Warrior Wednesday

Senior couple hugging

My Warrior Wednesday Inspiration

My mommy is an amazing woman.

If you sat down to pick her brain, hear her life stories, know her sacrifices, felt her losses, you would wonder how she endured it all and still survived.  I would be so honored if life can shape me into being half the woman that she is. She is my muse, my inspiration, my warrior, but most importantly, she is my mom.

In 2011, my mother Thuy Nguyen, was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Her treatments were done at Alta Bates Herrick Hospital and surgery at Highland Hospital. First she underwent radiation, then surgery and chemotherapy. She started to lose her hair after her 5th round of chemo. Within the next 24 hours, 90% of it had fallen out. By the end of her treatment, she weighed only 87 pounds.  It was a silent battle because she did not want anyone to know about her struggles. We do not have any photos of her during this period because subconsciously, no one wants to remember her that way.  I could not change the war she was fighting, but by standing at her side, I was able to ease her suffering in the battle. Through this experience, I have come to understand and value the importance of my role as a hairstylist.

When it was time to shave my mom’s head, I honestly did not volunteer to do it. There was a part of me that did not want to accept that she was sick, but I knew that in my hands, my mom would feel supported, comforted and loved. I shivered when I started to cut, but I kept my composure and remained confident. My father shaved his head too. There were a lot of moments when I had to put on a brave face because I thought had to be strong for her, but really, I wanted to be strong like her. We went to different hair stores to look for the perfect wig. I cut to personalize her wig, and we found softer headwear to keep her head warm since she was always cold. When her hair grew back, we did lowlights. Good hair days made her feel better and that meant the world to us. As a hairstylist, we are capable of touching as many hearts as we do with hair. I do believe in our magic. We value heart counts, over head counts.

I am happy to share that it has been 8 years since my mom has been in remission. (Yay!) I am truly thankful for each day that she is still here with us. Inspired by my mother, who is brave, giving, strong, and all things wonderful,  Fox and Belle's Warrior Wednesday was created.