An excerpt from “I Am Not My Hair: A young woman’s journey and triumph over breast cancer”

While you’re reading, pick up Tyesha Love’s  memoir, I Am Not My Hair, A young woman’s journey and triumph over breast cancer:

At the age of 29, I was given a stage II breast cancer diagnosis. After the initial shock, all I would think about was hair loss. My hair was long, thick and healthy – trailing down the nape of my neck and partially down my back. I also tested positive for the BRCA1 gene. Because of the BRCA 1 mutation and the strong history of cancer on my mother’s side of the family, it was recommended I get a bi-lateral mastectomy.

As time went on, I endured a series of chemotherapy treatments and surgeries. I suffered setbacks and defeat. As I overcame some of the most distressing moments of my battle, I learned – it was not my hair or breasts that defined me or that made me special. I began to accept that I did not have hair. I loved the idea of not having to buy shampoo and not having to spend two hours styling my hair. The idea of spending an extra half hour enjoying a bubble bath and not for shaving was just as, if not more, gratifying. I accepted that I would be without breasts temporarily. I could proceed with the reconstruction process after I finished treatment, as chemotherapy would slow the healing process.

For vanity reasons, of course, hair and breasts were ideal. However, after I was challenged with complications, infections, depression and defeat, the loss of my hair and breasts became the least of my worries. Vanity no longer took precedence. The idea that I am not my hair became so relevant because I had a new normal to get acquainted with; a new normal that involved, at some point, new breasts, a new beginning temporarily without hair, and a new outlook on life. The idea that I am not my hair became relevant because I started to learn what made me special, what made me an individual and what made me unique from others.


I am not my hair, Tyesha Love, memoir, genetic testing, Living Beyond Breast cancer

Tyesha embraced the idea of losing her hair after she was treated for her breast cancer diagnosis. In her memoir, she encourages you to look to other elements that make you appreciate life after breast cancer.



This revelation sparked a fight for survivorship. In moments of hope, when I affirmed that I would overcome cancer, I began to ascertain what truly defined me, what was really important in my life, and what and who are truly worthy of my time and energy. I began to determine which things in my life needed to be weaned out and what should be cherished. Those cherished people, goals, and passions took precedence. They were worth the fight against cancer.

I desired to see my children grow up with families of their own. Having been raised in a family of “secret squirrels”, I aimed to be the “squeaky wheel” and vowed to educate my children on our family’s medical history and on how they can and should be proactive with their own health.

Life and my second chance to truly live it, survivorship, the will to fight, and to live a fulfilling life became prioritites. My will to live in order to engender awareness, empowerment and inspiration became my inspiration. Overcoming cancer, empowering, inspiring and encouraging others through my personal experience became my objective.

As revealed in my memoir, I Am Not My Hair, A young woman’s journey and triumph over breast cancer,  survivors will be encouraged to know that, even though they may have experienced a tough time, it does not last forever, and not only can they can conquer it, but they come out stronger, improved, wiser; more caring, giving and compassionate.

Join Tyesha Love on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at a book signing and discussion of her memoir. If you live in the Philadelphia area, make your way to Mugshots Coffeehouse and Cafe on Fairmount Avenue.

5 thoughts on “An excerpt from “I Am Not My Hair: A young woman’s journey and triumph over breast cancer”

  1. Pingback: 1994 in Australian Rules Football: 1994 Afl Season | Team Sport Guide

  2. first ,i would like to say congratulation. what an awesome success story. reading your story has given me so much hope knowing my sister will be with me for man years to come. No one ,but Gods’ grace and mercy gave her the strength to fight the good fight of faith. The loss of her hair and breast does not define who she is as a person,but who she desire to be on the inside is a women after Gods’ on heart/ i praise God he is not like man. man looks at the outer appearence ,but God looks at the heart of a man/ sister was diagnose at stage 2 /1 year ago October 23, , and she also had a mastectomy.As, i reflect on her life i get tearer sister had a son with a handicap. She nurture her son like no other. Everywhere she went everyone knew him. He was the love of her life. The limits of life to us in his condition had no limits to her.He could not talk ,but the facial expressions allowed you to see want a happy child.The Lord took him home 7yrs. old. husband 6 months later. this is why talking about my beloved sister can get the best of me.She has never complained aday in her life . wondering why she was the person to take upon a burden to heavy to bear. she would always see if the Lord giveth he will give me the strength to take care of him. she used to voulteer full time at school ,because she wanted to make sure he was never neglient by others. she stop working to beome a full time caregiver for her son. mant times i would ask her about her feels of breast cancer. She would say, ” the same method i took with my son, is the same method i will give see her son adversary didn’t give her a set bak ,but it give her strength for want was to come in her life. she is my best friend. we have never had an agrument. yes ,we agree to disagree. we talk and text all day long. mission was to keep her laughing and happy. i made her beome one of my intercessor prayer partner. she would pray for may women whether on the phone ,FB, email. i keep her busy. She is enjoying praying for others instead of thinking about her condition. the Lord is not given her the spirit of fear ,but love, power, and a sound mind. she woud tell me often that this is a testimony that the Lord has allow her to have. He chose her for the special assignment for her son and she pass ,so he felt he could use her again. she even went on to say that no matter how it looks ,she was ok with her assignment, this was only a test for God to get the Glory. She was the chosen vessel just like everyone else that has or in remission breast caner. i come from a famly of 9 girls and 1 boy. one night she said ,she thank the Lord for chosing her and not one of us. because of the Lost of her son, she felt she understood want it would be like to fight for your life in faith. i weep to hear those word. she is a true sister keeper. how could thank God for allowing you to have breast caner instead of your sibings. she has always been an giver. Her doctors watched her countless times encouraging others patients when she was taking chemo/ and the mastectomy,CHEMO/n radiation.She was so brusied /burned from the treatment they had 2 post pond her treatment for 2 weeks . she never complined or waviered in her faith. she woulDalways say “carolym i still have all A’s in the Lord classes. peace A, comfort A, joy A, grateful A, faithful A, no complaint A, no questions why me A. all A’s and she is PASSING/. we walked FOR Her breast cancer in new orleans ,la. she had just finish taking her last radiation treatment last week ,and she was very weak. she lives in texas. she called me at 7;00am to make sure we were all up. every step i took i was taking pictures of all the beautiful people walking on the behalf of thee love ones. i would seen them to her through my phone every step of the way. she called me crying because i took the time to seen her how much i loved her and wanted her to be in the mist of it all even though she was not here with us. i got it on a dvd for her to look back yr after yr to see a multitude of Gods’ people making a difiference with one stride at a time. she will start in 2 weeks to help the other patients to give them courage and let them know they are not along. she loves to give. she has compassion for others and never thinking of herself. i know this comment was long ,but i had to share with you one of the most beautiul person in my life. continue to reflect on your journey please keep my sister in your prayers and i will do the same for you. it was not by chance i read your email ,it was by the Lords design .

  3. Thank you, Carolyn. I am pleased to know you were moved by my story. And I must say, I am inspired by your sister. Thank you for sharing her story. When we face difficult times, it is part of God’s design for our lives. And even in those difficult times, your sister was still able to call on the Lord and give him praise. She was able to see and accept that was the Lords will and she had a works to do in Him, despite her loss and ailment. She still honored Him and gave Him glory. So strong is her faith…so admirable. I will keep you and your sister in my prayers. I pray you both have a lifetime of good health and an abundance of happiness. May God continue to bless you both.
    Be well,

  4. Pingback: Cancer, one of the reasons for going after my degree « LBBC's Blog

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