For as long as I can remember my son’s nickname for me has been Lioness. Inspired by my full and bouncy curls, I felt empowered being likened to a fierce, independent, and protective animal like a lion. As any mother will tell you, raising and protecting your children will often have you feeling like a mama lion. So, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, knowing I would likely lose my hair was very difficult to manage emotionally.
My journey started in January 2020 when I felt a small lump in my breast. Assuming it was because of my period, I decided it was too early to panic. By the next month, the lump was still there. And while I had made an appointment with my family doctor, a little thing called COVID threw a wrench in my plans and delayed my appointment until June of that year. After hearing that the little lump I had thought was nothing was in fact cancer, my first thoughts was “well, I gotta do what I gotta do.”
Before I could even ask the question, the oncologist said I would start losing my hair within the first 10 to 12 days of starting treatment. It was exactly two weeks after when my hair started to fall out. I didn’t think it would be so difficult to accept this new reality. I reminded myself often that treatment was helping me, but that didn’t make the hair loss any more okay. And as painful as it was for me, I think it was just as hard for my son, who was 16 at the time.
My son wouldn’t say much about my diagnosis. While he started jokingly calling me ‘fluffy’—because of the soft tufts of hair that were left—I could tell it was difficult to see his mom, his lioness, looking so drastically different. If anyone even uttered the words cancer or chemo, he would quickly say he didn’t want to hear it. I am lucky to have a kid who loves and cares about his mom as much as my son does. He would check on me daily, make sure I was drinking enough water, and even moved into my bedroom and slept on the floor during treatment. After spending all these years taking care of him, it was like the roles had reversed and I was the child!
I think that is one thing I have learned about cancer: family and community are crucial to feeling more empowered and supported. I’ve been a Marky Kay sales consultant for many years. When I told my Mary Kay family that I was diagnosed, Christine Ransome stopped by my house and brought me cosmetic goodies to lift my spirits! Another consultant supported me by sharing resources that could help me, which included a Look Good Feel Better Workshop.
Along with hair loss, chemo had darkened my skin in some areas of my face. I looked at myself after the skincare and cosmetics workshop and I had even, glowy skin again. It was so refreshing to be in an environment where I could ask questions about makeup, hair, and other things! That is when I learned the true power of LGFB: I started to feel good, like my old self. I was empowered. I was Katusha again.
One gift, double the impact. From today until December 31st, you have the special opportunity to support women facing cancer. Our friends at Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. will match your gift, meaning it will go twice as far. *
*Until December 31st, Mary Kay Cosmetics Ltd. will match individual donations, up to $30,000.