About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I've been going out more and more without a hat, scarf or wig.

I've gotten so many kind comments from everyone about how cute my new 'do looks. How its in style, how I could even play it up more with color, etc. How I've got a "pretty face" and nicely shaped head to pull it off where as others may not.  One lady this morning who didn't know about my cancer commented how she loves her short hair and wouldn't ever grow it out again.  I told her I didn't have much of a choice.  She was sweet about it. Anyway, all the comments are very gracious and nice. It does help me deal with the necessity of going out with the hair I do have.

But I feel exposed. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, or car window, I'm taken aback. On the other hand, that isn't a new thing. Gosh, there have been many times in the past 10 months where I did not even recognize myself at all.

At this point, going back to the wig would be just plain weird.  Hats don't always work with what I'm wearing. I still wear a bandanna to the gym, but you can see sideburns peeking out.

I just have to press on and deal with it.  I remind myself that tomorrow, it will be longer than it was today.

I never considered myself a vain person. I remember going out of the house "BC" barely even brushing my hair. I would just put it up in a clip or combs and be done with it. Now I have to consider drawing eyebrows in so I don't look like a lizard. What about the head? Do I wear a hat? Does it match in style or color to what I'm wearing?  Even when I wear my hair "out" I have to put some gel in it to try and avoid the "rooster" look that it seems to want to do on its own. I probably need to get some shaping around my neck and ears with a buzzer, just so it looks a little cleaner.

And what is up with facial hair??  I've been told that comes with age. (Read: menopause)  It is seriously funny looking around my neck and jawline. Like a thick peach fuzz.  As my hair grows on my head, it is getting thicker.  I'm not sure what to do about that-I want to avoid chemicals, but I really don't want to look like Chewbacca!

On the other hand, going out without a scarf helps me feel like a normal person again. I don't have to "treat" my head, or cover it up. I've earned that "survivor" ribbon that is on the back of my car!  I'm not a walking advertisement for cancer anymore. If you didn't know me, you wouldn't know that I ever had an "issue."

Someone asked me yesterday if I thought I could go on as if I never had cancer. Definitely not. For one thing, I will deal with lymphedema for the rest of my life. That's a daily reminder.  My body has been permanently altered as well. Although we get used to it, the ragged scars remind me if I look. As an aside, I wore my prosthetics the other day and I caught Eric looking at me really strangely.  He just thought it looked weird for me to have breasts again.  I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing!  There are also the dietary changes that are important for me to fight any recurrence. That is a permanent change. I've come across many who have treated their own cancer through dietary changes alone with success.  If they can beat the disease that way, it will give me the best chances to incorporate those habits into my diet to fight illness-whether it is cancer or something else.  But that is another blog post.

One breast cancer survivor told me that as time goes by, you get more confident about your health. That is probably true. Having normal length hair will help me too.

1 comment:

  1. I hate the "oh, it's just age" comment! It's totally different if you get there basically overnight rather than gradually over months/years. I'd like to hear what some of those people would say if they suddenly woke up one morning with gorilla face!