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.

Friday, July 6, 2012

They said it wouldn't last....

I remember when I was in that terrible time frame of knowing I had breast cancer, but not really knowing how bad it was. I was in the throes of trying to learn a new vocabulary, make decisions about treatment, figuring out how not to go crazy with worry.  I remember meeting with Kaiser's breast cancer care nurse, Judy. She coordinated everything for the newly diagnosed: breaking the news; surgeons; chemotherapy orientation classes; support groups; mastectomy products; post-surgery camisoles, etc. She was our first point person to ask questions of.

When I was diagnosed, we already knew the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes. Based on that, they were recommending chemo for systemic treatment of cancer. One of the first things I was told was that I would most likely lose my hair. When I met with Judy in person, she mentioned that when my hair grew back, it could quite possibly be curly. The "chemo curl" she called it, but she also added that it probably wouldn't last.

Sure enough, last year when it started to come back, my hair was in waves. As it grew longer, it was curly.  It was a new thing for me. I spent a lot of money in the 1980's and 1990's perming my fine straight hair into waves! I didn't do much with my new curls, other than trying to keep it from being too frizzed at the ends.  I always got lots of comments about the curls from people who knew me "BC" (before cancer).  Even though it was kind of wild, I kind of liked it. It was easy to deal with, for the most part.

I happen to be on vacation in France right now.  My mother in law happens to be a trained "coiffeuse."  That is, she has spent most of her life doing other people's hair.  After over 15 years of marriage, she had never cut my hair. She's done all the kids, but never mine.  This trip, however, the top of my hair was driving me nuts. It was clearly too long and I couldn't do anything with it. Out of desparation, I made a comment about it. She recognized the open door and offered to help.

What the heck. Even if I hated it, I figured it will grow back, right? Besides, I've been BALD. How bad could it be?  She took me downstairs, sat me in a chair and went for it.

She gave it a good whack, but had a vision in mind. In her words (roughly translated), she gave it a "shape." It is short, but again, I've been bald so its been shorter. The thing is....the curl seems to be gone.

So Judy was right.  The upside of it is that it kind of mentally puts me on the road of being another step past cancer and treatment. The downside is that I'm having to spend more time on it so it doesn't look ridiculous!  There are mornings when I wake up and its sticking straight up!  Not so easy when not at home with my own hair "stuff," no matter how long it had been since I used them.

They said it wouldn't last...and they seem to have been right!

On the Paris train with my new 'do


  1. Tonya,
    The hair continues to be such a big deal doesn't it? I'm still trying to figure out what to do with my new hair. Mine did not come back curly. I've become quite attached to my baseball caps and that's pretty funny because I never used to wear them. You look adorable. I'd say your MIL did a great job!

  2. I think it looks totally cute! But then, I always liked you in short hair. Enjoy France!