10.31.2017

Don't automatically shave your head bald to 'support' someone you love with cancer.


I saw this tiny little bit of a longer quote on a site article about what doctor's really think... (link).  When I saw this little blurb I was internally nodding my head... yes yes yes yes and yes.
(In regards to the month of October and the push for everyone to wear pink ribbons...)

"Our patients hate it because they can't go anywhere without being reminded of their disease."
 —James C. Salwitz, MD, a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer in East Brunswick, New Jersey

I will try to keep this short and sweet because it's a hot topic for me and I know I could ramble on about this one.  When it comes to 'showing support for' or 'donations for' or 'donating to' or 'fundraising for' or 'drawing attention to'  someone's disease; please make sure they WANT YOU TO.

When it comes to breast cancer the quote from the oncologist above hits the target with the people I personally know that have had this disease.  They HATE OCTOBER BECAUSE EVERYONE IS FRIGGIN' WEARING PINK RIBBONS AND "PINK".   They can't go anywhere or do anything without being able to forget about the breast cancer they have or are fighting.  Many patients hate seeing those pink ribbons, pink shirts and the over the top and in your face 'donation' pushing (example: airlines that hound flyers on EVERY FLIGHT in October to donate to breast cancer research by buying 'pink' martini's or 'pink' lemonade).

Ok but let's move on to the thing I really wanted to mention.

If you are showing 'support' for someone going through chemo and want to shave your head to show them you support them... PLEASE ASK THEM FIRST.

I saw this first hand with well meaning family members when my own Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 51.  While a family member and his 3 young boys were ready to shave their heads to show Grandma they 'support' her in her fight, luckily my Dad got to them and stopped them first.

The LAST THING SHE WANTED TO SEE WHEN SHE LOOKED AT HER BEAUTIFUL GRANDSONS WAS A SHAVED HEAD to remind her that her own head was bald due to the chemo treatment she was going through.  Seeing her grandchildren was a joy and a way to get her mind OFF her disease, OFF her fight.  To be 'normal' and forget everything but the happiness of the moment being with family.  Seeing someone with a shaved bald head in support was actually more emotionally damaging.

Everyone is different.
Some may want to see you with a bald head to match theirs.
Some do not.
Please ask them first.