The Day Tutti Went Bald

I will never forget the day Tutti called me at work to let me know she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Bald is beautiful

“It’s just a little one,” she said. “Nothing at all to worry about. In any case, if it’s the worst thing that ever happens to me, I’ll be lucky.” (As it turned out, it wasn’t just a little one – it was a grade-3 cancer that required two lumpectomies and aggressive treatment – but Tutti’s attitude remained the same. Upbeat. Unwavering).

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Post-haircut celebration dance

And so began the year that Tutti decided to be even more vibrant, positive, colourful, courageous, crazy, outrageous, funny and fabulous than ever.

In other words, she fully intended to kick cancer’s boring (and expensive) butt. (Which i’m thrilled to say, she’s recently done).

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Baldy and Cloudy, living it up.

In the meantime? There was the little matter of her amazing white hair (“It’s not white,” The Goat once said, meanly, “It’s STEEL GREY.) and the day she realised, about six weeks into chemo, she was shedding like a husky in summer.

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You know, just your average, suburban conservative couple.

At first, it was a few strands on the pillow. Occasionally, the Guru would jokingly ruffle her hair and a puff of silver would swirl up and away, providing beautiful, soft furnishings for a Magpie’s nest.

After a while, her dead straight, gravity-defying, ghost-hued ‘do had truly begun its departure, and it was time for Tutti to see it off for good. (She was having to vaccuum every day. It was like living with a Labrador.)

Q. What’s cooler than a 62-year-old woman with a mohawk?

A. A 62-year-old woman who’s bald. And TOTALLY OWNS IT.

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Yep, they’re perfect together, despite being spiritually mismatched.

I’m very proud to say that I was in charge of the clippers. Once I’d completely shaved Tutti’s head, I applied her makeup (and also put a bit of foundation on her scalp, which having been hidden for decades by her thick head of hair, was a pale shade of baby mouse pink), then helped her pick out an outfit to wear for her first day as a baldy. Finally, the transformation was complete.

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Very pleased with my clipper skills. Tutti and me.

It was amazing how many compliments Tutti received for having such a beautifully shaped, symmetrical head. She loved being so aerodynamic.

And, in a rather nice twist, Matty was no longer the lone family chrome dome.

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Tutti and Matty (and The Guru). Two bald peas in a pod.

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And then, of course, she danced in the street. As you do. If you’re a lunatic.

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Funny looks from neighbours? Too cool to care.

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Dance like no one’s watching. Except everyone’s watching. You’re a bald 62-year old woman, dancing in the street.

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Yep, it’s a lesson in loving life.

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What Tutti Wore…

… To buy a litre of milk.

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Tutti’s version of chucking on a tracksuit. Except that she chucks on a rainbow and radiates joy.

This is a woman who has the ability to run into her wardrobe, pull out the first three items she sees, chuck them on and come out looking like this. And yet, she isn’t deliberately fabulous, she can’t help it, in the same way that a magpie can’t help collecting shiny objects – or The Guru can’t help eating things he shouldn’t (Hello lolly mix!) – and never hiding the evidence properly.

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You can’t deny the fact that age is no barrier to fabulousness. It’s a choice. Or in Tutti’s case, completely involuntary. She wouldn’t even know how to buy a pair of beige slacks.

This is a woman whose clothes are essentially an extension of her personality. She exudes warmth and fun and fabulousness. She is smile-inducing; the antidote to drearyness. And having survived a Grade-3 breast cancer diagnosis with all the fabulousness she could muster, she is incredibly inspiring to boot.

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This is a woman who does a wonderful impression of a joyous teapot.

I’ll finish today’s post today with this quote by the poet Allen Ginsberg.

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”

I think it’s very good advice to live by. Do you agree?

 

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What Tutti Wore…

… to kick cancer’s butt. For good.

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This is the outfit that says, “Breast cancer, you can go f*ck yourself.”

This shot was taken last Wednesday, when Tutti went with her gorgeous friend Ayse for her final intravenous Herceptin treatment. It marked one year since she was diagnosed with a grade-3 breast cancer (cue two operations, chemo, herceptin and radiotherapy), but she never once let it dull her sparkle, dampen her humour or dial down her ‘look’. Rather, it became her inspiration to be more fun, more fabulous and more outrageous than ever.

To quote a recent interview Tutti gave to Prevention Magazine Australia (in a feature by journalist and author, Gabrielle Tozer)

“My grade-3 breast cancer diagnosis in July last year has been a fascinating process. I’ve found reserves of courage I didn’t know I had. People are petrified of the ‘C’ word, but strangely I’m not; I want to be an icon of courage for those I love.”

And, an icon of style, creativity and craziness, evidently!

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