Epilepsy

Beautiful Lengths – Epilepsy Awareness

 “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.”  – Coco Chanel

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For as long as I lived, I always thought that I had appeared different than the rest of my immediate family. Apparently, I had absorbed dominant genes from my Romanian and Native American ancestors! I was born the olive skin-toned, thick curly haired middle child. When I reached the age to begin schooling, I soon realized that this difference of appearance would not go over well with other school children. That I would be berated and bullied. Harassed and humiliated for years to come for how I looked in difference to the rest of my family. Isolated and slandered solely because of how God created me to appear. How painful the emotional cuts I endured. Often times, I found it hard to look in the mirror at my own reflection. Not wanting to see the lies the other school children had flooded my head with. Often times, I gave in and I would allow myself to glance into the mirror and with a heavy sigh, they had won and I would cry. Not liking the person I saw staring back at me. At times, I would question within myself, “What was so wrong with me that needed to be changed? What would I need to do in order for them to stop laughing and mocking my appearance?” As I entered into Jr. High School, the emotional wounds had turned into emotional scarring and I had somewhat become immune to the mockery of my appearance. At some level I could no longer hear the laughter and snide remarks. Entering Jr. High School, a brief thought had occurred to me, “Should I try to be like everyone else?” However the thought had drifted on like a passing cloud and I instead opted to steer clear of what was trendy and popular at that time.

A day had come when I haphazardly made the decision to have my thick curly hair cut down short. Very short. It was a decision that at first felt like the very first drop on a roller coaster ride yet when you take the plunge, it’s somewhat exhilarating and at the time it felt freeing. In that moment, I felt as though, there was nothing more the bullies could laugh at now. Of course, I had chosen an appropriate hairstyle for that particular length and that is the way that it stayed for quite a few years throughout my schooling.

Years later, with school far behind me and the city I had grown up in miles away, I decided that it was time to allow myself to be who I wanted to be. I was no longer defined by bullies. I was regaining plenty of self confidence and my world was beginning to unravel beautifully like a flower at springtime.

I began to grow my hair out once again, learning new and innovative techniques of styling my hair as it grew, after years of keeping it very short and invited more positive things and people into my life, showing the negative aspects the door. It was time to break up with the past.

In 2008, 4 months after becoming married to my best friend and soulmate, life took and unexpected turn and I became diagnosed with Epilepsy. This diagnosis was a very frightening and confusing time for the both of us at that time being newlyweds and knowing very little about the condition and what to expect. However, determined to stand strong through it all and vowed to brave the storm no matter what might come. I became empowered to advocate for epilepsy awareness and to also write about my personal experiences living with epilepsy so long as I live.

It wasn’t long within my journey before an idea had risen like the dawn of a new day. I am going to grow my hair out and donate it to charity in the name of Epilepsy Awareness. Allow me to give a more detailed explanation of what I mean.

There are a variety of different treatments available to those living with epilepsy prescribed by physicians/neurologists. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on several factors, including the frequency and severity of the seizures and the person’s age, overall health, and medical history.

Epilepsy Treatments

  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
  • Ketogenic Diet

Upon researching more in depth into the treatments of surgery and the stories of those who have had this experience, my heart swelled with compassion almost immediately. I stopped and thought a moment. In thinking, it occurred to me, these individuals could essentially be asked to lose their hair in order to have this procedure performed. I wanted to do something to help make it easier to get through this part of the journey. My thick curly hair was going on this journey with me. I had made the decision that I would grow it out and donate it to charity.

I wanted to make the right decision in who to donate my hair to. I believe that I have. Right now, I am in the growing stage. It will most likely be another 2 years of growing before I am ready to make the cut. When the cut is ready to be made, my hair will be donated to The Pantene Beautiful Lengths organization. Beautiful Lengths is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society, the largest nonprofit health organization committed to saving lives from every cancer and improving the quality of life for people facing the condition. The role of Pantene is to help women grow long, strong, beautiful hair and to provide the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer. So far, Pantene has donated 24,000 free real-hair wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig banks, which distribute wigs to cancer patients across the country.

It is my hope that when the time comes, in speaking with this organization, they will hear my heart-felt reason for the growth and donation of my hair and that it can be distributed to someone in need. Though their path is cancer, perhaps they can open their arms and hearts for Epilepsy too.

To see if you are eligible to receive a free wig or if there are wigs available in your area, call:

The American Cancer Society’s Wig Bank Line at 1-877-227-1596

This is the first time I’ve ever attempted something such as this and I can honestly say that it is truly a humbling and rewarding experience to be a part of. It’s something that each one of us can do and I encourage everyone to join in and get involved! Learn more about the program by visiting The Pantene Beautiful Length website here: pantene.com/en-us/brandexperience/about-the-program#

“Here we GROW!” — Tiffany Kairos

 

I am a happily-ever-after wife, an Epilepsy Diagnosee, Advocate for Epilepsy Awareness (The Epilepsy Network), life lover & Christ inspired! Life is a journey and I'm loving every moment of it. Even the bumps in the road!

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