A hairstylist. Her friend. Cancer. Perspective.

By November 19, 2019 March 1st, 2024 One Comment

I sometimes wonder what I enjoy more: being a Stylist or forming special friendships with my clients?  Sometimes, one appointment is just that.  However, more often than not, that ‘one’ appointment metamorphosis into decades of regular appointments over three to eight week intervals. Such fortune of loyalty and trust, mutually inures confidence and the blossoming of friendship. Some of those friendships become quite special. This blog is about two such loyal clients and the effect of their friendships and our lives.In the last year, cancer has changed the lives of two my clients, one of which is a special, personal friend. These are two vivacious women who were healthy, striving in their careers, active and strong. Two women who have faced this road with determination, optimism, shared fears and acceptance.

Amanda is the wife of my dear friend, Jared. Jared is a friend from my hometown and has been a loyal client for the last 17 years!  After meeting his future bride, he suggested Amanda start seeing me for her hair needs.  Since her first appointment, I have had the pleasure of getting to know her and forming a friendship of our own over the past 13 years of color and cuts.

Each appointment is always anticipated with some kind of news or life update.  I listened to both Jared and Amanda as they shared their engagement news with me and I happily agreed to style Amanda’s hair for their wedding (I think I can actually take credit for Jared’s wedding hair too!), I witnessed the exchanging of their vows and partied with them at their amazingly fun wedding reception (I still consider their wedding reception to be one of the best ever).  To this day, I am captivated by Amanda’s mother’s speech, you could’ve heard a pin drop; they even shared a slice of their delicious 1 year anniversary cake with me!  The good news kept coming. Jared and Amanda eagerly shared the news they were expecting their first child, Miles and a few years later, sweet but ornery Reed came along.  While pregnant with Miles, Amanda finished nursing school and decided shortly after giving birth to Reed to pursue her Nurse Practitioner degree.  In December of 2017 Amanda graduated at the top of her class with her NP degree through the accelerated program at Rockhurst University.  The medical world awaited while Amanda mined for that perfect fit for her new professional and family life.

In the fall of 2018 Amanda was scheduled for her color and cut, Jared was actually scheduled for his cut while her color was processing. We were both excited she had finally achieved a hair length goal she had been striving for!  I remember thinking Jared and Amanda were especially cute at that appointment.  They were happy, playfully teasing each other, laughing, in love.

September 30, 2018.  It was only 2 weeks later Amanda and Jared’s lives were disrupted by a strange seizure which led to the discovery of a brain tumor.  I received a text from Jared informing me Amanda had just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  Upon hearing this terrible news, I felt a wave of emotion and confusion wash over me as I went about my Sunday shopping for trees at Suburban Lawn & Garden with my husband.  I was immediately afraid for my friends, I was numb, confused and remember feeling, “No… this isn’t fair, she just grew her hair out, she just finished school, she has small children, she is so young, I just saw her.. she was fine, how long has it been in there? When is the surgery, how is Jared doing, what can I do??”  In that moment I so badly wanted to reach out to my friends but respected the space they needed to cry and consider, alone.  At the same time, I was heartened to know I was included in a tightening group of trusted friends by these special people.  While collapsing from the weight of that news, I suddenly realized the impact of that one appointment, that turned into a shared journey and witness to each others’ most important life events that lasted over a decade.  I flashed with memories of our decade of conversations, laughs and frustrations over old and new homes; our weddings; our spouses; their children; my pets; fears, wants and needs.  I never realized when pursuing a career in hair, I would be touched by so many people, their stories, their triumphs and struggles.

One year later, moving forward. The surgery has taken place, healing continues and Amanda’s hair has grown back into a kickass pixie cut- she looks stunning!  In the last year, I have witnessed both Amanda and Jared face this challenge with determination, patience and strength.  We often cannot recognize our personal strengths when faced with such fear and uncertainty.  However, such strength seems always there for these special friends, in one form or another.  The deep connection with her husband, love for her boys and steadfast girlfriends, has helped carry Amanda through some of her darkest days. Jared’s love for music (and his Peloton) has helped him to re-center his focus and ban the negative, intrusive thoughts that routinely creep into any normal human’s mind during the process.  I continue to be impressed and feel blessed by knowing these two amazing humans (and those with similar challenges) who steadfastly seize the present battle in this fight of their lives.

Amanda adds: “I personally want you to know how you…helped me through the hard stuff – like braiding my post-surgery hair, listening to my fears of hair loss, offering support and suggestions, being an amazing wig stylist who gave me back confidence after the hair loss, AND cut my hair into “a new style of me”… I will always cherish and be grateful.., thank you!!”

As we enter the craziness of the holiday season, I want to express my gratitude for the connections my career has enabled me to make. I have found pleasure and contentment in doing what to me is a small gesture but to someone living with cancer, a subtle feeling of confidence. Through the months of November and December, I am offering a complimentary wig blow-out and style. If you know of someone living with cancer, I would very much like the opportunity to give back by offering a blow-out, shaping or color modification. Please share this story with someone you love and encourage them to book online at www.architexuresalonkc.com

One Comment

  • Lea says:

    Tami this is so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing this story, reminding all of us how precious life is and offering such a great service to those going through chemo/cancer. Thank you to Amanda and Jarod for allowing you to share this story!