I've been a hairdresser for sixteen plus years, and I have been on Optune maybe four and a half months. When I knew you could plug it in, I was like, fine. I know the battery won't be waking me up all night. It doesn't really get in my way.
Last year, I was at my friend Alexis’s, and it was her wedding, and the very next day the headaches started. So I just said, “Well, maybe I'm a little hung over.” But, I wasn't. It went on for two weeks.
She started losing words. I would say, “What are you doing, you know, what'd you do today at the gym?” And, she would say, “I can see it. I can think of it, but I can't get it out of my mouth.”
And that's when I got a CT scan.
Sarah and I have been together for nine years. The day we met our neuro-oncologist was probably the worst day of our lives. Neither of us had ever heard of GBM before that appointment. We really didn't know what we were dealing with. After surgery, our doctor recommended that we undergo radiation and chemo for six weeks.
I didn't really get it. I didn't do much research. I was just like, yeah, whatever, I'm fine. I'm going to beat this. And, then I got to the second one, and we went in and had it removed again. Um, then that kind of woke me up.
My doctor really is into Optune, and so, he told me that it's a wearable device, non-invasive, different than chemo. So, they talked about what you had to do. Shave your head. It has to be bald. So, every time I was like, “No. No. No.” And then finally I was like, “Alright, let's do it.” You know it took me a little while. I hated shaving my head, and it hurt my scar, but once that scar started healing up, it was good. I mean, would I like not to have cancer? Well, yes, but you know, I think I'm feeling pretty good. Able to work again. You don't realize how hard it is to not be working.
Ok, we're here—HeadDress Salon. Ready to get your hair cut?
Being in public, like when I first got this done, people, they just make faces, and I don't know what they're saying. And, because I'm a little bit paranoid, I think they're talking, you know, not very good. Um, but then I've had people come up to me and ask, “Do you have cancer?” Most people are, like anyone in here, no one says anything now. They've seen me. It's all good.
I've seen her go through some really difficult times, um, where we didn't know what the outcome was going to be.
I think how I got adjusted to wearing it was just, yeah, covering it up as best I could, but without over-heating. So, I just always put everything to the right, because I'm right-handed. This flops over, and then I put it on. I always clip it to my right pant leg because we always pull it to the right, and clipped it here. And, then this is my to go.
Alexis and Kim:I've known Sarah seven years. When I first heard that Sarah had cancer, of course, like total devastation. She's been her best advocate, and taking matters into her own hands, and never sat back like a victim, ever. When she first told me that she had to shave her head, I said, “Well, if you have to shave your head, I will shave it with you, and we'll just go on this journey together and be by you.” This is our grow-out right here.
Being a hairstylist and always looking in a mirror, and always looking at myself, I still think in my head that I'm the blonde that, you know, goes out. And then I catch myself in a window, you know, and you're like, Oh yeah, there's that. But, it's ok, you know, I'm surviving. So, that matters more to me.
I'm done. Good, Yeah? You guys cleaned up?
I enjoy cutting hair, and I do like to go to work. And, I've moved to a different space just for the quietness; being around people who have called me and checked on me. So, it's like, “What is this outfit you're wearing? Oh, Cool.” And that's it. There's no more cancer talk. So, I like that a lot. I was nervous just knowing I had to wear this out in public, and I really needed to figure out ways to hide it.
In the winter, I like wearing these kind of hats because it's so cold, and it covers everything, including my ears. I like this for the summer though, because it keeps my head cool.
Cadee: We'll grab some lunch after this.
Cadee: Thank you so much. Have a great day.
Sarah: Hi, how are you?
Eric is my trainer, and he's fantastic. He's helped me through this since day one. When talking to my doctor, we have determined that I can exercise again. I love working out. I like to be active, work out, work. I don't like to sit down until like at least 4 or 5, or it depends on if a good show's on.
Applying the arrays is a learning experience. Um, you're not going to get it right right off the bat. I think it took me an hour the first time I put it on, and now we've got it down to about 15 minutes. We've got a pretty sweet system.
The diagnosis of GBM is a pretty desperate and heartbreaking thing, and so, it's pretty helpless. I can't actually physically do anything to help her. I can be there for support, but I have very little to do with the outcome of this. Um, and so, the Optune device is actually empowering for a caregiver, because it is something that you can do.
When I first found out what it was, people were like, you know, there's only like a year and a half, two years. No one wants to hear that. So, you know, studying it on my own, getting the help, doctors, all that has really helped.
It's definitely day-by-day. You gotta take one day at a time. I am definitely living more in the now. We really appreciate the good days. This is going to mess up my make-up.