Sing for the joy that's found in setting up the pins and knocking them down

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Letter to Dawn of one year ago...

Dear Dawn,

Today will be a pivotal day in your life.  You will get a phone call from an oncology nurse that will change a lot of things around you and inside of you, but it won't change who you are.  You know deep down inside that you can get through hard things--you have always known that.  Today and in days to come that will be put to the test. Always remember that you're stronger than you think you are.

Over the next year you will find yourself surrounded by the most remarkable support system.  You won't be able to escape it.  It will be as overwhelming as the news you received today about your cancer.   This amazing group will be made up of your husband, your children, your families, your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your fellow church members and even complete strangers.  They will encourage you with hugs, phone calls, gifts,  text messages, emails, cards, food and prayers that will keep you going through the most difficult days.  Let that group of people help you even when it's hard to accept it.  Some days the help might be something that's equally important for them to do as it is for you to receive.  Don't be too proud to take the help that's lovingly offered to you. 

Rest assured, you will be tended to by the most amazing doctors.  They will be more than doctors, they will become your friends, your team members.  You will cry in their offices and laugh at their jokes.  They will look you in the eyes and tell you that they can help you and they will mean it.  They will ask you where your strength comes from.  Don't ever, ever miss an opportunity to tell them where your strength and comfort comes from.  

You're going to pound your fists on your steering wheel and cry hot, angry tears when you hear this difficult news.  Get it out.  Tell God how angry you are and how it doesn't seem fair to your little family.  He can handle it.  He created every cell in your broken body and he's catching every tear in his very capable hands. In the next year you will learn to love and rely upon him more than you ever dreamed possible.  He will be there in the cold, dark nights and he will greet you each morning with a fresh day.  He will bring you emails, cards and conversations at the exact moment that you need them.  He will make your witness strong and will give you so many opportunities to encourage people even as you struggle.  

Here's the truth, chemo will suck.  I mean really, really suck.  Night 4 will be the worst.  On those Monday nights you will cry yourself to sleep.  You will feel awful physically and emotionally.  The darkness will be heavy.  Let that be your day to sink into the sadness.  Let it go dark for a while because I promise you the sun will rise again the next morning.  Trust me. 

You will come to love those people who work with you at the oncology clinic.  They will totally be able to sense that you're not a big fan of being part of their club and they will kindly serve you and tend to you in spite of your stand-offish ways.  After a year, they will greet you by name and you will ask them about their kids.  Take a minute to talk to the chatty lady next to you who's got the battle scars of a tough cancer road.  Let her encourage you.  In a year, you'll be the one telling someone that they're in good hands and they'll be just fine.

And don't be too hard on yourself.  This year you will be tempted to handle your cancer and your obstacles better than anyone else ever has.  You're going to be crabby and short with your kids.  Your house is going to get messy and the laundry will pile up.  Go to bed early when you need it.  Just for the record there is no special prize for being the best at handling tough days.  The gift is getting through them and getting a new one each morning.

You know how your brother once told you that he liked to climb mountains because he wanted to see how hard he could push himself.  It's going to be that kind of year.  This year will force you to dig deep and figure out where your strength comes from.  You will learn to love, love, love the verse, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  You will feel weak, but you will also feel God's power.  Your roots will be growing deep even when your leaves are scattered on the cold ground.  

Last but not least.  You will laugh.  Read that again because you're not going to believe it today, but you will laugh often.  You will feel joy, real joy.  Soak in those times and use them to get you through the days where laughter doesn't come as easily.  Remember when the kids were little and everyone was crabby and Eric would say at the dinner table, "I don't think we've had a good laugh today yet" and we would force ourselves to laugh until it kicked in and we were all really laughing.  Do that.  A lot.

So in closing, hang in there.  When you're sad be really sad and when you're happy don't apologize for it.  

And not to spoil the ending, but everything's going to be alright.  



PS.  You're going to love your new boobs and cute bras are definitely in your future.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Can't Wish Him Back

For a couple of reasons, today I ended up logging into my Caring Bridge account.  There I found the long list of sites I have followed over the years.   It's a rough list.  As I look down the line there are very few who haven't passed on or are on a health road that is far from easy.  Out of nowhere, I decided that I wanted to read the last updates around Eric's surgery which took place well over two years ago.  I don't know that I could have read these six months ago or even six days ago, but today I needed to remember my thoughts and feelings at that season of my life.

