Mindy

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My name is Mindy Thompson, I was 31 years old, a single mother and a College student, when I received news that my life would change forever. On November 15, 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage II aggressive Breast Cancer. I understood that I had a long difficult journey ahead of me but was ready to fight with everything I had and determined to survive to raise my son.

As a 31 year old single mother and College student, the last thing on my mind was cancer. In the summer of 2010, as I was getting dressed I felt a lump in my breast but figured it would just go away sooner or later…it never did. A few months later I received a phone call from my Aunt informing me that she had Breast Cancer. She explained that she felt a lump in her breast; I instinctively knew what my lump meant. I immediately made an appointment with my OBGYN. When I arrived, I was scheduled to have a biopsy done that day. A few days later, the doctor called me in for the results. Before leaving for the appointment or knowing the test results, I told my Mom it meant cancer; naturally, she did not want to believe me. On November 15, 2010, I remember sitting in a small room waiting for the doctor to tell me the results.Before the doctor said, “You have cancer,”I could see it on his face. At that point, all I could do was cry, become numb, and feel as if I were in a nightmare. My only thought was,“who is going to take care of my son?” I kept thinking,“how in the world is this happening to ME? I am only 31 years old!” It was not fair;I was angry, scared, confused, and feeling about every other emotion you can possibly imagine.
Nevertheless, I already knew that cancer does not discriminate. Shortly before my diagnosis, my friend, LeslieMolbert Dame, was fighting her own battle with Stage IV Breast Cancer. She was only 27 years old and had just completed her nursing degree. She was and will always be my inspiration; she showed me what it truly meant to have faith, to fight with everything you have, and most importantly, to never give up!

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After Thanksgiving, my portacath, a device used for central venous access that is installed beneath the skin, was placed in my chest; this would soon become my access point for chemotherapy. A few weeks later, I was on the way to my first chemotherapy treatment, afraid more than anything in the world. I received six rounds of the chemotherapy TAC -Taxotere, Adriamycin and Cytoxan aka The Red Devil.I lost all my taste buds which made it difficult to find something to eat and actually enjoy. After my first chemo everything was going well it was when I received my second round when my hair started to fall out. I noticed little strands started to fall out when brushing my hair and there were plenty left in the shower and on my pillow. I decided that I was going to take control before it took control of me! My hair was long and thick to my waist but decided to cut it really short to make the transition of losing all of my hair a bit easier.

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My hair was everything to me, like most females, it is a part of our identity and femininity. As my hair dresser started cutting all I could do was cry, tears would not stop running down my face. I did not realize how much of an impact this actually had on me. I feel that losing my hair was one of the hardest things I ever had to endure because it wasn’t like I was just going for a haircut or a change of style I was not going to have hair on my head for a year, talk about traumatizing! However, a positive tobeing bald is not washing and dry your hair…that was nice! After my third round of chemotherapy, I developed blood clots in my heart, neck and lung and ended up in ICU along with three blood transfusions due to low white blood counts, low immune system. At this point my hair was practicallygone so my hair stylist came to the hospital with clippers and shaved the rest of my hair off. I was now completely bald and felt like an alien! I went out and purchased wigs, cute hats, bandanas, scarves and anything else you could possibly think of to cover my bald head. The wigs were too hot and tight, the hats made my scalp itch and the scarves and bandanas always slipped off. There had to be something out there for us woman who just wanted to look good and feel comfortable!
Danielle was going through her own cancer battle at the same time and we met through a mutual friend, Marybeth. Danielle introduced me to Chemo Beanies and at this time it was just starting out and not in stores yet but I thought WOW, this is what I needed this entire time! Chemo Beanies are exactly what us woman need, it was perfect!They cover every aspect of what us woman are looking for when faced with this circumstance. The Beanies are fashionable and come in a variety of colors which is wonderful because until you are bald and get dressed it is hard to match your headpiece to your outfit. Chemo Beanies are easy to wear, they slip right on and they actually stay in place! They keep your head cool and able to breathe unlike all the other alternatives. Chemo Beanies are Heaven sent! I love that they come in a variety of colors and styles and you are able to match it with your outfit. I like the fact that the beanies were invented by cancer survivors because it makes it more on a personal level because they went through the process of losing their hair as well so they are able to understand the feelings we experience. I feel like Chemo Beanies are a woman’s best friend during this difficult transition of losing their hair and makes us comfortable and when otherwise not feeling our best!
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