Chemo curls and chia pets

It is amazing to look back over this past year and see all that has transpired. A year ago I was in the middle of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. I had lost all my hair and had barely enough energy to make it through each day. My goal was to finish chemo, get through surgery and be cancer free. Praise God for his strength and seeing me through to that goal. I am now enjoying good health, have enough energy to run most days, and only have to see my oncologist every three months to get the all clear. But most important during this past year and half, my daughter met and fell in love with wonderful man and they are getting married on Saturday!! We are so blessed to have Andrew as part of the family.

When I started growing my hair back after completing chemo I remember telling a friend that I didn’t care if a chia pet grew out of the top of my head, I was just tired of being bald. Well, careful what you wish for! My hair came back so curly that it very much resembled a chia pet.  A cute and sassy chia pet, but chia nonetheless.

Chia pet

Now my goal is to find some sort of a cute hair do for my daughter’s wedding that doesn’t have everyone remembering those old “ch ch ch chia” commercials. I visited my hair stylist recently and she diligently tried to tame the beast and alas, it will not be tamed. So I have gotten used to wearing a head band and just letting those chemo curls do what they will. It still is much better than wearing a baseball cap every day and I don’t have one that would match the wedding colors! What I have learned through all of this is that hair isn’t really that important. Unlike Sampson from the bible, my strength is not in my hair. It doesn’t define me. While I like having some again and it does keep me warm (who knew being bald would make me so cold?!?) there are so many more important things in life—like love, health, family, friends, and spreading the good news of God’s grace and mercy.

In Luke 12:7 when describing God’s care and concern for us, Jesus tells us that God even knows the number of hairs on our head. That verse now makes me laugh. God had quite a job keeping track of mine this past year as it all fell out and then started growing back! Regardless of my hairstyle I will rejoice in the God who loves me and has healed me. On Saturday I will celebrate with my daughter and Andrew as they start their life together….even if I look like I have a chia pet on my head!

4-6-2013 at Blackbird


21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judi
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 20:33:26

    So happy you remain cancer free! I envy you the short hairdo…you look lovely…better yet, you have your health back, than God!


  2. Karen
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 21:01:21

    You know this already from me, but I love your hair!! So happy for you – in every way!


  3. carol eckman
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 21:06:23

    You look great in short hair, but I understand. When I received radiation my straight hair came in wavy/curly. It was quite a change and I struggled. Go on line and type in Curly Girl. I coaches you on how to handle your tresses. Wish I had heard about it earlier. PTL that you have returned to full health. Best wishes to you and Tony and your daughter. Congrats to the young man who is wise enough to choose such a lovely bride and exceptional in-laws.


  4. Kate
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 22:01:57

    I like your curls! You went through a lot of hard work to earn them. I’m so thankful for your health! We are all very blessed to have you as an influence in our lives. You are strong, kind, smart, and have the best heart. Thank you for being supportive and for working so hard to put on my wedding (in 2 days!!!!!). Love you!


  5. Bev Wiens
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 22:08:08

    Erin, You are so amazing. No matter what happens, you are determined to see the bright side. What a gift you are to all of us! Love ya! Bev


  6. Jenayu
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 22:11:47

    I am so glad to hear that you continue to stay healthy and strong after all that you went through in the last year. I am so blessed to have been able to have classes with you during my time at Jessup. It was great reconnecting with you after so many years!! I remember your daughter coming into Marriage and family as a guest speaker. I am very happy to hear about her happiness!! Congratulations to her on the wedding. That is so very exciting to hear! God is definitely going to continue to bless you and yours 🙂
    Thank you for continuing to keep us updated on your continued growth and health!!
    In His love,

    Since your hair is already curly, maybe your stylist can do a finger wave hairstyle?! Those are darling with headbands/flowers/sparkly clips!! Just an idea. I know it will be a beautiful & blessed day no matter what!!

