by Victoria Jackson
Living with the knowledge that you had cancer and that it may return is like living with
lavender hair; everything is the same yet different.
You walk around, do the same chores and hobbies, but people look at you differently.
Your friends, family, and doctors have a little glint in their eye. They are thinking you could die soon—this may be your last Christmas together, your second-to-last birthday. Your medical chart has a box checked where it used to say none with a squiggly line from top to bottom. You are vulnerable. You are human. You are not indestructible. You have an expiration date.
You look in the mirror in the bathroom and you look the same. But there are scars across
your chest where there used to be health. You are deformed. Nothing a nice baggy shirt couldn’t hide, or a prosthesis. A prosthesis! When did that word enter my vocabulary?
You can still wear your favorite date-night outfit, but you know and your husband
knows—and maybe everybody knows—that under the alluring dress is a mangled car accident of a chest. I had always been taught the Bible instructs women to be modest. So there’s one good thing breast cancer did to me—made me modest. It also made me humble.
While I was going through chemo last year, I noticed a lot of young, healthy women with
their hair dyed this grayish/lavender color. Interesting. As I tried to find a look for my suddenly bald head that would suit my personality (options including gypsy fortune teller scarf, baseball cap, coiffed Country Club lady curly wig, Raggedy Ann red yarn wig, hot pink wig, afro), I seemed to be drawn to the grayish/lavender wig the most. Maybe I desperately wanted to look cool instead of cancerous. After chemo, when my hair grew back in, it was gray! Who knew?! I’d dyed it blonde my whole life. My friend Judy said, “It’s not gray, it’s lavender!” My husband nodded, quick to make me feel prettier. So I wrote a song called “Lavender Hair” and continued that trend and wrote a devotional called Lavender Hair, which I’m hoping will encourage and inspire other women and families who are going through cancer treatment.
With all the struggles, I still think that cancer’s not so bad. There are worse things.
Looking back, cancer was an amazing adventure, thanks to God. I’m also thankful to the
wonderful staff at the Vanderbilt Breast Clinic, the Pretty in Pink store, and that observant nurse who first detected my cancer at the Spring Hill Walk-in Clinic when I had simply walked in for a cure to my cough and casually mentioned a numb spot almost under my arm. He sent me immediately to Vanderbilt.
Amidst all my appointments, chemo visits, radiation, check-ups, blood tests, and at home
in my bed recovering, the one constant was my Bible. Since I learned to read, I have read the Bible. I even went to Florida Bible College for a year. I enjoy my weekly Bible studies. Psalm 42:1 for me became the written word lived out: “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.”
In my devotional Lavender Hair, I share some of the Bible verses I cling to when this roller
coaster car of life flies off the rails, when the elevator stops in between floors, when I get stuck at the top of the merry-go-round. God’s Word is the truth I run to, my comfort, my hope for the future. Jesus is my beautiful medicine.
I pray you too will discover that “with God nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).
VICTORIA JACKSON is the author of Lavender Hair and is best known for her six seasons (1986-1992) on Saturday Night Live. She has also appeared in many films. Victoria was raised in a Bible-believing, piano-playing home with no TV. While at college on a gymnastics scholarship, Victoria discovered drama. Johnny Carson’s talent scout saw her six-minute stand-up comedy act and put her on the Tonight Show where she appeared over twenty times. In 1992, Victoria was reunited with her high school sweetheart, Paul Wessel, and left show business to raise a family in the suburbs of Miami. Victoria still performs stand-up comedy and appears in an occasional film. She and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, to be near their daughters and grandchildren.
Lavender Hair is available now for purchase at: https://www.amazon.com/Lavender-Hair-Devotions-Breast-Cancer/dp/1424555620.
To celebrate the launch of the book, Victoria is performing her stand-up routine and singingher new song live at Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville on October 8. Purchase tickets here! and donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation here.