Friday, October 21, 2011

The Hair Massacre: Just A Little Off The Top

I just had a thought. Wouldn’t it be awful if my hair wasn’t really falling out? Perhaps I actually had super-hair and the clumps that covered my hands in the shower yesterday morning were the only 200 strands that were gonna fall out and the rest were all like super-powered steel hairs that were impervious to chemo?

Yeah, that would be really lame. Like really. Cause its gone now. Ah chop-chop. Gone. Basta.  Nevertheless, what is done is done, and now I will never know the true strength of my Sampsonesque hair.

So here are the gory details of "The Hair Massacre: Just A Little Off The Top"...

I had planned exactly how I wanted this event to go. Having a close family, and my fear that the kids might not think I am the coolest aunt ever, I came up with a plan.  This wasn’t just going to be a regular, every day, go into the bathroom and shave your head in a melancholy regret kind of event… we were gonna have a party!

Yesterday, when I took my shower and shampooed my hair it became clear that the day I had been waiting for had arrived. My hands were covered in hair strands; enough that I knew this was the beginning of the end for my boring brown mane. As I have said before, I have ever really liked my tresses, but when you have to choose between having hair and shaving it off, one suddenly becomes sentimental.

I called my sister-in-law Eileen who is also my hairdresser. When she answered the phone I asked her, “Are you ready to party?” She new what this code meant, and told me her family would be at our house by 5pm. My sister Katie and her kids were already here as she was watching my children for the day. Just had to invite my parents… then we were ready to rock’nroll.

When the family all arrived we first had dinner (thank you Tammy & Monica for the delicious Mexican dishes) and enjoyed each other. Then it was go time. So here’s what we did:

  1. My mom sat with the 4 oldest grandkids and read to them from a “My Mommy Has Cancer” coloring book. The book broke down the basics of cancer and what happens during treatment. It was funny to watch Nathan as he was excited and shared, “Wow, my mom has cancer too!” Grandma asked them about what they knew about cancer and chemo and she explained that cancer is not like a cold that you can catch; that it is like a broken leg. This was so that they would know they did not have to be afraid of me or getting sick. The best part was having then kids all say the word “chemo.” Try it… “kkkkkeeeeeemmmmmoooooooo.” Isn’t that super fun!
  1. Next, my mom did an object lesson with the kids. She had bought Hostess Sno Balls and gave them each one of the tasty pink treats. She had them pull off the marshmallow outer shell to reveal the delicious chocolate cake that was hiding inside. The point was, even when the outer loveliness that is pink coconut marshallowy goodness is removed, the best part is still there. (Okay… I could easily argue that the marshmallow part is the best part… but for the sake of the lesson, I will let this go.) She talked about how even if I didn’t have hair I would still be mommy/Aunt Kelly. That I would still be me... loving, goofy and happy. That the hair is just marshmallow… I’m the cake. (Thanks mom for the illustration.)
  1. Eileen pulled my hair into several sections and tied them off in rubber bands. I explained to the kids that my hair had started to fall out because of that pesky ‘good’ chemo and that since we are in control I decided that we would cut it off on our own. Nathan went first and he cut off a chunk of hair. The kids all took turns cutting the mini-tails off until I was ragged with a mullet. We explained to them that we were going to send these ponytails to a company that would make wigs for children that have cancer so that they could go to school and feel normal. I have chosen to donate the hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which is a partnership with the American Cancer Society. I’m not sure how much they will be able to use as only half of it is 8 inches long… but they can toss it if need be.

Nathan cutting off the 1st ponytail.
Proud of their kill!
  1. And now for the fun part. Eileen whisked out her lovely little pink clippers and went to town. She buzzed me to the base. As she shaved the kids started teasing “You look like baby Lincoln” but thankfully they did not act afraid or freaked out. After Eileen was done and she cleaned up the mess of hair bits, each of the kids got a chance to touch my head. Even little Leah was interested in her new Mommy. My scalp is pretty sensitive so we didn’t ‘bic’ it… but I think we did a pretty darn good job cleaning it up.

To end the night, my husband also stepped up to have his head shaved in support. Since day one, he has told me he wanted to shave his head too and walk alongside me through this every step of the way. I see a ‘Uncle Fester’ costume in our future... just in time for Halloween!

Eileen had to have a little fun while shaving Eric's head.
Doesn't he look lovely?
In the end, the party went just as I had envisioned. We had a fun time together as a family. Spirits were high. The kids came away understanding more and were not afraid. And of course, I felt the enormous amount of love and support of my very special family.

Eileen "The Scalper" Randall & my shiny new head!
Best part of the night came from the lips of my little man. Nathan had been riding his bike in the back yard and he pulled up to the sliding-glass door to say, “Mommy, you actually look pretty beautiful.”

Now that’s a special boy!

*** Please note that in a previous e-mail the Joppa's address house number was not correct. The correct address is: 10141 Sheffield Oak Way, Elk Grove, CA 95624

Also, if you are interested in helping with meals, house help, babysitting, fundraiser, etc. please contact Megan at to be given access to the '' calendar and she will send you an invitation to the website.

Thank you,
Megan Marcroft
(Joppa Family Secretary)


  1. Kelly, I can't even come close to expressing how deeply this story moved me. I wanna be like you when I grow up. By the way, you look absolutely stunning! ~ Christine (p.s. I think I'm your 'unknown' commenter…I can't figure this thing out! Sheesh!)

  2. Kelly you look beautiful!!! What a wonderful way for the kids to try to understand cancer, they looked like they enjoyed the whole evening making it fun so they would not be scared. You are amazing women, mother and aunt.

  3. Moved to tears but not out of sadness for your hair loss . . . it moved me because of the care and concern YOU are taking to make sure your children (and nieces/nephews) are part of this hard process. What a blessing you are and what an example you are! God is good. I know it and pray that you continue to know it as you walk through this journey.

  4. Beautiful, Kelly. Not just the great-shaped head but the whole story and the whole family.

  5. Love it! You do look pretty beautiful.

  6. oh and I see you lost the head shaving war with Eric.

  7. Now that's a beautiful noggin'! :) Reading these posts one by one, I can see all the pieces coming together to tell an amazing, courageous, graceFULL story. Thank you for sharing it with us, for living by example. Did I say you have a nice head? You totally rock it... and your beauty glows from inside right through your eyes and smile.

  8. Not that you weren't beautiful before, but I think you are even more beautiful now.

  9. Here, here Amanda! I agree. Kelly you do look beautiful, and I can see your smile better now! :)

  10. I have always known how beautiful you are...from the inside out :) Love you XOXOXOX

  11. Hey you look awesome! And what a hubby! Nice to find the bright side of cloudy times!