For What It’s Worth

Shaved head saves life

Some us naturally bald guys may wonder why it’s such a rage today for men with perfectly good heads of hair to shave themselves bald. The reasons may be varied, but one man in Georgia had a good reason to shave his head, and doing so saved his life.

When Bud Stringer’s wife, Dolly, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she began chemotherapy. Realizing that she would be losing her hair, she chose to take control of the situation and shaved her head. To show solidarity with his wife of almost 20 years, Bud decided to shave his head. They would be bald together.

But when Bud shaved his head, he and his family were surprised to see a black patch on his newly shaved pate. He assumed it was a birthmark he had been unaware of. No, his mom said, “it’s not a birthmark, you don’t have one.”

If not a birthmark, what was it? Probably just a mole, Bud decided, but he agreed to go to a dermatologist, who ordered a biopsy which showed that Bud had stage three malignant melanoma, an aggressive and often fatal form of skin cancer.

Now, the Stringers shared not only bald heads, but also stage three cancer. Quite a shock for a couple, who said they had never had any health problems before.

Bud’s treatment is going to be more intense than Dolly’s because his cancer is so aggressive. Diagnosed in August, he has already had two extensive surgeries and is preparing to start a year of chemotherapy, ABC News reported. He had chemotherapy five days a week for the first month and is to do self-injections of chemo for 11 months after that. Bud said his doctors feel positive that the eventual outcome will be good.

Dolly’s prognosis also is good.

Both agree that Bud’s going bald to show solidarity with his wife saved his life.

“The doctor told me that I would have been burying him probably by Christmas if the melanoma hadn’t been diagnosed and treated,” Dolly told ABC. “We just have so, so much to be thankful for.”

Bud shares that belief. “I’m not a Bible-thumper, I am a Christian, but I really feel like God’s hand shaved my head,” he said. “I really do. If Dolly had not lost her hair—or chosen to shave her head—I never would have found this.”

I think Bud and Dolly would agree with me that sometimes we have to go through loss to achieve a greater gain. That’s a truth worth remembering.

Dolly knew that she was going to lose her hair. That would be an unavoidable side effect of the cancer treatments. Rather than losing her hair slowly and in patches, she chose to shave her head. Fortunately, she had that choice, a choice we don’t always have in losing something. Either by choice or not, the inevitable hair loss was something she had to go through en route to the greater gain of having her cancer cured and her health returned.

Bud chose to lose his hair in an act of empathy and support, a quite worthy motive to suffer certain losses. In his case, the gain was expected to be increased solidarity with his wife. However, it turned out to be something else: his life. It is interesting to note that his unexpected gain brings with it the opportunity for continued realization of his original goal of solidarity with his wife. He probably would not have been alive to realize that goal if he had not decided to sacrifice or lose something in order to achieve the goal.

It might be good for all of us to remember that sometimes sacrifice or loss is necessary to achieve gain.

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One Response to For What It’s Worth

  1. Cleo Rose says:

    Thanks Harry. We all need to remember how helping others will alway help us.

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