Badge of Honor

_MG_8052Losing hair in an already difficult situation is like rubbing salt in an open wound. As if struggling to survive each day through treatments, medications, and poisonous elixirs isn’t enough, going through it bald is the proverbial cherry on top.

_MG_8040When I first lost my hair, I was unsure about venturing out into the public without something covering my smooth, hairless scalp. I remember the first time I stepped out of the house sporting my new look. As freeing as it felt, I also noticed the amount of unwanted stares I began to receive. The questions, curiosities, and expressions of pity in the eyes of strangers were tangible. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed, but most of all, I was vulnerable. At times I wanted to boldly announce, “I have cancer, alright? Stop staring at me!”

_MG_8089I’ve been baldalicious for the greater part of two years, and have now learned to view it differently than I did in the beginning. My perspective has changed and a pride has emerged in the once desolate space of vulnerability. I am proud to be bald because being bald means I am a survivor. Being bald means I am still here. Still fighting. Still alive! Instead of viewing myself as a patient, I view myself as a strong warrior. Now, when out in public without a wig, I walk with my head high. I have nothing to be embarrassed about. Nothing to hide.

_MG_9187One month after my final chemotherapy treatment, I developed a longing to document my beautiful baldness. As illustrated as my journey has been, there was one thing missing — a gallery highlighting my bald head. I wanted my badge of honor on display, in a way that highlighted the fierce survivorship that I so often feel.

_MG_8133As usual, God’s timing is always perfect; Recently I was invited to be the subject in a photo shoot. After discussing my vision for the session, Kimberly met my husband and I at a park and we got to work. I was inspired to showcase the beauty in baldness, and brought along a headpiece that I put together. This photo shoot was such a special, intimate, and celebratory moment in time. Kimberly is a phenomenal photographer, warm and friendly face, and develops an atmosphere of comfort that is so needed in a shoot like this one. What she produced stunned me. She captured my vision to a “t,” and I will forever be grateful to have visual representations of the beauty in my baldness. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

_MG_9208Bald should be celebrated, not hidden away in embarrassment. If you are bald from the effects of your courageous fight through cancer, embrace it! It is your badge of honor. You are beautiful! After all, we are survivors … our bald heads say so.

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Isaiah 12:5 (MSG)

“Sing praise-songs to God. He’s done it all! Let the whole earth know what he’s done!”

PHOTO CREDIT: KIMBERLY MITISKA PHOTOGRAPHY

 

6 Comments on Badge of Honor

  1. Kandace
    April 11, 2014 at 6:42 PM (3 years ago)

    I love this! You are so beautiful and the photo shoot is amazing! Your courage and faith are inspiring. God bless you.

    Reply
  2. Linda
    April 11, 2014 at 11:49 PM (3 years ago)

    YOU are beautiful. Inside and out.

    Reply
  3. Melinda
    April 14, 2014 at 5:09 PM (3 years ago)

    Saw you on Ellen and have been dolling your blog whenever your brother posts them. Very inspiring to see you on Ellen you are very beautiful.

    Reply
  4. Renae of Simple Sequins
    April 17, 2014 at 10:19 PM (3 years ago)

    hi Stephanie! Nice to meet you. I too am dealing with cancer currently; breast cancer. My daughter saw you on Ellen and I’ve seen the video of it. On my blog tomorrow, (4/18) I am telling others about you. I do a blog hop each Friday and I have a “Co-Host” each week. This week you are the ‘unofficial’ Co-Host. I took 3 pics off of Bing Images of you and provided a link to your blog, hope you don’t mind? I also included the video link of the Ellen appearance.

    Your inspiration is contagious and I had to share your story, experiences, attitude and life with my followers. I will begin Chemo in a week and my hair will be out of here 16 days later, guaranteed. I was suppose to start Chemo tomorrow, but I cancelled a ct scan due to just too much happening; surgery 4 weeks ago, port installation a week ago, a bone scan on tuesday and I had had enough! So I took charge of my path a bit and said, NO! I am not having a ct scan {of which I am allergic to the contrast dye so I have to benedryl up the ying yang} and then BEGIN chemo the next day. EXCUSE ME?

    Sometimes doctors don’t help. Many times they do. I had to take a stand or I was going to explode!

    Nice to meet you. I would love to have you visit my blog. Please do! I usually share my thrift shop style as my posts but now that I have breast cancer, I have done posts about that as well. You can read my story thus far on my “pink update” at the top by my blog header, My blog isn’t just about my breast cancer. Check it, you are invited. lol I am following you on Instagram!

    You are so beautiful. You are giving me wonderful courage to go bald and not wear the dumb wig I have. hahaha.

    ♥, Renae

    Reply
  5. MIS PAPELICOS
    April 18, 2014 at 8:19 AM (3 years ago)

    You are abeauty and a true example.
    love to you.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Reply
  6. Imogen
    April 19, 2014 at 4:06 AM (3 years ago)

    You are absolutely incredible and inspiring beyond what any words could explain. I hope you know how beautiful and courageous you are. You are so positive and bring a different perspective. You most definitely are a strong warrior, keep going.

    Reply

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