS winter time, which coincides with flu season anyway. But the cough lingered on for several MONTHS, even into the warmer weather. It became quite troubling, since I developed awful coughing spells in which I could barely catch my breath. Despite this, I continued to work – at my place of employment, AND on the manuscript I was determined would propel my career to new heights!
The cough continued, intensifying with every spell. Things felt disturbingly out of control. I was sick – but didn’t know exactly HOW sick. After several months of complaining to my Primary Care Doctor, a chest x-ray was recommended. Incredibly, I did NOT want to stop working! I carried on, despite the discomfort, one day giving in to the suggestion. Following a visit to Radiology, I was taken promptly to the E.R., where it was revealed that my RIGHT lung was full of fluid – even worse, that fluid was suspect to be MALIGNANT.
I was admitted to the hospital for two weeks while the (extracted) fluid was analyzed. My fears were confirmed in September, 2015, just months after my 50th birthday. I had ovarian cancer. To make matters worse, I was already in STAGE 4 of this “silent” disease (called “SILENT” because it typically has no OBVIOUS symptoms). Like most who are diagnosed, I was unprepared for this BOMBSHELL.
I burst into tears, slipped into depression, cried out to God … and wondered WHY? After all, I had always taken EXCELLENT care of my body. I was a “health nut”. I attended a “party school” in college where drugs, alcohol and overdoses were almost an everyday thing – yet I never touched or indulged in any illicit substances. To date, I remain extremely proud of that.
So who could I have mutant cells taking over inside, threatening to kill me?
Over one year later – AFTER 6 months of chemo and a undergoing a complete hysterectomy (May 2016), — I am currently in remission. I reflect on how one of my BIGGEST concerns at the time of diagnosis was my appearance. After all, we all know what CHEMO does to the HAIR. I have always had long hair. As an African-American female, I felt blessed that I was one of those rare women who never had to buy/ wear wigs, weaves or hairpieces.
Since I was a child, my long hair (worn in ponytails as a little girl) has always made me feel so pretty. As an adult, I was hysterical about the ILLNESS, the feeling that my body had BETRAYED me … and the LOSS of not only my FEMALE parts, but the hair that had always been my biggest beauty asset.
Enter LOLLY’S LOCKS, a program to which a Social Worker referred me at the hospital where my surgery was performed. She assisted me through the process, I applied, and as an inpatient, was contacted by the Director (Mackenzie) of this BRILLIANT organization. I had previously balked at the idea of wearing wigs and hairpieces, given that I’d never had to – but I had collected a few anyway. I “got by” with these, and looked presentable.
But with the BEAUTIFUL, high quality human hair provided by LOLLY’S LOCKS, my confidence soared like it hadn’t at any other period in my life! The minute this agency emailed me the photos and “color choices”, I was in love! When my hair arrived, I promptly visited my personal beautician. She took the LOLLY’S LOCK wig and did what she does best – cut it and styled it to be even MORE attractive, framing my face with a SIDE-SWEPT bang. The glossy new hair moves gently with my natural movement and – get this – even SMELLS good, heightening its appeal and compelling me to take excellent care of my NEW “biggest beauty asset”!
Feeling beautiful definitely takes the sting out of a very grueling illness! I don’t CLAIM any illness – never call your diagnosis “MY” cancer! Don’t YOU claim it either! Instead, do what I do – call yourself a SURVIVOR!!! Claim your healing TODAY!
Thanks, Mackenzie and LOLLY’S LOCKS! Keep up the good work! You make a difference more than you realize!