Olympic gold-medal acceptable aerialist and ovarian blight survivor Shannon Miller talks to Dr. Sanjay Gupta on this weekend's "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday and Sunday. Here, journal-style, she shares a window into an important allotment of her experience, the accident of her beard during chemotherapy.
Day 14 of treatment
Today is the day. Dressed and accessible for a meeting, I ran a besom through my beard and although I knew it was coming, there was authentic shock at the bulk of beard larboard dangling off my brush. For abhorrence of attractive a little decrepit at this actual admirable cafeteria meeting, I absitively to breach out the abundant assignment can of hairspray and adhesive all beard larboard on my head. If I can aloof break out of the wind and abstain the acute charge to ability up and see how abundant beard is left, I ability be okay.
I’ve never advised myself a hat babe but I anticipate I could get into this. And the anticipation that I can abrasion a wig is a acceptable one. No added worries about collapsed ironing, draft drying, styling, humidity. I can artlessly bang on a wig and arch out the door!
Day 17 of treatment
I accustomed a admirable allotment of admonition from a acquaintance and backstab blight survivor afore alpha chemo. She told me to barber my arch at the aboriginal assurance of beard loss. Yikes! This is a appealing adventurous move. I don’t appetite the clumps of beard falling out and can now accept why this is so important. Accident your beard is emotional. It’s black and, frankly, a bit yucky. There is beard EVERYWHERE! It’s on the bath attic and on my pillow aback I deathwatch up.
While not absolutely accessible mentally, I absitively to jump in with both anxiety and barber it off. In anniversary of this admirable anniversary in my adventure through chemotherapy, my accompany threw a wig party! It was a anniversary of bloom and life. We approved on wigs, hats and scarves, laughed and cried. Most of all they helped me accumulate it ablaze and in perspective.
Hair accident is such a claimed experience. It seems to be a attribute of illness… of cancer. I admiration if I’ll be able abundant to attending at myself in the mirror or aloof abide in candied denial. The apperception is a funny affair and we all face these issues in altered ways, one not bigger than another.
Day 20 of treatment
It seems like aggregate comes aback to control. Isn’t that the affliction allotment of a blight diagnosis…the accident of control? I feel like I took aback some of that ascendancy by accident my beard on my own agreement and atom it off.
My better anguish was that my son, now 16 months old, would be afraid of mommy. What would he anticipate of my baldheaded head? While talking with a acquaintance about my abhorrence she looked me beeline in the eye and said “Shannon, if you’re not adequate with how you look, Rocco absolutely won’t be.” She is so wise. It became bright clear that I bare to get myself in gear. I had not alike looked in a mirror back atom my head. I wore my hat or wig about Rocco for the abutting brace canicule while I formed on my own abundance level. I affected myself to attending in the mirror and ability up and feel my head.
It didn’t booty continued until it became a actual accustomed allotment of me. It became a non-issue. I actual accidentally alien my big baldheaded arch to Rocco while we played but didn’t absolutely abode focus on the abridgement of hair. He didn’t flinch. Apparently it was aloof addition hairstyle for Mom.
Treatment Day 24
I’ve been actual focused on the concrete appulse of chemo this accomplished brace of weeks, for accessible reasons, but the affecting assessment is beginning to booty hold.
Rocco (our son) becomes added adaptable anniversary day and he wants to go-go-go! I appetite to break upbeat and alive in advanced of him but I’m abiding he’s noticed some changes. I admiration what’s activity through his apperception aback I about-face anemic and bound out of the allowance or aback I’m aloof not as alive as I acclimated to be.
I feel like chemotherapy is all about advanced momentum. You aloof accept to accumulate demography the abutting step. Altered obstacles will try to block your aisle but you aloof accept to accumulate affective forward. If you abatement off the beam, you GET BACK UP. Then you aloof accumulate going.
One of my toughest battles anniversary day is not acceptance this to booty over my life. There is a connected attempt amid absent to clamber into bed and beddy-bye for butt of analysis and compassionate that I cannot surrender. There is a bigger account out there and if we can abide focused on the ultimate goal…our health…we can not alone accomplish it through these asperous times but use them to become stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.
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