Updated: Nov 10
"What makes you beautiful? When you think about beauty, what things do you think about? Keep those in mind while reading this message.
Imagine yourself on vacation with your friends – living your best life. Surrounded by people who love and care about you. And people who genuinely know how to have a good time. Now imagine pain so intense you can hardly get out of bed. What could possibly be wrong with me? No pre-existing health concerns. I must have drunk too much booze yesterday or maybe I didn’t eat the best foods I should have. Fast forward a day, and you’re home, getting off the plane and going directly to the emergency room. Only for doctors to give you a shot for pain and to be back in that same pain 12 hours later. Fast forward several days and still no answers. Finally, the pain is so bad you're back in the emergency room, getting the strongest pain medication via IV and unable to manage the pain at home anymore. This is where the doctors truly began to dig. Tell me why it took that to get more answers? I doctored for 3 months before getting a cancer diagnosis. 3 MONTHS! Three months of not realizing what was happening inside my body. Three months of questions no one could answer. A very long three months! A time that will forever haunt me.
Now you’re meeting with an oncologist and arranging treatment. The doctor holds your hand and apologizes. It's terminal (stage 4), and life expectancy is 1-2 years. Absolutely disheartening news. How do I tell my family? What does this mean for my job? What about school? How could this possibly be happening to me? What does all of this mean? Everyone has so much to say but it's so hard to truly hear. The grieving process hit me like a train. As someone who has always loved life, how can I make this positive? Are there positive aspects to this journey? I'm mad. I'm sad. I'm frustrated. I'm hurting. Am I dying?
Ready for the good part? Something inside of me said this happened for a reason. I’m 30 years old, and I’ve always tried to bring love to all those encountered. How can I make this journey inspiring? And then it hit me. This happened because I was meant to help others. No matter your struggles, anyone can relate to this tragedy. Does everyone have to have cancer to relate to my story? Absolutely not. What’s more beautiful than that? So I will forever share my story. Loud and proud!
Do you have those items in your mind that you thought were beauty? Picture them. Let them sink in a bit. For me, that was always my long, luxurious hair, deep olive skin tone, and an outfit that was always on point. What happens when those things are taken away? Are you still beautiful? Cancer has taken away several features that I’ve always considered beautiful. My long, luxurious hair – gone. My eyebrows/eyelashes – gone. My deep olive skin tone – gone. In a sense, I lost things that I thought were “me.” It took me a while to accept the person that was looking back at me in the mirror. Now that some time has passed, I’ve realized none of those things are what make me beautiful. My courageousness to stand up to cancer and continue to fight as hard as I can… that’s beautiful! My bold and vibrant bald head... that’s beautiful! The way I continue to go through life as selflessly as I possibly can… that’s beautiful! My ability to love as pure as I can… that’s beautiful. My support system to stand up and fight alongside me... that’s beautiful! It still pains me to look in the mirror and see what my cancer has done. But every time I feel that way, I refresh my memory that beauty is not on the surface. As cliché as it is, beauty is truly what is on the inside. So next time you’re having a bad hair day, think about me. I will always see someone who is more than their hair. Next time that outfit doesn’t fit as perfectly as it once did, think about me. I will always see you. The real you. The absolutely stunning gorgeous human that you are because none of that truly makes you beautiful. I see you, babe. You got this. There is nothing you cannot do!" - Hailey Crosswhite | November 7th, 2023 It was an absolute honor to celebrate Hailey in the studio. She exudes beauty, power, and worthiness. Though her journey is ongoing, she approaches it with an incredibly positive mindset. Cancer has not dimmed her light. Tonya Olson Beauty Marks Boudoir & Portrait Studio If you feel moved to send love and support to Hailey, you can do so by visiting her GoFundMe page and flood the 'words of support' section with your well wishes. Those wishing to provide monetary support can also use Cash App $Hailey0369 or Venmo Hailey-Crosswhite .