I remember it like it was yesterday even though it was five years ago. While I was going through chemo, I attended a one-day class for women with cancer called “Look Good, Feel Better”. We could bring a friend along if we wished so I called my friend Charisse who agreed to go with me.
It was a fun day. Hesitating for a moment the chemo patients in the room removed their wigs, scarves and caps. Looking at one another, we suddenly all laughed with relief. We were surrounded by people who were experiencing the same thing we were. They knew the horror of learning they had cancer, the fear and the pain. They understood what it was like to have chemo drugs racing through your body and what it was like to lose your hair. It involves both shame and pain.
Yes... pain. When you lose hair during chemo, it is not like your hair simply falls out like it does when you brush your hair or your hair is thinning. When that happens, the hair follicles simply stop producing hair. With chemo, the hair follicles come out right along with all your hair and it really is painful. This is one of the reasons why women undergoing chemo are strongly advised to shave their heads or at least cut their hair very short once it begins to come out. It makes things a bit less painful plus you have the added benefit of not looking like you have mange!
After a day of being pampered and feeling loved, we prepared to leave. The ladies from the church hosting the event had a surprise for us. A group of women at the church make prayer shawls for cancer victims and they had some for us.
I remember the long days and nights of chemo. Nothing in this world will ever erase the memory of it. If I would not have gone through that, I do not believe I would be here today and I believe that God allowed me to endure it for a reason. I learned some valuable lessons during that time which I could not have learned otherwise and God introduced me to some amazing people.
Yet in the midst of all the pain and suffering, I would wrap myself up in the prayer shawl whose maker I may have never met. I would wrap it around me and think about all the love and prayers that had gone into making it for me, a stranger.
Wrapped up in that shawl I would feel the love of God surrounding me. I might be sick, broken, ugly to look upon and afraid but I was loved. Oh, how I was loved by God as well as by family and friends.
During dark and difficult days which I have faced since that time, when I feel alone and in despair, I remember my prayer shawl. It serves to remind me that no matter how dark things seem, I am surrounded and wrapped up in God's love... and so are you.
This brought tears to my eyes!
Thanks for sharing this story ~ I did not know about the hair follicles!
Praise God for His healing... and for His loving people... you among them!
Thank you for sharing!! I will be more mindful and thoughtful of WHO is getting the prayer shawls I'm trying to help make and what they must be going through. I'm glad to hear the one you received was such a blessing...the idea is not only warmth but one of comfort and a reminder that it came full of prayers. I appreciate the blog!!!
I WILL share thank you!! I think it helps when you hear or know someone who has dealt with whatever challenge you personally are dealing with because they will understand like no other. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT that people are willing to open up and share with each other what we are going through without the fear of judgment. That is one of the beautiful things of CB. I am so happy that you are on this side of that dark and scary time in your life. I appreciate your willingness to share and be open!! You are a blessing!