A woman who is fighting cancer at the same time as her mother is sharing an important Beauty lesson from the experience.
“Last fall I started chemotherapy. Losing my hair felt like I was losing a part of who I was,” Kelly Epps wrote in an April 16 post on the Facebook page Love What Matters. “I have struggled with feeling ‘pretty’ since then. It didn’t matter how much makeup I put on or how cute I dressed. I felt bare and not myself. As if going through chemo isn’t enough of a physical struggle, the emotional struggle trumps that many days. Looking in the mirror and seeing what chemo has done to my body can be brutal. A constant reminder of the struggle you are enduring.”
She continued, “My feelings on being bald and beautiful have since changed. My mother underwent a stem cell transplant as a part of her cancer treatment. She lost her hair, too. All I see when I look at her is beauty and strength. My, how perspective changes when you are looking at someone you love dearly as opposed to looking at that same thing in yourself. My mom radiates beauty. My mom radiates strength. How can I now look at myself any differently than I look at her?”
The touching post was shared 12,000 times on Facebook and received hundreds of comments, from those experiencing cancer diagnoses alone or simultaneously with loved ones. One woman wrote, “You are most certainly both beautiful — I too went through the same experience with my dearest Mother — we were having chemo together — both had no hair.”
Other families have recently opened up about their cancer battles. Jay Siltzer, a father in Asheville, N.C., who survived testicular cancer in 1999, married a woman named Kelly who later was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. A year after she died in 2014, the couple’s adoptive toddler son, Malachi, developed a brain tumor. The little boy had surgery to remove the tumor and underwent chemo and radiation treatments. “I could ask, ‘Why me?’ but the answer is ‘Why not?’” Jay told People in 2016. “I’m a person of faith, and I trust good will come from this.”
That same year, while a Georgia mother named Heather Wilson, 32, was undergoing chemo for an inoperable brain tumor, her 1-year-old daughter, London, was diagnosed with stage III cancer after doctors discovered a yolk-sac tumor near her ovaries. As of January, both mother and daughter were undergoing chemo. “We are doing this together,” Wilson told Inside Edition. “I just have to take it one day at a time and be positive. You just gotta put it in God’s hands. He’s not going to put it on my plate if I can’t handle it.”
Epps shares these families’ optimism. She wrote on the Love What Matters Facebook page, “Going through this together has been a blessing. We give each other strength every single day. We fight some of the same battles and have someone to talk to who gets it. Rough days can be made better with a single phone call to my mom. We are so blessed. And strong. And beautiful. Yes, I can say that now. We are bald AND beautiful.”
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