It’s difficult for friends and family to go through radiation and chemotherapy. This story about a son giving a gift to his mom who had lost her entire hair, is worthy of Feel-Good Friday.
Matt Shaha was 27, and grew his hair to give it away. He also made a wig as a gift for his mom, who had just finished radiation treatments.
Melanie Shaha was first diagnosed in 2003 with a benign growth on her pituitary.
“Your pituitary is in the middle of your head, and it sends a signal for things to work in your body,” she told Arizona’s Family. “It’s not cancer, it’s a benign tumor, but it’s in the wrong place. And it smashes important things and can cause a lot of trouble, so you can’t let it stay.”
It is approximately the same size as a pea, and it lies behind the bridge. So it doesn’t take up much space. Melanie Shaha points out that a tumor is able to cause physiological and hormonal trauma and may even lead to death.
The tumor was removed in two separate surgeries. In 2006 and 2003, the cancer returned and she underwent radiation therapy.
Melanie Shaha lost all of her hair, eyebrows included, three months after the radiation treatment. She was told by her doctor that the radiation caused her to lose her pituitary and her hair would never grow back.
“I don’t mind being sick, but I do mind looking sick,” she said.
Matt was just out of college when he decided to cut his hair.
“I was at dinner with my parents, and someone made the comment that my hair was starting to get a little long and I jokingly said, ‘Oh maybe I’ll just keep growing it for a week for you.’ And then it clicked. And I was like, ‘Why don’t I?’” he said.
A cranial prosthetic, also known as wigs or makeup for cancer patients, can be a great boost in confidence and morale. To navigate these waters requires incredible courage, strength and fortitude. A physical awakening not only boosts self-esteem but also lifts spirits.
I loved Matt Shaha’s response to a question about why he chose to do it.
“She gave it to me, so it was a no brainer to give it back.”
After two years and a foot-length of hair, Matt cut it to send to a company called Compassionate Creations to design and create a wig, especially for his mom.
“I was not expecting that to be as emotional as it was. It kind of started out as a fun little project between me and my mom, but as soon as the hair was long enough and we cut it, it was like, ‘This is real,’” he said.
“I barely kept it together, but it’s meant the world. It turned out so much better than I thought it would.”
It was a beautiful gift from his precious son. Melanie Shaha ought to be proud.