Buzz and Brownies

Review: Anne’s tumor has returned again.  She continues to receive chemotherapy to treat it.  After one cycle of treatment, her hair has thinned so much she decided to have her much anticipated Buzz and Brownie party.

Anne was originally going to have “special” brownies and regular brownies.  However, she decided against it because of her large number of military and DOD friends.  An honest mistake could ruin their career.

Whitney, a local hairstylist, volunteered to help with the big day.  After coordinating her schedule with how Anne expected to be feeling, the date was set and invites were sent.

Mrs. Potatohead, a gift for Anne, was a big hit.  Here she is manning the snack table.

Ray and Anne’s sister prepared the garage.  This would allow the most room for everyone and easy cleanup.  At 2 pm people started arriving bringing fresh flowers, gifts, brownies, mai tais, and lots of love.  The Mrs. Potatohead gift was a real hit.  “I need to find my angry eyes!” Anne said.   One friend arrived with a section of her hair dyed purple, the color for leiomyosarcoma awareness.

After securing her mug mai tai in a 32oz hospital mug with a lid and straw, Anne was ready.  She set up a Facebook live for friends and family unable to attend with the title “Anne takes it all off with some good friends… Hair that is, People!” (She added the last part so Facebook would not shut her down.)

Anne feels her shaved head for the first time.

We counted down and Whitney started the process.  Anne laughed and exclaimed, “It feels like a scalp massage!”  Anne’s friend running the video read the viewers’ comments, likes, and loves as they poured in through her newsfeed.   Comments from those present and online included asking how many mai tais she had had.  “Just one!” as she held up her “auto-refilling cup.”  When is her next tattoo (insinuating her bald head)?  No tattoos while on chemo, unfortunately.  She does have her next one planned out though: a phoenix rising from ashes with a purple ribbon wrapped around its body.

Besides the obvious jokes for sunscreen and hair care tips, Anne also joked about how the cool breezes on her bare head would help with the hot flashes, or “personal summers,” as one friend called them.  As Whitney finished, people complimented what a great head she had: no bumps and her scalp matched her face.  While they sounded like jokes, they were sincere.  She wears the new do very well!  (An unexpected consequence is now it very obvious that her son gets his looks from her.)

Anne sees her new look in the camera of a cellphone for the first time.  (Who needs mirrors anymore?)

To show their support, others followed Anne in getting their heads shaved.  First a fellow soccer dad.  Then a fellow boot camp mom who had enough hair to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  Anne’s father was next in the chair, and lastly Anne’s aunt.  Even one friend unable to attend shaved a side of her head in support.

While that was happening, Anne got lots of hugs, took lots of selfies with everyone there, and enjoyed some brownies.  Anne’s mom made sure everyone got one and sent some home with anyone that would take them.

 
Anne had prepared herself to be present during the Buzz and Brownie. As the last head was shaved, people began to leave.  Anne was running out energy.  The excitement, friends, mai tais, and brownies had worn her out.  She had said the party would end at 4, and at exactly 4, Anne was on her way to bed to take a nap.  It is unpleasant for her.  This is not her norm.  She loves being around people.  Normally people coming early and staying late is not a problem, but now she must mentally and physically prepare for such an event and she cannot give any more than what she has prepared for.

I know Anne went to bed exhausted, but also with a full heart from all the love and support of those that are with her near and far as she took this empowering step in her cancer journey.

Anne’s friend dyed a part of her hair purple in support of LMS awareness.

While she knew this would happen, it is still an emotional decision to look cancer and chemo in the face and say “You are controlling my life right now, but this is one thing I can do about it.”  It is a way to take a piece of power from it.  It seems like a small, easy step in the journey.  It’s just hair.  But if you were asked to shave your head, would you? Our hair is an extension of ourselves.  We style and color to match our personality, to show the world who we are and how we want to be seen.  She can no longer hide from strangers that she is fighting cancer. She must face her fear of being treated differently; being treated as a diagnosis, not a person.  Cancer fighter is now the personality she will show the world.  I don’t know about you, but being surrounded by family and friends, drinking mai tais and eating brownies seems like best way to take that step.

Check out Whitney’s post about the day.  She beautifully describes what is like to be on the other side of the clippers.

 

Anne, her friends, father, aunt, and Whitney pose for a photo.

Follow Anne’s Journey with LMS

Anne’s Story: In Memorandum

Review: Anne passed away due to complications from uterine leiomyosarcoma (LMS). June 8, 2019 Anne’s memorial was held at the church she grew up in.  The small church quickly filled with friends and family of all ages from all the country.  Boy Scout and Navy uniforms...

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Review: Anne’s chemotherapy is no longer working. Her doctors will throw everything at the cancer: chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation, hoping the full assault will have an impact.  The reality of the brutal, aggressive nature of leiomyosarcoma cannot be...

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Jennifer Jones of Sparkson Photography is a documentary style family photographer specializing in family, newborn, and school portraits. Serving Kitsap County, WA and surrounding area.

Sparkson Photography

Jennifer Jones of Sparkson Photography is a documentary style family photographer specializing in family, newborn, and school portraits. Serving Kitsap County, WA and surrounding area.

Contact me to book a session.