Friday, May 27, 2011

Break Out the Kleenex

This was supposed to have been posted back in April.

My dear friend and fabulous photographer Betsy Prieto had the foresight to think I might want some family photos before my hair fell out and she knew there was a short window in which we could make that happen.  Between returning home from a family vacation and her only sister's destination wedding, Betsy hopped on a plane to New York for 3 days.  All the stars aligned that week because my two other Vandy friends, Andrea Accardi and Laura Gentles, were going to be visiting as well.  Andrea had randomly chosen her dates first, then Laura's OB said this would be her last chance to travel as she was VERY pregnant and Betsy only had those few days between the family vacation and the wedding to make it happen.   As luck would have it,  it also turned out to the be the week for the taping of the pre-interview for the Today Show.

There was a bit of a slumber party feel to our home for those few days and I loved every second of it.  I have to say, I am one of those people who has fantasies of communal living.  I'm not so hot on the BIG LOVE  communal living...I want my own husband.  I do, however, imagine a Kennedy-esque compound where all my family and friends have their own little house on a huge piece of land and there is a big barn where we gather for social events.  Okay...now it's sounding a bit like cult.  I just want to be close to all the people I love.  Is that so much to ask for?

Anyway, back to the photos and my hair.  On precisely the morning of the taping of the pre-interview, I hopped in the shower and as I started to shampoo my hair it began to fall out in chunks.  My hair was rather long at the time and so as it broke free my scalp and headed south it stuck to my back.  I looked like the swamp thing.  I swore I didn't care about losing my hair but here was the moment and I began to cry.  I shouted to Betsy to grab her camera.  I don't know why I wanted to document this moment but I felt I had to be honest with myself.  This was going to be harder than I had anticipated.  She shot me coming out of the shower and combing my hair as I normally would but this time the wide tooth comb harvested innumerable locks of long wet hair.  "Why, today, of all days, do I have to deal with this?  I just want to look presentable for this interview.  Motherfucker!"

Laura came into the bathroom as I was intermittently holding tears back and letting them flow.  "I know it's tough," she said, "but have your moment and let's move on.  It's going to be a busy day."  I fucking love that girl.   It's exactly what I wanted/needed to hear.  I had said that losing my hair was not going to be a big deal for me because I had always fantasized about shaving it off at least once in my life anyway.  Okay...so it was bigger deal than I thought but we had shit to do and not a lot of time. I got on with getting ready for the day which included blowing out my hair.  It continued to be a stressful process because not only were many strands falling out but the ones that were holding on were fraying.  I did not see a good hair day in my immediate future.  Of course, there was a giant white hair that Laura noticed and tried to pluck but, wouldn't you know, that was the one was making his last stand at the Alamo and wouldn't budge. Seriously, God,  you have a sick sense of humor.

I did manage to blow it out and look "myself" that day and for the interview.  But we hadn't had enough time or energy to take any photos.  The next day Betsy insisted we take some family photos before she took me to my oncology appointment and chemo session.  Sadie was about to be picked up for day care so we had 20 minutes to make some family memories.  Even with a slight drizzle, she made it fun.

Somehow we made it home from chemo with a little time to spare before Betsy had to head to the airport.  My hair had been falling out for two days and was really driving me crazy so she suggested we just go for it.  I called my mom and cousin Lara to come over to create a bit of celebratory feeling.  We put music on it and my mom started putting my hair in multiple pony tails so I could donate the hair to Locks of Love.  The rest is best told in the pictures Betsy captured.  See the link below.  And have Kleenex ready, the soundtrack can really push you over the edge.  Thank you, Bets.  I love you!!!

Nathan & Elisa Bond from Betsy Marie Photography on Vimeo.

98 comments:

  1. Your family is inspiration for so many across the globe. I'm de-lurking - the video was gorgeous and captured the three of you beautifully. Praying continually for all of you...be blessed! Stay strong - you are amazing.

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  2. Wow. The pictures are amazing.

    I think about you and your family a lot. Stay strong, you have the whole world rooting for you.

    Love and Peace,
    Carmen

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  3. You are stunningly beautiful. I think you should always have short hair! Praying for you, your family, caregivers, and doctors. TEAM BOND!

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  4. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it and thank you for warning us about the kleenex. I think about your family so much.

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  5. you are both so beautiful, brave and strong. Your purpose is beyond your being - "you are inspirational." It takes courage to allow people into your most fragile times...it takes strength beyond who you are and now become. The photos and presentation breathtaking. Many blessing on you and your family. Jen

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  6. Betsy captured those moments with such purity. And I applaud you for being able to handle such difficult moments with grace, poise and humor. We are so lucky when we find girlfriends who can still be real with us, even when we are battling such difficulties.
    I have never met you, but I think about your family constantly, and I pray for your health.

    Thank you for sharing,

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  7. That was as beautiful as it was tearful. It is so amazing to me how people that are going through such ucky treatments still look great. Such a kicker. Not that you should look bad, but people just have the perception that if someone is sick, they should look like it. And that is typically not the case. Such amazing photos of your beautiful family. Sadie is just precious. And you are amazing and inspirational for putting the pics of losing your hair on here for everyone to see. I am sure it was not easy, but boy did you make it look easy peasy. Good luck, I hope you both feel better and soon!! And love the short hair! Lisa

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  8. Elisa, you're beautiful with or without the hair. And what fantastic family photos! May you have many, many years to enjoy each other. This old Vandy friend thinks about you guys all the time. Hug that baby every minute. And hold on. -Beth W.

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  9. I just saw the amazing transformation take place, and if possible you became even more beautiful as you shed your locks of love! You are positively radiant and stunning by the end of the shoot! What a treasure those photos will be!

