A routine mammogram detected a small tumor; the sonogram confirmed it…and the doctor said: “We have a lot of work ahead of us!” The amount of information and appointments, doctors, sessions, tests…that need to be done will certainly keep you hopping. It was difficult to even digest all that information so why even share it. I thought I could just keep it to the immediate family, I would just get it done. But, to be a good “warrior” and beat this annoying cancer, you need to have an army….and you know, I DO!
When chemo treatment began, it quickly moved to weakening the hair follicles and the “loss” began. I asked my husband to shave me …as I cried seeing the remnants fall to the ground. But, on the flip side…it is summer, and it’s quite liberating not to have to worry about hair and humidity! As the chemo continued, the eyebrows and lashes also diminished….but also on my legs and other areas – so no more shaving needed! Because I was fortunate to be able to go on extended medical leave, I was not too concerned about my day-to-day look so a cleverly tied scarf really did the trick. Each day I was becoming less interested in going out …. feeling less and less attractive. My beautiful niece Angie called one day and mentioned a program called FABYS at the Oviedo “The Look” Salon…..”they will fit you for a wig – you need to go!!”….Well, prodded by an entourage of sister, niece and daughter…I met with the enthusiastic “The Look” salon owner Gail Benson and her staff. These wonderful loving individuals had a vision on what my “look” should be…and they did not disappoint.
Today, I went for my wigs…yes, Gail and the staff could not decide if I should be a brunette or a blonde…so, she did both to keep it exciting! Accompanied by my wonderful family, I was treated like celebrity at a photo shoot…and there was the popping of the pink champagne, also! The talented staff did an amazing job with the make up and thus “putting on a face” on a canvas that looked tired and beaten. When I looked in the mirror I could not believe that was me – SMILING!! Yes, I must be very vain, but I felt so uplifted. Then, when Gail put the wigs on (one at a time, of course!) it was an overwhelmingly moving experience. I looked around the salon, and my family, the staff and even the clients were all so happy for me…these strangers were all happy for me. There is my army…I am ready to continue fighting for I have drawn strength and energy. I am still smiling!
I always knew I was blessed with a wonderful loving family and friends…now I am further blessed by new friends sharing my journey. Thank you, Gail … thank you, “The Look” salon staff, thank you to my family. I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, so I will live this day to the fullest…smiling!
One afternoon, my girlfriend came across me crying in Target of all places! I had just had a horrible experience @ a “wig salon” which left me upset due to their lack of compassion. Laurie took me by the hand, calmed me down & set up an appointment @ Martino Cartier Salon in Sewell, N.J. She explained to me about FABYS.
I had just had a double mastectomy @ age 54 & was gearing up to begin my chemo.
As I walked in to Martino’s salon & met Dawn for the first time, I felt surrounded by a caring, loving supportive staff. Dawn was incredible , patient & upbeat as she helped me pick out a wig for when “the time came” to shave off my hair.
That time came less than two weeks later as my hair started falling out. But no tears this time! I knew right where to head & Dawn, Martino & that lovely staff gave me strength to sit in that chair with a smile; knowing I was going to be just fine.
This is the support & compassion all women going thru such a traumatic time should experience.
A big THANK YOU to Martino Cartier Salon for for your generosity, support & love as I make my way through this journey. I am ever so grateful.
Here at Mari The Studio, we are extremely honored to partner with Friends Are By Your Side. Our most recent Lioness came to us at the recommendation of our very first FABYS wig recipient. Getting to hear her story, see her smile and courage light up our studio, and listen to her say she feels like herself again touched each one of our hearts. As she was leaving, she told us how excited she was for her friends and family to see her new look, and also said this has given her to confidence to re-enter the workforce since losing her hair to chemo! We are so happy to have her join our FABYS family, and honored to be a partner with this amazing organization!