Would you do this for your spouse?Friday, September 20, 2013 by: Kate AdamsLooking for a way to support his wife Linda VanderSchaaf-Nolan, who is currently battling Multiple Myeloma cancer, Mike Nolan decided to walk her walk and go hairless.
Multiple Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer after Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and represents approximately 1 percent of all cancers and just fewer than 2 percent of all cancer deaths.
Witnessing some of the indignities his wife has to endure during her proceedures, including hair loss; Nolan feels it is important to bring awareness not only to the disease but what a woman goes through in the course of treatment.
“To draw attention to the fact that women have a very different experience with chemotherapy, my wife lost her hair about a month ago and it was not the best experience for her and she’s still dealing with it today,” he says.
“As a woman she is dealing with many, many issues associated with hair loss and the way she presented herself as a woman.”
“So this is an experience for me just somewhat parallel to what she may have been going through when she experienced her hair loss.”
From her hospital bed in Sudbury Linda tells BayToday she is doing her part to support her husband’s efforts by telling her story and raising awareness which is key in the battle against cancer.
“I had never heard of Multiple Myeloma and was a healthy 51 year old with a sore lower back,” she explains.
“My diagnosis was confirmed after a CT scan revealed that I had a lesion, tumour in my L5 vertebrae. After radiation, low dose chemo with a cocktail of drugs for this cancer, many, many tests and procedures I am now on my last lap for treatment.”
“It is hoped that this procedure (Stem Cell Transplant) will put me into remission. There is no cure for Multiple Myeloma, it is only treatable.”
“I now realize first-hand the importance of creating awareness. Without the research that has been done in the last 10 years for Multiple Myeloma, my prognosis would be grim.”
Linda says she didn’t have the time to come to grips with chemo hair loss that most cancer patients do as they undergo months of low dose chemo, instead hers was almost instant following a brutal 9-hour session at the Sudbury Cancer Centre in August.
“My husband, Michael Nolan, earlier in the summer indicated that he would shave his head and go bald with me. I really had hoped that he was not serious…one bald head in the family is enough!”
And with couple of boxes of adhesive bandages on the side, just in case the barber has a bad day he notes, and the support of his co-workers at the Community Counselling Centre Nolan gave up his lovely head of curls.
His co-workers, who all bought an adhesive bandage in support of the event, laughed and joked with Nolan as the clippers hacked off his curls but all their faces told a story of concern and support for their colleague and his wife.
Nolan is looking to raise some needed dollars to continue research for Multiple Myeloma research and urge folks to make a donation at the Cancer Society Office in North Bay or to the Trillium Lodge in Sudbury.