    “For the Christian wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the Christian husband brings holiness to his marriage.” (1 Corinthians 7:14a NLT)
    “Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage.” (Hebrews 13:4a NLT)


  7. Tina
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 00:23:24

    Praise God for who he is and the love that he has for us. I am so happy for you as a mother of a beautiful bride. I am sorry that we won t be able to make it there. give Katie a hug for all of us. karah is having her bridal shower ion Saturday so I will thinking of you all. I can’t wait to meet Andrew he seems like a great man as I can see on Katie’s Facebook.
    Gods blessings to you


  8. Terra
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 00:35:39

    Praise God that you are cancer free! Congrats on your daughter finding love and now getting married soon! What blessings to have in your life. You look so beautiful. The curls are additional to what stands out about you!

    My mother and sister both lost their hair from breast cancer and they too had the chemo curls unto it grew out!

    God bless you!


  9. mhl0422
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 01:22:42

    You look so beautiful. Your spirit glows in your smile and eyes! I can identify with being bald too long. My hair is just coming back. I find it very liberating having short hair. Cuts 15 minutes off getting ready in the morning. 15 additional minutes to spend as I want! I plan on keeping it short (although not quite as short). You should too as your face radiates your true beauty within. Thanks for being an inspiration!


  10. Michael Oehler
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 02:02:18

    Erin –

    We love the chia hair!! You look great!! So happy for you!!

    We are also very happy for Kate and Andrew . . . congrats to them, you and the whole family.

    Love and hugs,

    Mike, Jena, Nicholas, Benjamin and Daniel


  11. chemobrainandmore
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 02:36:41

    Congrats on getting through it all. I’m in remissio a year and a half and still have increadbly curly hair. A positive of cancer, great hair lol!!!


  12. Patty B
    Jun 28, 2013 @ 20:51:57

    You look beautiful! Congratulations on remaining cancer free – continued blessings to you and your family. And enjoy those curls, I think I was the only woman in chemo history whose hair grew back straighter and baby fine! But I had hair and although joked about it never complained!


  13. Kim Fredrickson
    Jun 29, 2013 @ 04:27:28

    Thanks so much for this wonderful and encouraging post! I’m thinking of you and your family on this glorious wedding day! You are beautiful – inside and out!


  14. sue4jc
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 18:12:11

    Enjoy the curls! Pre chemo I had wavy hair but not curls. It grew back curly and I have found keeping it short is best. It is sooooo easy and quick and I get lots of compliments. A handful of gel and I’m out the door. I keep cutting it or else it gets poofy and reminds me of a brillo pad as well. Hadn’t thought of chia pet…LOL. I’m sure you’ll look beautiful. Enjoy the wedding.


  15. carol york
    Jun 30, 2013 @ 22:40:33

    Dear Erin,

    So glad we got to chat before Kate’s wedding and really sorry to have missed her Big Day. I am hoping to come north sometime in August and look forward to seeing the newlyweds and you!!

    Be thinking of you on the 3rd…may God continue to Bless you and your beautiful and growing family!! I envy your “curly hair”…Sending loads of love and many warm hugs your way, Carol


  16. Kim Chaffee- this is my story
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 06:06:32

    Congrats to your daughter and son-in law. Your hair style looks adorable on you. I know you could try a hair straighter, but like most people your hair will go back to normal after a couple of trims. I was so excited when my hair grew back curly, after having thin and straight hair. The only good think about losing your hair from cancer is that while are friends and family members start to develop gray hair, we still have the virgin hair growing back with no gray hair noticeable, which is a good trade off,(in a weird sense) We are always mistaken for 5 years younger then we are.


  17. Carol
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 11:53:43

    I hope for curls just like these, as I’ve been seeing myself as Jesus’ wooly little sheep lately! Lol! God bless you!


  18. Carol
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 10:09:37

    Erin – too soon to tell about the hair, but I have copied your beautiful Koi theme background…hope your life is back on track with school, thank you for being with me. God Is ever good.


  19. kaykaymoto
    Nov 14, 2013 @ 21:37:05

    Hi Erin! You liked my blog post and I love yours. Your courageous fight with cancer and praising God through everything is so admirable. You remind me of my auntie who’s fighting cancer too.


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