But I will never forget the conversation I had with Cathy Furlani, one of my nurses in the cancer center, soon thereafter. She said, "Stephanie, I wish I had a crystal ball so I could show you what you'll look like one year from now. You'll be like a new woman, and you'll feel great." And she was right!
So when I went to get my hair cut last week (I've had it done 3 times already!) I was thrilled to see that Cathy was among the most recent honorees at The One Hundred, an annual fundraiser sponsored by the MGH Cancer Center that celebrates one hundred individuals and groups who have helped advance the fight against cancer.
Patricia Wrixon, owner of the Salon at 10 Newbury, was another honoree, for her work providing wigs to cancer patients. I have Patricia to thank for hooking me up with Kristen Wiig, and her colleague Kimberly Bruno for keeping my new pixie cut in shape!
The beads around my wrist were a gift from my sister and her daughters, to mark the end of the last year and give hope for the future. They came from Amazima Ministries, a nonprofit designed to educate and empower the people of Uganda through child sponsorship, meals, medical care, spiritual studies, and vocational programs like jewelry-making, carpentry and farming. The jewelry making program is a great key to success in helping women take care of their own families - and then in turn helping whole villages begin to care for their own and thrive.
Closer to home, there is another effort underway to provide hope, this one through music and laughter for cancer patients. My friends Jane and Alastair have two beautiful twin girls, one of whom was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. Alastair is a musician, and during the long months of treatment he found that the brightest moments at the hospital were spent singing and writing songs with his daughter. So now he's putting together an album full of songs about appreciating the little things, coping with hardship, and embracing struggle. There will be a video accompanying one particular song - When I Get Bald - a fun, empowering track about losing hair. He's currently looking for cancer patients who might be willing to share their "bald and proud" photos for inclusion (I sent two!). To learn more, or to donate to the project so that Alastair can make the album a free resource for patients and pediatric oncology programs around the country, you can visit his webpage here.