Sometimes you have to look backwards to really see how far you've come.  The voice of those entries was really trying to be brave, to put a happy face on the heaviness that was happening within her own four walls.  I could feel the fear of the unknown and the relentless waves of disappointment.  Those were difficult days and my heart breaks for the struggles that Eric endured as he recovered from that last surgery.  I would sleep out on the couch while he tried to find maybe one hour of comfort in the recliner.  I would hear him get up in the night and pray that I wouldn't hear him hit the floor if he passed out.  There was physical pain and there was emotional uncertainty.  I have nothing but respect for the courage he showed in dealing with it all.  Those were incredibly tiring and tedious times in our life.

What would life be like if I were still adding journal entries to his story?  What if there were more entries around a surgery in December or a trip down to Mayo in the spring?  Selfishly, I want him back at my dinner table, behind the wheel driving my kids to their activities and looking at me from his pillow as I prattle on about my day.  That's what I want and when I imagine it, he's healthy and strong. When I look back at those journal entries I know that we were saved pain and suffering.  We were saved a decline in Eric's health that would have no doubt been difficult.  What I'm saying is that God's divine timing is perfect, even when it's perfectly painful,

As I read each entry on his site, I had to admit these words to myself, I wouldn't want him back.  I wouldn't want him to wake up short of breath one more time, I wouldn't want him to have to make one more trip to the ER, to have to pause one more time, winded, at the top of a staircase.  I love him enough not to want that for him even though I can feel his immense love for us in the way he bravely battled the broken heart God gave him. I am glad he fought, but I'm grateful that he can now rest.

I found two different updates that I wanted to share from the journal entries.

From May 2, 2102  "A bruised reed He will not break."  To be very honest, we've felt more bruised in the last several weeks than we ever have in our lives and this promise is one that we cling to.  We are thankful that God never gives us more than we can handle and that he surrounds us with people to hold us up when we go through periods of trial.  This is all part of our story and we thank you for the roles which you play in it.

What I've learned in the past year is that God almost always gives us more than we can handle. That's how he designs it so that we absolutely have to lean into his strong arms for comfort, for guidance and for strength.  He doesn't expect us to go it alone.  He provides his strength through his promises, his hope and through a thousand different people who come alongside you, give you encouraging words or simply warm your day with a smile as you pass in the hallway.  

From March 7, 2012  Part of me thinks that I should write some really mushy stuff but in truth if you like that kind of stuff you probably get 4 emails forwarded to you each week full of that.  I do appreciate your prayers for my health and especially for Dawn and the kids.  They are real troopers and I am very proud of how they manage all of this.  
Thanks again. Eric

The second paragraph is one that was written by Eric on the eve of his last big surgery.  I think it shows his always present sense of humor and his gratitude for the overwhelming support for our family.  I also think it's what he would still say to all of you who have loved us so well over this last year. 

I had completely forgotten about the little note he asked me to post on March 7, 2012.  Maybe I was supposed to forget about it so that I could rediscovery it today when I needed to hear his love, his humor and his encouragement to his family.  I'd be lying to you if I said that I don't spend considerable time wondering what Eric would think of how we're doing today.  Now I think I know.  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What I want you to know about being a widow...

What I want you to know about being a widow:  I’ve been a widow for 7 month and 28 days.  Those stats might lead you to believe that I have some chart affixed to my fridge where I’m crossing off days each morning as I reach for the creamer for my coffee.  That would be wrong.  I just looked at my calendar and quickly and unemotionally did the calculations in my head.  It wasn’t always that way.  The first couple of days after he left I couldn’t get past 3:07 pm without a lump forming in my throat, then it was Wednesday afternoons that were a hurdle and at this point I still take pause each month on the 4th—it’s doubly bad if it happens to land on a Wednesday.  I suspect that eventually one of those 4ths will pass by without my noticing and I will have reached a new sense of freedom in my widowhood. But today, I'm still well aware that Monday will mark 8 long months without my husband. 

