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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Clean shaven

“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5


No Photoshop magic here. The inevitable happened Sunday evening, and I called my dear, dear friend Shannon to see if she’d be willing to shave my head. She said she’d be honored and I was relieved. My hair had been gradually falling out for a week and I just knew in my heart it was time. I was waking up with hair all over my pillow. I could pull it out at will. I was constantly picking it off of my shirt and arms. Showering or blow-drying my hair was an act of trust. I would ask myself, “If I shower today, am I willing to see clumps of hair fall out? And, if I make it out of the shower with hair, will I have enough hair after I blow dry it?” I was continually cleaning out my hairbrush and it just got to be oppressive. Good, bad or ugly, my hair would be gone soon and I needed to face it.

It was, of course, an emotional and deliberate decision. I asked my sis to join me in what would be an experience I wouldn’t soon forget. When my sis and I arrived at Shannon’s, she grabbed a few quick “before” images of me and then we headed to her back porch where she had music playing and a beautiful place for me to sit. The evening was so unusual. The sun was shining but there were dark clouds rolling in. The air was warm and still. The stillness provided this sense of peace and calm in my heart – even though there was fear and trembling with what was to come. We huddled together and said a prayer for strength and a reminder of His goodness while we wept. Shannon put two piggy tails in my hair and cut them as a remnant of what was and what is to come again. Then . . . she began to shave.

As she pushed the razor from my forehead to the nape of my neck for the first time, tears rolled down my face again. I could hear my sister quietly crying behind me and I glanced at Shannon to see tears rolling softly down her cheeks. And then, the strangest thing happened. As Shannon began to shave, delicate drops of rain began falling from the sky. It was as if the Lord was reminding me He really did love me (even when I couldn’t feel it right then) and He did not take delight in this difficult, disgusting moment. I felt Him whispering to me, “I’m crying too and the heavens are joining me.” It was a surreal moment with the sun still shining – dark and beautiful all at once. My sister quickly grabbed the patio umbrella to cover me while Shannon proceeded to shave my locks. I listened to songs reminding me of God’s sufficient grace, His continual presence and His goodness. I asked Shannon to leave about a quarter-inch of hair for me to see. When I looked at my reflection in the window, I felt like Fantine in Les Miserables and thought to myself, “Okay, I don’t look so awful. I can do this.” However, both my sis and Shannon believed it would be best to shave me clean as my hair would only continual to fall out only delaying the inevitable. So, Shannon began to shave again.

This time I felt the razor sweeping across my skin – leaving it bare, vulnerable and cold. My head felt wet all over when she was done and when I reached up to feel it, there was a sense of horror and immense sadness. I didn’t know if I could stomach seeing my reflection this time. I knew it would be hard. I gathered up courage and quickly glanced at my reflection in the window. Horrow struck even deeper. I ran inside to see a better reflection in the mirror. I can’t say I felt like I was looking at a monster - just a very, very different looking Kelsey and I was sad. My first reaction, “God this is cruel. How could you allow this?” followed with, “I’ve got to cover this up.” I immediately ran upstairs to the stash of wigs and hats I toted along. I covered that bare head of mine and immediately felt better. Shannon and Hol joined me to see me model some of my head covering opts. They were excited with how they looked on me. Their excitement greatly encouraged my heart and reminded me this is only a season and I can do this. Thank you Shannon & Hol for sharing in this moment with me. I will never forget it. Your compassion, grace and strength sustained me when I felt incredibly weak and sad. As Hol and I drove home, we reflected on how perfect the evening had been. It truly was God ordained. (Chris actually told me later he saw a complete rainbow that evening.)

Since it is super late and I have my hard hit of chemo tomorrow (actually today in just a few hours), I will save Alexa’s and Chris’ reaction to Mommy’s bald head for the next post. In the meantime, I will share a bit of what’s happened in my life since being bald and some PRs for the my upcoming journey.

Some precious sisters from my church threw a head-covering party for me on Monday. I was showered with love via beautiful scarves, fun hats and uber large earrings (a must when you are bald). I am modeling one of two wigs I picked out a few weeks ago. Ty sweet friends for loving on me in such a tangible way. And thank you for not gasping in horror when I took my wig off.

On Tuesday evening, Shannon & Steve threw us a “God is (still) good” celebration for reaching this milestone and making it a memorable and fun one for Alexa as well.


Alexa (and Mommy) were elated with the cake. Since refined sugar is very limited or off limits in my cancer-eliminating diet, I savored the moment to indulge. I mean really!? I lost my hair this week, this girl gets some sugar!

Brooke, my bestie from college, flew in to spend the week with me. Yesterday, she treated Alexa and me to a girl’s day out with pedicures. Of course, my oncologist said I couldn’t have an official pedicure since I’m on chemo but I could sit in a massage chair and have them paint my nails with a nail color I brought. This, however, was Alexa’s first “official” pedicure and she loved it – suspicious at first but then pure delight. She loved her “mashage” too. Ty Brooke for being my source of “happy,” reminding me of what really matters in life and being here at one of the most vulnerable times of my life. I do love the fact Brooke asked me as she was getting ready if she could borrow my blow dryer – all the while I am sitting there bald as an eagle - I smiled and said she could use my straightener too. She said, “You see. I don’t even see that you don’t have hair. You’re just Kels.” Ty friend. You’ve always loved me just as I am.


