From Bald to Badass in 2.5 Years

I have not written much about the experience of breast cancer. Chemo brain is a very serious and unsettling side effect for someone who likes to play with words. I lost about 75% of my vocabulary and communication was nearly impossible. I cried, a lot, and fought back by reading the dictionary and my thesaurus. Thankfully, I have gotten most of my words back. I cannot begin to describe the joy of being able to play with words again.

Anyway, here are some before, during and after photos.

DSCN0300This was taken about 7 months before I was diagnosed. We were at MFM and this was the last year before the con moved to the new hotel. I was completely bald the next year at MFM and had just gotten home from a 14 day stay on the Oncology Ward at Baptist Hospital.

DSCF4594This is me with my soul sister, Giddy Kitty, on the night Exene, Mike Dees and Jason Pulley played a benefit at Murphy’s to try to keep me afloat. I’d just lost my childhood home but I ended up in a fantastic home with an awesome family. This photo was taken in November of 2010.

GypsyCat Dreams 055

I almost always wore short hair before so some friends who have not seen me in a while will be surprised how long it is now and how curly it came back.

GypsyCat Dreams 057My best friend, Heathen, took this photo and there is no telling what smart-ass thing was about to come out of my mouth.

GypsyCat Dreams 059This is the gorgeous barrette my friend Jesse gave me for my birthday last year from the Ornamental Metal Museum. I love the way the color works in contrast with my hair.

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Excerpts from a letter to a friend…

It is early Sunday afternoon. The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, and the temp is perfect with a hoodie. Everything is quiet except for the wind in the trees, the wind chime behind me, and the birds above. It is so peaceful and serene. I’m sitting on the brick border of the bed along the shed and watching the flower heads dance on their stems in the wind while the chimes play us a song and the birds sing along. These images are what make me want to write children’s books and blog about gardening. I haven’t written much in such a long time. The chemo stole about 75% of my vocabulary and I was in a dark place for a long time. Finding my words and feeling the desire to write again fills me with a kind of bliss. Life isn’t perfect but it is a work in progress. The most important thing is that I am living life now instead of some unknown time in the future.

=^.^=

This is my favorite part of spring. The weather is still a little unpredictable and some days are still on the cool side. In between the winter storms that start pushing summer weather our direction and those tornado storms (right before the hell that is summer in the South), there are a few perfect spring days. Days like today. Every spring I have always let the back yard grow a bit taller than I should. I love all those different shades of green as everything bursts into chaotic life. And, I can never cut the grass too early because it would be a crime to behead thousands of regal wild violets.

=^.^=

moss buddha

Today is a Zen day. A spring breeze in my hair, the sun on my face, the song of nature in my ears. I used to be afraid of happiness. Learning to let go has been the hardest lesson to learn and the most valuable.