I became a widow at 44, nearly 22 years after I became a wife.  Eric and I planned to have a big celebration when the years that we had been married were longer than the years that we hadn’t.  We didn’t quite make it.  The time we had together was good--not perfect because its participants were far from perfect.  But as I look in the rear view mirror at it, we had a solid and healthy and really fun marriage.  I could tell you a thousand reasons why my husband was an amazing man who loved me completely and faced his failing heart bravely, but I won’t.  Lots of women have wonderful husbands who fill nearly all their needs and only occasionally drive them completely crazy—mine was one of those.

There are a couple of things that widows have in common.  We all carry around the story of our rite of passage into widowhood.  For some widows, it’s those last minutes with their husband, for some it’s a phone call that changes their status and for others it happens while they sleep.  However it happens the end result is the same—a passing away of the old and an ushering in of the new.  My transition came one December afternoon while the snow blanketed the world and brought along with it a coldness that never entirely lifts.  I told my failing husband, “Help is on the way, they’ll be right here.  They can help you.”  As those words left my mouth, I’m certain he was experiencing a kind of help that I could never imagine in my wildest and most amazing dreams.  Widowhood crept in as the ambulance attendant asked, “Who can we call?”  It became even more real as I helplessly pleaded with my sixteen-year-old, “Is today the day, is this how it all ends?  Is he really going to leave us.”   One minute I was his wife and in his last breath, I became a widow. 

Another thing we have in common is that we hate the word widow—but there’s no other word.  Survivor is a more accurate term, but that’s used for lots of things:  the list of family on an obituary, reality show winners and cancer patients—which I also happen to be but I’m saving that for another submission, What I Want You to Know About Having Breast Cancer While Your Husband Passes Away…yep, sometimes truth and my life is stranger than fiction.  I was informed by a friend that I should be thankful to even have a word—thankful?  Having lost a 9-year-old daughter several years ago she pointed out that there’s no word for losing a child.  She’s right—children without parents are orphans and spouses without spouses are widows and widowers, people who can’t or don’t have children are barren or childless, but there’s no word for losing one of your children when you have others. Someone should come up with a word for that.  They, of anyone, deserve to have a word.  So with that kind of perspective I’m glad to have a word, even if I’m not a big fan of joining the club. 

I also know that you struggle to know what to say to me.  Here's a quote from CS Lewis' book, A Grief Observed--a brilliant and angry book that Lewis wrote after the death of his wife. "I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they'll say something about it or not.  I hate it if they do and if they don't."  Lewis nailed it.  I feel exactly the same way.  I recently had dinner with some friends and no one asked about my widowness.  In my mind I felt a little like my left arm was on fire and no one offered to get up from the table for an extinguisher.  On the flip side, I certainly don't want the whole conversation to revolve around the fact that my arm is on fire, I'm completely aware that there are topics that are much more entertaining.  But even a "Wow, that must really hurt..." would have been better than simply ignoring my smoldering arm.  It makes me reflect on a couple of meals where I probably let someone's arm be reduced to ashes while I munched on my salad.  Sorry for that.

Being a widow (and reading CS Lewis) has showed me that loss it part of love.  Did Eric and I think we would die together in some kind of tragic exit from this life--the likelihood was slim.  If most couples are honest, they know that one of them will always leave the other behind.  Here is Lewis' quote, "...bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love.  It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer.  It is not a truncation of the process but one of its phases: not an interruption of the dance, but the next figure."  Should we be so surprised about this part of the plan?  Sure, I know that I'm relatively young and Eric was, as well, but part of the strength of our marriage was that we did spend a good deal of energy preparing for someone's early departure.  It was an ironic blessing of our marriage and one that I hope others take away from our experience.

