My Reflection

Yesterday morning, I took a shower and rubbed my hands through my head. As I pulled my hands forward, my palms were covered in strands and globs of hair. I took a couple deep breaths and knew that the time has come to shave my head. Losing your hair is one of the strangest experiences; however, as I sat in the shower with loose hair strands all over my body, I escaped the entanglement by challenging myself to this question – Why am I a woman? Am I a woman because of my hair, my breasts, or any other part of my body?

Being a woman is much deeper than any physical manifestation. The strongest women I know don’t need to say or do anything to display who they are. They just are. As my hair lay stranded all around me in the shower, I smiled because cancer is giving me an opportunity to redefine what being a woman means. I am a woman because of my eyes, my smile, my education, my experience, my laughter, my heart, my soul … and no physical change of appearance could ever take these attributes away from me! The temporary changes that I am undergoing through chemotherapy are just that: temporary. Perhaps others who have gone through these changes grieve because they’ve associated so much of who they are with what they look like, and when the uncontrollable strikes, you have to face yourself. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and see everything you are and everything you are not. As I am stripped to the very core, I’ve never felt more whole and although this reflection takes a moment to get used to, I feel like I’m seeing myself for the first time, and I love her.

24 thoughts on “My Reflection”

  1. So beautifully written. I love this post. I was thinking of you today when I was driving, I thought about how you’d look like once you went through this step of chemo and I pictured you in my mind with no hair and I thought with that beautiful face who would need hair! You’re beautiful cousin inside and out! Love you very much.

  2. Beautiful….you are just a beautiful person inside and out no matter how your hair is. I am happy you are staying so strong. Continued prayers being sent your way!

  3. I was in a strange city in a motel room, brushing my hair which chemo had turned orange. Suddenly it was coming out. It was no time to philosophize. Yet with all the twists and turns of that history that began in 1982… I am a survivor who tells you that you will be too.

  4. “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
    ― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

    You truly have so much light inside and out! These are lessons that no one wants to have thrust upon them. However, you are not only learning yourself, you are sharing that knowledge with others. Thank you for your wisdom, your honesty, and your sheer beauty! Proud to know you and fight at your side, Connie xo

  5. You are the most beautiful woman I know. Always have been, always will be. Know that there are many of us saying prayers for your continued strength and grace through this journey. Sending love💓

  6. Hi Estee,
    You are one strong woman! We are so proud of you after reading your blog. You are a brave lady and am sure your parents are proud of you too despite of your recent dignose of your illness. We are keeping you in our prayer always, God is greater than anything! Hang in there, you still BEAUTIFUL inside and outside.
    We love you!
    Mrs. Sadoian and family.

  7. It seems like you begin to see your soul. You. Who you are, what you are, why you are here. Maybe it is truly an awakening. Like birth , painful. But this is a rebirth. To being stronger:)

  8. Estee. You could be without the things that define a woman but either or you are beautiful. Don’t ever forget that. Your a very special lady and I love you just the way you are. I’m going to cut my hair just so you don’t feel like your doing this on your own. Even though this is all part of the process it won’t last forever.

  9. Thinking of you. I love the grit and courage you are facing this challenge with. Know I am here for you and your family in any way you need.
    Love and prayers to you.
    Ted Clarke

  10. Estee – I know what you are experiencing. I have been through the cancer rollercoaster. Just keep your positive attitude and know that you are beautiful with or without hair. When my hair started to come out in clumps, I asked my husband to cut it as close to my scalp as possible. I did lose all of my hair and it actually freed me because I never had a bad hair day! You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Just take each day at a time. My oncologist was (and still is) Dr. Chris Perkins in Fresno – who is an awesome, professional and compassionate doctor. Also, he specializes in breast cancer.
    Warm Regards,

  11. Estee’s second treatment was a little rougher than the first. The highlight of the weekend was when she walked down stairs and said, “it’s time to shave my head.” As we gathered around to give Estee her first “Boy cut” I grabbed the electric shaver and started right down the middle of her head. Brett watched intently and mom walked around quickly picking up the locks of hair as they feel to the floor.

    With each pass of the shaver we saw a new image transform. The first observation we all made was that Estee has a beautifully shaped head…Channing Tatum and Brad Pitt have nothing on her when it comes to a buzz-cut head! I don’t know why we were all surprised but Brett summed it up in the perfect words when out of nowhere he says, “I don’t think there is a haircut Estee would not look great with.” He was right…she is beautiful!

    Absent her full head of thick, long hair, you are drawn more deliberately to her eyes and face and smile and with those features jumping out at you, it’s a new and different level of beauty than we’ve never seen in her before. The buzz-cut itself is less surprising because in today’s fashion world so many women shave/cut/style their hair this way…but as we all wondered what she would look like, watching the layers of her hair come off was like unwrapping a precious gift and once we could see what was inside it was amazing.

    Later the next morning we pulled out the shaver to trim some of her neck line. While dropping a sheet over her shoulders like in a barber chair, Stan and I fussed over how best to clip the cloth around her neck. I finally barked and said “let me do this please.” My teacher/daughter responded by telling me to chill and be open to new learning.

    While this particular task was trivial and not the best example to work with…if she only knew how much I have had to open myself to new learning and how much I am growing through this emotionally life-changing experience for all of us. Who knows what a father goes through when his daughter is diagnosed with breast cancer? Who knows how they will react and respond and how they will cope with the stress and emotions? Who knows how to read the faces/hearts of their spouse and other children when a family comes together to confront this type of crisis? Who knows how to accept something like this and find the best pathways to channel energy, anger, sadness, hope… Who knows what it will take to be strong, stay positive, help the others around the crisis? I do… I’m learning a lot.

  12. Thanks for sharing your reflection We too are learning through your most difficult experience.
    May God wrap Estee in his arms during this difficult journey..God bless you with faith and strength.

  13. Simply Beautiful. Thank you Estee for including us in your journey.
    The power of your spirit is amplified through the many who are with you in thought and physical presence. Dance, Love and Kick this to the curb.

    You got this. Love and Gratitude.

  14. Estee, your writing is beautiful. You are gorgeous. Your approach to your journey is inspiring and touching. I am also deeply impacted by your father’s words. Thank you for opening up to us all! Your are helping us learn, grow, and see firsthand how precious life truly is.
    With love,
    Lou

  15. So loving your posts and dads. A beautiful way to share with us and an amazing way for you to handle this experience. Praying

  16. As a woman who had chemo from April through July I remember that moment when I also knew the hair had to go. My husband held me as I grieved the loss of my blonde locks knowing my hair would most likely come in gray. It has but God has added a special twist… black hair totally in the back. My mom laughed and said “where did my blondie go?” You have such a great perspective in your battle. Know that people you have never met are praying for you. People at my school tell me how strong I am but I say cancer teaches you strength you never knew you had. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Christine

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