Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MY FEET IN THE SAND, MY JOURNEY THROUGH BREAST CANCER: 15 Minutes of Fame

Toni Staton Harris before


 It was predicted by doctors and other Breast Cancer soldier/survivors that I'd probably lose my hair between the second and third treatments.  I should have bet longshot money on that one because right after the first treatment, my hair that once flowed below my bra strap, twisted up into a giant lock that my stylist had to cut into and out.

The time came much quicker than anticipated.


Every once in a while, I'd cheat on my girl with another fabulous stylist around the way.  My girl works Tuesday through Saturday, not on Friday and I can't always get into her packed schedule.  If I need a quickie, I'll go to my back-up who is fabulous in her own right and happens to be my fellow choir member.

After diagnosed and first treatment, I called my back-up for one last hurrah.  I wanted to take pictures before all of my hair fell into temporary oblivion.  I text my back-up because she even works on a Monday and I was to see her that Monday.  That Friday before Monday, every time I raked a wide toothed comb through what I could get through long clumps came rolling out.  I didn't panic, well I did a little.  So I texted and called my back up on Saturday night, slightly panicked.  She didn't answer and texted back that she was at the movies, opening weekend for The Best Man Holiday.  When she did phone, she instructed me not to come in on Monday but to go ahead and shave my head, not to torture myself any longer by prolonging it.

Now I knew it was coming but I wasn't prepared for it that soon.  So I walked around with a giant lock in the middle of my head for a week.  Afterwards, it was time.  I couldn't take it any longer so I plopped in my stylist's chair and after a thorough shampooing--stylists hate when you say wash--and a strengthened lock heavy atop my head, Lisa went to cutting.

Toni Staton Harris after cut

Sabrina, a recent survivor, Lisa's bestie and co-worker held my hands and turned me away from the mirror as I cried and cried.  Only one other of Lisa's patrons remained in the shop, who was getting finished.  I didn't care.  I cried and cried and cried.  When Lisa finished, I was shocked.  I had even less hair than I thought I would have and not enough for a cute short style seen walking out of the shop moments ago.

Toni Staton Harris after cut


I stood in the mirror and really took in my tears, the glass spots on my head and cried.  I then remembered something.  Jenifer Lewis one of my favorite Dramatic/Comedic Actors had been seen on You Tube dispensing advice.  She instructed and I paraphrase noting that her delivery was as powerful as the message--You have to like yourself.  And if you don't, you STAND in that mirror until you do!  So I did.  I stood in the mirror for fifteen minutes and cried and mourned and then I was done.  And if you know anything about me, when I'm done, I'm really done or better yet complete.

Two weeks later, after I'd been hospitalized, for a week, for my first abscess Injeel would shave both his and my heads and we'd take a boat load of selfies.

Injeel and Toni after Injeel shaved my head


As for the lone patron left in Lisa's shop while I endured transformation, turns out she's an Oncology Nurse.  She gave me some of the most valuable advice.  1) You're going to need a lot of hugs (she gave me one) 2) Assemble your core team (check)  3) the most important piece of advice, ask for what you need.  If the person you are asking hesitates or says no, don't take it personally just move on to the next yes and repeat that over and over again.  Number 3 has served me well to get through this journey and apply to life in general.

That man loving me, always!


So what did I learn?  Hair grows back.  I learned to value my higher self in spite of material abundance.  And I learned, especially on those days when I don't like myself, to stand in the mirror until I do, over and over again.

Toni Staton Harris Today, Empowered

27 comments:

  1. Marvin J. BazemoreJune 24, 2014 at 3:54 PM

    Bless You My Sista!

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  2. Beautiful!!!

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  3. Beautiful! I love You, Toni

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  4. Toni you are as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside I love you!!!!

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  5. Toni, I love this. And I love you. Champion on, soldier girl. Love, Claire.

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  6. You are just as beautiful with or without hair!!! But I am so glad you cried!!! It does the soul good!!!! Love you so much!!!! Stay strong and healthy!!!! Fight that fight Girl!!!!

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  7. Beautiful Toni Staton Harris.. and very inspirational. So strong and so brave of you. You look lovely! Thanks for sharing. . To God be the Glory

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  8. Stefania JohnsonJune 24, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    You are such an inspiration! We love you and we are here for you in strength & prayer! God bless you and

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  9. Georgia SouthernJune 24, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Beautiful woman and couple. True inspiration!

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  10. Sheryl Ephraim SteadmanJune 24, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    I like the blog

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  11. Angela Bonnano LynchJune 24, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Keep fighting! Keep writing. You are an inspiration

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  12. You are an inspiration. 100% Team Toni .

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  13. You are beaming Lady! Stay beautiful, strong and inspiring

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  14. Love the Blog and of course, I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!!!

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  15. Awesome Toni ......."my girl wonder!" XO

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  16. This one made me tear up....I love you and I admire your strength.

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  17. You have to like yourself. And if you don't, you STAND in that mirror until you do! " True wisdom right there. I see you shining

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  18. Tangerla WilliamsJune 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    And you look so pretty. Press on, Ms. T!

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  19. Toni....You are beautiful!!! Your words are so inspiring...Please continue to write, this is very healing for you and for everyone who will read it...

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  20. Marlene Donna VaughanJune 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    I love the short look. You Know I cut All of mines off and loving it...

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  21. Hey sexy, you are beautiful, God is on your side. Keep looking up

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  22. So inspiring. Thank you for your stories. Can't imagine the fear that strikes you in this kind of situation. It's so admirable to see you hold your head up high & overcome the fear. I watched my mom walk through breast cancer treatments & surgery silently. Thank you for putting a voice on it to better understand. May God continue to bless you with strength!

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  23. You INSPIRE me soooo much! Love You!

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  24. From Pringle: Well, Inacent, this is the first that I'm hearing of this so you know that this tears at me. You will always be one of my children and as you hurt, I hurt. The last time I was in LA (when I last spoke to you) I was there because my sister was having breast surgery and, as I told her, I will tell you: Be vigilant with your diet. Speak to a nutritionist so that you will have as many avenues covered as you can. Much love to you and Injeel.

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  25. Thank you Toni for sharing your journey..I have watch and Been amazed, and fine it very moving,,you are chosen to live and fight..may god continue to bless you and keep you in positive sprit ...and help you heal.

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