Going to School Bald by Sally Cornes
2 weeks ago
My name is Sally and I am 13 years old. It all started in March 2017 with a pain in my back. The pain came and went until one morning in September when I woke up with back pain so severe that I was rushed to A&E, where I was checked over and given antibiotics for a suspected lung infection. However, this did not help. I went back and had another x-ray which showed a ‘mass’ on my rib. After lots of tests and scans, I received the devastating news that I had Cancer (Ewings Sarcoma on my 7th rib).
I started chemotherapy straight away. I had 6 rounds of chemo, 4 days on then 2 weeks off. I unfortunately lost my hair. During this time, when well enough, I attended school, Guides and my piano and dancing lessons! My Oncologist used to shake her head in disbelief saying I shouldn’t have been able to walk, never mind dance! She described me as a ‘Star Patient’.
After my 6 cycles of chemo, I had major surgery to remove my rib and a bit of my lung. I then started 8 rounds of ‘mopping up’ chemo. In April 2018 my family and I were sent to Germany for Proton Beam Therapy. After living in Germany for 7 weeks, we returned home and finished off my chemo. I had a scan which showed I was cancer-free in October 2018 and my hair soon started to grow again!
However, last year I started to get a pain in my neck which came and went. In January 2020 it got worse and a scan revealed that my cancer had come back in my 2nd vertebrate. I started 6 rounds of chemo immediately and lost my hair again. Now I am in the process of receiving radiotherapy.
Before I lost my hair it was really curly and a bright ginger/red. It was 17 inches long. I was always recognized for my hair and I couldn't walk down the street without people commenting on it. When I found out that I was going to lose it I was devastated! I started to lose it again about 8 days after finishing my first cycle of chemo. For me, this was the worst part.
After a couple of days I decided to take control and shave my head. I felt better once it had all come out because it was really annoying to find hair everywhere. The next day I went to get my wig fitted. It was a similar colour to my natural colour (this was a big achievement as my hair colour was so rare). I loved it! I wore it for school a few times but I soon got annoyed with it because it was itchy and made me feel really hot. So I wore a beanie hat instead for school and when that started to annoy me, I made the decision to go to school bald.
By this time I really didn't care about being bald and I embraced it. I would quite happily go anywhere without anything on my head. Everyone accepted it.
Once I finished treatment my hair started to grow back really fast. It came back really curly just like before but not as ginger/red it was more brown with little bits of ginger.
9 months after finishing treatment I was in a dance show and my hair was 5 inches long but more brown than ginger. For the show our hair had to be in a French plait across the front and into a ponytail with a hair piece. My sister managed to get the plait in with a lot of gel and hairspray and she even managed to fit a ponytail hair extension. Everybody said they wouldn't have known! During the summer my hair got long enough to put it in two french plaits, but it wasn't quite long enough to put in a ponytail yet.
When I relapsed with cancer, the following January, my hair was about 8 inches long. It all fell out again when I started treatment. However, this time I wasn't too bothered because I knew it was going to grow back again, but who knows what colour this time!
Whilst challenging, this process has definitely changed my relationship with my appearance and hair. I am more optimistic this time around than the first, and I am excited to see what colour my hair will be next!
Sally can be found both on Instagram @sallycancer and YouTube. See some of her photos and videos below:
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Go check out my new YouTube video (link in bio) where I use the AMAZING products that were sent to me from @jenniferyoungtraining. I have been using these products for a couple of weeks and I have already noticed changes in the feel of my skin, nails, lips and I feel so much more relaxed and just so much better in general! I love how all these products are natural, organic and essential because they are so much better for you and your health as they contain no chemicals that will intoxicate your body. I would 100% recommend trying out using natural skin care products. If you would like to check them out, here is the Beauty Despite Cancer website: https://www.beautydespitecancer.com/ Also, I have listed all the products I have been using here: Throat Chakra Bath Oil: https://www.beautydespitecancer.com/product/well-being-beauty-throat-chakra-bath-oil/ Shea Butter: https://www.beautydespitecancer.com/product/defiant-beauty-raw-shea-butter/ Lip Balm: https://www.beautydespitecancer.com/product/defiant-beauty-lip-balm/ Throat Balance: https://www.beautydespitecancer.com/product/well-being-beauty-chakra-stone-and-essential-oil-set-for-meditation-throat/ Nail Mask: https://www.beautydespitecancer.com/product/defiant-beauty-nail-mask/