You can tell whose feet aren’t allowed to see much sun due to chemo.

I’ll end with this card written by a cancer patient. It is hanging in the Heads Above Salon at the OU Cancer Center where I found my wigs. (Alexa told me it wasn’t the wig store rather the jewelry store.) Anyway, I believe it reflects the heart of any woman faced with the dilemma chemo brings – hair loss. We often find when we’re faced with things we can’t control and that really frighten us, we are often much stronger than we expected.


My prayer is that Alexa will look and remember her Mommy was brave, and that even without hair, even though she looked a bit different than other Mommies, she was beautiful. She wasn’t beautiful because of outward adornment. She was beautiful because Christ shined through her eyes, her smile, her big hugs, her unconditional love. I pray in a season when I know I will feel incredibly aware of what I have lost, I will also know what I have gained and be radiant for Him.

And yes . . . God is (still) good even when I have to wear an Under Armor beanie to bed to keep this noggin warm. By the way, the “God is good” watercolor I’m holding in this before & after image was also handmade by Shannon. This girl has got skeels! She gave it to me early in my diagnosis so I could be reminded of this Truth everyday. Love you, sweet friend!


- My hard hit of round #2 is today at 9am. Please pray for optimal effects on the cancer cells with minimal side effects to the good cells in my body. If I must be still, pray my heart would run to Truth and not lies. Gratitude & hope not discouragement & despair.

- My nurse accidentally sped up my chemo drip last week by an hour. My doc at MDA said this was a partial treatment. Please pray against human error in these incredibly important treatments.

- I have a follow-up appt at MD Anderson July 28-29 to assess the effectiveness of the chemo. Our biggest prayer thus far is for total healing followed by the request that this chemo WORK (destroy and eliminate this nasty cancer). Please pray for encouraging news. If (rather when) Dr. B sees progress (right!?), I may jump up and kiss his bald head. I’ll be elated.

- Pray for Mommy to be brave when I step outside – be it wearing a wig, a hat or going free. Help me to find my identity in Christ not this world.


  1. Kelsey you look beautiful in these pictures and the wig looks awesome! I love the story about the rain. Thanks again for sharing your beautiful heart! Praying for minimal side affects in the next few days and for total elimination of the cancer! Love you sweet friend!

  2. Dearset Kelsey: You are truly beautiful in the only way that counts- you glow with the Holy Spirit. What an awesome spirit you have. God is truly holding you up. Thanks so much for sharing your 'big step' in such an honest heartfelt way. Could feel your stromg faith shining through in each word. Will pray that the treatments go well and that the nasty stuff does indeed do its work. Love you, Sharl and Doug Taylor

  3. Kelsey, you are radiant. You have true beauty inside and out. Beauty that most will never see in this world. I pray you never lose sight of that and that God comforts you through this next chemo..

  4. You are absolutely beautiful! ... (as I knew you would be) ... inside AND out! Love you girl! always praying!
    Kellee H.

  5. Two scriptures came to mind this morning as I read your latest, beautiful words written above. God is singing over you with praise...a beautiful picture indeed. His mercies are new every morning, each and every morning.

    Those who walk in the beauty of The Lord, who have that beauty on the inside, radiate with His beauty on the outside as well. Kelsey, you are beautiful.

    Zephaniah 3:17
    17 For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
    He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

    Lamentations 3:21-24
    21 But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:
    22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    his mercies never come to an end;
    23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
    24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

    Mike and Detta

  6. Kelsey, you are beautiful inside and out! The light of Jesus is shining through you. I have to say it again, you amaze me! Love, Melinda

    Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. Selah For You have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear Your Name. Ps. 61:1-5

  7. Kelsey, You look AWESOME without hair. Not everyone can pull off a bald head, but you have the features for it! I Love it. Really big hoop earrings, no wig and a summer silk scarf wrapped around your neck :) Praying for you! Beth Franks

  8. Truly gorgeous with or without hair! Love reading what all God is teaching you and having specifics to pray over you. Glad you and Brooke are having fun. I know she will be a great support to you this week.

  9. Kelsey, I have grown to love you so much as I read your blog. Your mother has raised a strong and godly daughter. You are shining, even in your trials. God is indeed good. I am praying for you.

  10. You're so beautiful, friend. Love the reference you posted of Psalm 34. Love and miss you.

  11. Kelsey! PLEASE don't take offense at this because I mean it in all sincerety - you are ROCKIN that new do! I'm glad you remember God loves you. You are beautiful and I love you! Mike & Mary Lynn

  12. Kelsey, having never met you, I can say, without reservation, that you are a beautiful woman inside and out. Your big, beautiful smile is the best adornment ever and looks fabulous on you! Praying for God's richest blessings on you and your family as you journey through this disease.

  13. You're gorgeous!!!!

  14. Girl, I know you didn't have a choice in all of this but as someone said above you are rockin that new do! Not many ladies can pull off a bald head with such grace and gorgeousness but you, my friend are certainly one of them. Am praying that chemo kicks this cancer's arse! Also that you'll keep your eyes to the heavens, and not be afraid to shout up that direction and beat your fists at the sky in your moments of frustration - just that you'll continue to be able to be honest before the Lord and keep talking to Him (yelling at Him;), especially in the moments (L o n g d a y s and d a y s) when you barely feel human. Love you :)

  15. You are beautiful!