Last, but certainly not least, a widow spends most of her days suspended between two things--honoring the memory of her husband and moving at a healthy pace away from that life she knew with him.  I loved Eric the best that I humanly could and he loved me right back.  His fingerprints and words are all over my children and our household, but he of all people would want to see us march bravely forward without him.  I can never forget him, no more than I can forget about my ash covered left arm.  It will always be with me.  He will always be part of my life story, our story.  I am a widow, but if I let it be the biggest label in my life it will cripple me and my household. I need to give it its proper place but focus on roles that have life and a call to my future--mother, friend, sister, child of God.  That being said, I wear the label Widow with some honor because it means that I belonged to someone.  I was the person he pointed to across a crowded room when was telling someone about his wife.  I mattered to him so this label still matters to me.  It is the leftover shadow of my amazing role as a Eric's wife.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Time to Celebrate / Cancer Update

I'm going to take it from the top for those of you who might have joined us late or would rather not sift through old postings saying, "When exactly did she start this all...."

  1. I found a lump on October 19 and was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 24.  
  2. Left breast, 2 o'clock, 2.2 cm mass - invasive carcinoma, your traditional breast cancer.  One cancerous node which automatically tips you into the oh crap category
  3. Triple positive--estrogen, progesterone, & HER/neu  
    • A little aside story here.  My brother, Brent came to my initial appointment with my surgeon who he had done part of his residency with at Abbott.  As Dr. Anderson went through all these "positives" the diagnosis sounded increasingly more ominous.  I think at one point I looked at my brother and said, "Am I completely screwed?"  It was so great to have him there to assure me that, yes, it was bad, but what I had was very treatable and would play nicely with treatment.  
  4. 6 rounds of chemo starting November 14 and ending March 10 (every three weeks).  I take a cocktail of Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and the newly approved, Perjeta (Pertuzumab).  I was one of the first 5 people to receive Perjeta at Abbott.  Also decided, with a little help from my friends to do cold-capping to save me from chemo hair loss-yay!
  5. Once chemo was wrapped up, I continue to get a bag of Herceptin pumped into me every 3 weeks for a year (ending mid November).  It's an easy process and leaves me with very few, if any, side effects.  
  6. Daily Tamoxifin pills for the next 5 to 10 years--no biggie. 
  7. March 14 MRI shows cancer is gone and the yucky chemo has done its job!
  8. April 14 Bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and 3 nodes removed successfully.  All cancer was completely responsive to (killed by!) chemo.
Normally, per standard care treatment, this all would be followed up by radiation (5 weeks, 5 days per week) due to the fact that the cancer had spread to my nodes.  I'm told that I'm a candidate for the B51 study which due to my complete response to chemo gives me a 50/50 chance of having radiation.  I talk to my brothers, my oncologist, surgeon, anyone who will listen...looking at my options.  If I just go ahead and have radiation it feels like I'm covering all my bases, really killing anything that might be lurking inside of me.  On the flip side, radiation comes with its own set of risks and might not be necessary.  I ask my oncologist, "If I was your wife, what would you advise?"  He said he could honestly tell me to do one thing or the other--they just don't know if radiation (for people with my type of cancer and response) improves your prognosis and that's why they're doing this study.  I decide to be part of the study.  I pray like crazy that God, in his infinite wisdom will control the "coin toss" and do what's best for my body and His plan for my life down the road.  I also pray for peace with whatever the decision is.

On Friday I received word that I had been entered into the study and I didn't have to do radiation!  Okay, I was happy and relieved.  I had truly prepared myself for either outcome, but it was so good to get a pass on this.  Now I can truly get on with my recovery and know that the worst is behind me. And I'm not one bit freaked out by not having radiation.

I've had the most amazing doctors, nurses and medical staff (well there was that one nurse in radiation...) during this whole process.  I'm so grateful for their brilliance and their kindness.  This has been a long road and I'm not quite done, but I'm definitely making my way down the easier side of the mountain.

