You'd probably recognize sex educator and relationship therapist Laura Berman if you saw her. She's the stunning blonde who has made frequent appearances on The Dr. Oz Show. But the signature blond mane that made her recognizable is no more. Ever since being diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer (which means the body makes a growth factor receptor that promotes the growth of cancer cells and makes the cancer much more aggressive) and going through chemotherapy, Dr. Berman has had to embrace a whole new image. And, as she admits in a recent Chicago Sun Times column, it was initially quite frightening.
When she was first diagnosed, she hadn't planned on needing chemo, but once she learned it was inevitable, she was "scared wondering how the world would react to me without my long, blond security blanket of hair."
Oh sure, she tried to look on the bright side. She writes:
After all, it’s summer — I’d be nice and cool. No washing and styling my hair. I could get some face paint and actually paint some eyes on the back of my head to match the ones that, as a mom, already are there.
But it wasn't until she got a certain kind of support that she was able to embrace what she calls her "inner bald chick" ... Her husband, Sam, told her that he planned to shave his head as an act of solidarity. And her 8- and 6-year-old boys (the oldest was away for the summer) decided to join in, too. Berman explained:
All their hair came off during one big shaving party two weeks before mine fell out so, as my husband put it, they could welcome me to the bald club when it was my time. Truthfully, having the bald club already established when it was my turn was a huge gift. It wasn’t nearly as scary for me, or for them. They are loud and proud about it, and it has helped me be, too.
So sweet! What an awesome way for the family to cope and support Berman as she was going through what can often be an extremely intimidating phase of battling cancer.
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Sure, on the surface, it might seem vain or superficial to worry about your hair in the midst of fighting off a potentially fatal disease, but I totally get what Dr. Berman was going through. Worrying about who you are or who you'll appear to be without your hair is a completely legit fear for many women.
But it sounds like reading stories of other women who have been through it and leaning on family members and friends can be a huge help. With hope, Dr. Berman's story will inspire others to do whatever makes them feel beautiful and more comfortable during their post-chemo journey, so that they have less fear facing their inner bald chick.
Are you inspired by Dr. Berman and her family's story?
Image via drlauraberman.com