Whether you’re just joining in the conversation here at RLL or you’ve been following awhile, you know my now. I’m a former gifted intervention specialist, freelance writer, author of books for kids and teachers, and work-at-home, homeschooling mom of four.

What you probably don’t know, though, is that nine years ago, when Trevor was two, I battled a pregnancy-caused cancer called choriocarcinoma that resulted from an incredibly-invasive molar pregnancy that metastasized.

Not only did I lose my baby, but I was faced with cancer and the possibility that, if chemotherapy didn’t work, I’d have to have a hysterectomy and never be able to get pregnant again.

Chemotherapy following molar pregnancies is usually pretty straight-forward if it’s needed. A few shots of methotrexate for a month or two, weekly blood draws to watch your HCG levels go back down, a year off from trying to get pregnant again, and all is well. Unfortunately, I was resistant to the methotrexate, had malignancy, and needed to undergo a much more difficult program.

I was going to be really tired.

I was going to be sick.

I was going to lose my hair.

Throughout it all, though, I was blessed. I had incredible doctors and nurses. Friends and family took care of Trevor, Brian, and me. My school district was amazing. I was worried about missing work {and the pay} so people who had never met me donated their sick time to build a bank of paid-days for me to draw from so I wouldn’t have to take unpaid time off. My principal worked it out so our building had a dedicated floating substitute teacher available that would cover whatever needed covered in the building when I could be at work, and would be in my room so my kids had consistency when I needed treatment.

I worked through the entire year that I went through treatment. Brian and Trevor shaved my head for me the day before treatment began and we left it out for the birds to use in their nests. I bought a wig, but never wore it because it felt weird. Instead, I wore head scarves of all shapes, colors, materials, and sizes.

 

Colleen During Chemo

 

And, I’m tearing up now as I write this because I only purchased one of those beautiful scarves myself.

Throughout the year, once I began treatment, I regularly came into my office to find a pretty bag, box, or package left behind. All had beautiful, sweet, uplifting cards attached.

Very few were signed.

And every one contained a scarf or two, along with a flower, chocolate, or another small trinket. Students – ones I worked with in my role as gifted intervention specialist and those that just knew me in passing – came to school with bandanas and scarves on their own heads from time to time.

I was blessed then, and I’m amazingly blessed now.

The cancer was healed with no lasting problems, and no higher likelihood of future recurrence. I have been able to have THREE more beautiful children, and I am able to stay home and teach them myself.

 

Colleen after Chemotherapy

 

As I work towards my goal of simplifying in 2013, I’ve been cleaning and purging our lives of the “stuff” that accumulates over 15 years of marriage and 4 kids. One room at a time, one box at a time…we are looking through things and pulling them together for a garage sale.

Over the weekend, I came across a box of scarves. Scarves of all shapes, colors, materials, and sizes. Scarves lovingly—and anonymously—left on a young teacher’s desk nine years ago as she faced her most difficult period yet. A time when she lost her baby, her health, and her hair.

And I can’t sell them.

But, I can’t keep them either, so here’s my request. Are any of you struggling through chemotherapy? Is your mom, sister, aunt, best friend, or someone you know at church? Is there some one you can think of who needs to know that they are loved, prayed for, and thought of during a dark and uncertain battle with cancer?

Will you let me know who they are and allow me to send my scarves on to your loved one? They don’t belong to me any more. They’re needed somewhere else.

Blessings,

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You can get in touch with me through my contact page, by direct message on Twitter, or via private message on Facebook. I’ll give them to whomever asks, and if there are several who message me, I’ll divide them up until they are gone.

Colleen Kessler

Colleen is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, is a sought-after national speaker and educational consultant, and is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Raising Lifelong Learners, as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children. She lives in northeast Ohio with her four bright and quirky kiddos, patient husband, and ever-changing collection of small reptiles, mammals, and insects.

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