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Journal of Texas School Women Executives, Volume II, Issue 1 2013 It’s The M.I.L.E.S. in the Journey by Dr. Karla Moyer

October 7, 2011. Lying in bed, I wasn’t sure if I was awake or dreaming that spider webs were falling on me. I kept whisking my hand over my face, attempting to brush the disturbing tickle away. As I sat up and turned to make the bed, I realized the dream was my dreaded nightmare; I was wide awake. My feet were on the ground. The chemotherapy was running its course. In comparison, the other side-effects were benign. Salt-and-peppered wisps fell helplessly on my pillow. Random baldness showed. My hair shed like my horse’s winter coat---God’s sign for the changing of the seasons. I woke my precious fourteen-year-old daughter, Jillian, with a mother’s kiss and a nudge to forewarn her that the time had come. In those memorable moments before my loving husband Gary reluctantly shaved my head, Jillian remarked, “Mom, hair is over-rated. Your hair is just an accessory. Now, people will see your halo.” Thirty minutes after the hair and tears were gone; I pretended to be a peacock---strutting my invisible feathers. Again, to my surprise Jillian added “Mom, you look like a sexy-biker-chick! All you’re missing are the tattoos.” As we laughed I thanked God for my earth angel and echoed the sentiment through my depressed brain . . . all I’m missing are tattoos…and boobs.

There was a young girl, undergoing chemo, who awoke one morning with only three-strands of hair. She looked in the mirror that day and pondered, “How should I wear my hair today? I know! I’ll wear it in a braid!” The next day the girl awoke with two-strands of hair. “Today, I’ll wear my hair in pig tails!” The day after that the girl awoke with only one-strand of hair. “I think I’ll wear my hair in a ponytail.” The fourth day the girl awoke with no hair on her head. She looked in the mirror, smiled, and proclaimed with confidence – Perfect! I won’t have a bad hair day!”

As the morning clock ticked, I took another deep breath and pulled my storebought hair from the closet. It caressed my raw, blistered scalp and gave me enough confidence to face my world.


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