PS.  I've attached the photo of my first report from my oncologist, Dr. Bloom.  He used to be a stand-up comedian in New York--need I say more.  He even made cancer funny.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Managing Expectations

Our sermon at church last week started by laying out the notion that our expectations shape how we see the world--for good or not so good.  I'll be the first to admit that my misguided expectations have been the source of a great deal of unhappiness in my life.  Mother's Day is a perfect example.  I am a horrible person on Mother's Day--there I said it.  In the past I've let every cliche, worldly, Hallmark expectation ruin many good Sundays over the years.  If Mother's Day is anywhere on heaven's radar, I'm certain Eric is breathing a sigh of relief that he doesn't have to deal with me tomorrow.  I would try to tell myself not to expect too much--maybe a simple breakfast in bed with dry toast and sloshed over orange juice.  Then the day would begin and someone would ask me to find their socks or do something motherly and my grumbling would begin...  My dear husband would get out of bed give me a sleepy kiss and mumble "Happy Mother's Day".   Resentfully I would think, "Where are the flowers, the thoughtful card about all the hard work I do around here..."  Then there was the dreaded year that my children made me a giant-sized card at Sunday School where they were to list the things that their mom was good at.  My children have a sense of humor (although I evidently do not on Mother's Day) and listed things like this:  Talking to her sister, Going out with her friends, Going shopping, Going to movie club, Doing her nails...  I read the card, felt completely unappreciated and then threw a monster-sized temper tantrum like some kind of toddler and finally--to preserve my own dignity--Eric sent me to my bedroom for a time out.  If my kids need therapy some day it might stem back to that Sunday.

About expectations.  I still have them.  I expected to have my husband around for a few more years.  I expected to be healthy.  I expected to have one more Father's Day with my dad.  Mostly, I expected that if I lived a good Christian life and checked all those boxes that God would bless me with easy days and sleep-filled nights.  My expectations were wrong.  It's hard for God to grow people when all of their expectations match up with the reality of their life.  God can't do much with us when we're comfortable.  Our roots grow deeper when an unexpected storm causes us to sway in the wind--when our branches snap and we have to grow a new one.  If someone outlined my life 6 months ago, I would have expected it to ruin me, leave me rocking in a corner.  Many of you have expressed to me that you couldn't endure what my life is like right now--you have an expectation that it would destroy you.  Your expectation is wrong.  You would survive by the grace that God provides for such a time as this.  He doesn't mince words on his one, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.  So we can wholeheartedly expect that He will be there when the hard times come and we can also expect that those will most definitely come.  Over the last months I have been grown and have received so many blessings through a life path that I would have never expected to have to walk.

There are moments when God gently or gigantically realigns our expectations.  Just prior to one of Eric's many heart procedures, I remember having the hope, the expectation, that this procedure would resolve his rhythm problems.  I expressed this to his doctor.  He looked at me with kind and sympathetic eyes and said, "I know you want this fix to keep his heart from going out of rhythm, but the reality is that when I look at the condition of his heart, I think it's a miracle that it ever stays in rhythm at all."  Everything in my head had to adjust.  I was expecting a miracle, only to find out that I was already living in the reality of that miracle.  It was a sobering, but sweet reminder that maybe we're smack dab in the middle of something good, but we're missing it because we expect something better or different.

What are you expecting out of your life?  Health, happiness, success?  Are you expecting that God will bring you a great husband, successful children?    Are you expecting that your spouse will love you perfectly or that you will outlive your children?  Are you expecting another day to put things right in your life? Are you expecting things of this earth to fill a heaven-shaped void?   Expectations are not all bad, but they often become the guiding compass of our life and when they disappoint us we feel like either we've failed or possibly God has failed us.  What I've learned to expect is that God is in my tonights and my tomorrows. He is there to catch my tears of disappointment and He is there orchestrating my surprise successes.  He has a plan that I may not understand or appreciate with my earthly senses.  I expect that I might not be the main character of the story and that I might not completely understand the plot line while on this earth.  I expect that I will need Him to get through each minute of each day.  I expect that He is in control and I expect that His love is greater than any of my expectations.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sacred Schedules and Earthly Eyes

Today is surgery day--bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  I'm up early because the blowing wind outside was keeping me awake and it also gave me opportunity to squeeze in one last cup of coffee before my 8 hour pre-op window closes.  I can honestly say that I'm not even very anxious about today.  The bag is packed, I've got the kids taken care of, my sister-in-law arrived last night to be my driver and overnight nurse at the hospital, my brother (who just happens to do mastectomies as part of his daily work) is driving to meet us at the hospital and care for me once I'm home.  Everything is in place from a practical stance.

Eric should be here.  He really should be.  He sat beside me when we put these plans into motion and he really should be here to see this through.  But he's not and as Christians we throw out phrases like God's perfect plan, perfect timing, all in His control, and on and on. I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't just a little frustrated with God's timing.  The straw that is weighing heavy on the camel's back is that at this moment my father is in a hospital bed four hours away from me while my mother dozes in an uncomfortable recliner at his side.  He's fighting his own horrible battle with cancer and his prognosis is not nearly as glamorous as mine.  I want to be there, they want to be here.  We ache and pray for each other and say through tear-filled eyes, "thy will be done on earth..."

I remember a sermon on this type of topic and the pastor used this phrase repeatedly in reference to God's ways, "I wouldn't have done it that way..."  These questionable story lines have always been a part of my life.  I wouldn't have given a great man a bad heart.  I wouldn't have put a truck in the intersection when that dear girl rode her bike across the road.  I wouldn't have given that couple a sweet baby just to take it away.  I wouldn't have taken that husband while his wife battled cancer.  There are so many things I would do differently through my early point of view.  The pastor's point was not to condemn God's ways, but to show that they are higher than ours.  What we see dimly, he sees with complete clarity for all times past, present and future.  Even though I believe it enough to base my whole life on his plan for me, it doesn't make it easy some days.

There's a song that I loved when the kids were little call "Parade" by Go Fish.  I still think of the chorus and sing it in my head on mornings like this:

You see the whole parade 
From the beginning to the end
You know the route that my life will take
You know exactly where I've been
Cause while I only see what's goin' by in front of me
You see the whole parade.

So today, I'll keep walking in this parade, one step at a time, believing that someone with a better plan and a better view than me has laid out the whole route of my life for my good and the good of His people.  I know those are just nice Christian words, but I either believe them or I throw in the towel and take my place on the curb.  I'm choosing to keep walking and to believe.

Isaiah 55:8-9

New International Version (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Going Public

WCCO came out and filmed me at my work about 6 weeks ago.  The story was about how cold capping can help cancer patients keep their hair through chemo treatment.

I've attached a link to the segment, but honestly I can hardly watch it.  Of course there are the natural things--I wish I had lost 20 or 30 lbs before they filmed me, I wish I could have cut, colored and styled my hair (all forbidden when you're cold capping) and do I always shrug my shoulder like that when I'm talking???  There are plenty of things that only I see when I watch it--I see someone who wishes they spent more time in intentional prayer, not just a fall-back plan when sleep escapes you at 4:00 in the morning.  I see someone who worries about the effects of all of this on her children and wishes they were more open about how they're feeling.  I also see a woman who more than any thing would like to go back to being 10, riding her Shetland pony and getting called into the house to sit down to a warm meal surrounded by family.  It's hard to stomach that woman's life--it's hard to accept that it's the story of my life.

So why did I do it?  Primarily, I wanted to get the word out there about cold cap therapy.  I've talked to so many women who admitted that losing their hair was far more traumatic than what they had anticipated.  I'll admit something to you.  I was terrified of cold capping--far more nervous about it than the chemo itself.  I wanted people to know that it was tolerable and my result was fantastic.  I also wanted to publicly acknowledge my amazing co-workers who have been right beside me through this whole process.  My home is forever changed by Eric's absence but at work I can get lost in meetings, emails and phone calls.  All things that keep me moving forward and help me adjust to the new path my life has taken.

Marc, who was also interviewed for the story and whose wife has become a dear and admired friend, is one of two people that I mainly work for.  The other is the CEO of the company.  Our CEO was the first person I told about my cancer.  I received the call at work and I knew that this news would greatly impact my work life.  I walked straight into his office and told him.  He embraced me, I shed some tears and he said, "I know I can be pretty demanding but when the chips are down, I'm the guy you want in your corner.  You're like family to me and I've got your back."  He has never failed on those promises.  I honestly cannot say enough good about all the wonderful praying, laughing co-workers that I'm blessed with.

So here's another piece of my cancer story.  Cold capping was a choice that I feared was based in vanity, but in hind-sight gave me back the ability to at least fake a little normal in my life.  Please feel free to contact me for any additional info around this very "cool" option for keeping your lovely locks when you're fighting something ugly like cancer.