    I cut my hair short days before I started chemo only to find out I was stage IV and would not be given the drugs that lead to hair loss- the joke was on me!! I wear it proudly now! Hugs to you!

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  10. This is a testament to your strength and courage and ability to share with the world your story at it's most vulnerable time. I am holding you and Nathan and your entire family in the light. I hope you are home soon with your family where you belong.

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  11. You are a rock, and Betsy is amazingly talented. I always wondered how Dan had such beautiful family photographs on his Facebook page -- now I understand. I've been praying hard for you and your husband. Thinking of you.

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  12. Grace, courage and beauty! Amazing, moving, words cannot touch what these pictures reveal. Thank you, elisa, for your determination, your will, your self.

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  13. this so reminds me of the jewish celebration of a young man's upshernish....where a new journey begins...one of learning, growing, and sharing what the Creator of the universe bestows on the celebrant! God's continued blessings...of comfort, of healing and of growth!

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  14. You look beautiful, hair or no hair. When I lost mine it wasn't until it came back in that I realized how unimportant it is....it's one's spirit that people see, not their hair. Praying for you all from Ohio!

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  15. You are beautiful!! I love your friends advice, "have your moment and move on" about your hair, some sound advice! Praying for you from Northern California! <3

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  16. You are so brave to allow such an intimate look into your private struggle. I think of your little family often and root for you always.
    Love from Oregon

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  17. Good God. You are beautiful and gracious and still thinking of others. Sinead O'Conner looked pretty good semi-hair free, but you look even better. Millions are pulling for your family from near and far. Love the girlfriends circling the wagon too. XOXO

    Beth in Texas

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  18. You are stunning and also, an effin rock star.
    As always, thank you, for sharing yourself with us. We are all better for it.

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  19. What an amazing video with such courage, strength, beauty and love. Thanks for sharing your story, it is truly amazing and heart-wrenching. You are all so strong!
    You and Nathan and your entire family and friends will be in my prayers. May God give you peace, wisdom and strength.

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  20. i said to myself that shaving my head would just be a thing...and i wouldn't let it bother me. i sobbed. it was very hard. i had a friend come with me who was also rocked by what an experience it was. however, the woman wanted to give me a super short cut and i, the queen of all or nothing, had her shave it all off. thanks for posting this. it's something hard to get through and a big emotional marker but the building up a better health and life and people you love around you is a million times more important. stay strong.

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  21. You are such a beauty, your grace shines through. You are all in my prayers, the photography brought to life every moment of that experience and made it beautiful. Even in a time when you are going through so much you were unselfish and donated you hair. Someone above said you are a rock! I agree, what an example you are to your precious angel baby Sadie!

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  22. W O W ~ THANK YOU for the courage in sharing this journey with the world!!! The pictures are priceless, they show the tremendous love you have for each other, your daughter (who is very very cute) and for everyone around you. I must agree with a previous post, you do look good with short hair!!

    You both are an inspiration on how to handle what life throws in ones direction. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family are coming from Wyoming, for continued courage through your journey. May GOD bless you and keep you safe through all these days.

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  23. You & your family are beautiful inside & out. Praying & rooting for you!

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  24. Elisa, I just want to say that not a day goes by that you, your husband, daughter and family aren't in my thoughts. I say a prayer for you all everyday! Maybe one day a few ex-TCS'ers can come by and visit with you!

    With all my love,

    Linda (TCS)

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  25. Although your long hair was nice, you look really great with short hair too! I am praying for your family and your support team to help get you all through this. As a Mother of a 2 year old daughter who is a cancer survivor you and your family are definitely in my prayers. All the way from Arlington,TX. Tesha Lewis

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  26. Elisa u amaze me. You def don't need hair to be beautiful. U have the mosting stunning eyes and I can see ur inner beauty through them. The pics of u and nathan are precious. I love the video. Praying for all of u.

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  27. Beautiful! I think about your family all the time. All my best!

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  28. The pictures are amazing!! Love the rainboots on you two!

    You are stunning with short hair - stunning!! It sucks that cancer is what pushed the new hairdo, but you shine from the inside out!

    Thinking about and praying for your family!

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  29. Elisa, your short hair only magnifies your beauty, as your soft features are accentuated. But your beauty, and your family's beauty is in how you are opening your life to strangers all around the globe (all the way to Israel) who are finding the three of you inspirational.
    Praying that you and Nathan grow old and in love together.

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  30. The video was beautiful, touching, uplifting and inspiring. My heart goes out to your family.
    Strange that you, a complete stranger, can touch my life so deeply.
    You are probably aware that there are many people with you on your journey, you are not alone.
    Stay strong. You are in my thoughts and I wish nothing but the best for you all.

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  31. You are beautiful with or without hair. And instead of "wasting" your hair, you are putting it to good use. May God heal both you and your husband. Praying for you!

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  32. Wow, you look GREAT with short hair! {{{{HUGS}}}}
    We're all sending you thoughts of love.

    Roberta in California

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  33. You are so beautiful Elisa. Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing this intimate moment with so many. It feels nosy but helps me, and all of my friends who I've shared your story with, know how to keep you, Nathan, and Sadie in our thoughts and prayers each and everyday. Big prayers that your fighting spirit I see in these pictures stays strong.

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  34. First, can we talk about the perfection that is your daughter?! She's gorgeous, and so are you! I notice that many of the commenters have used the word "stunning," and that's exactly what I was thinking too. You are a rare beauty, not to mention a gifted writer. I'm not a very religious person, but I've been praying for you and your husband since I heard about your illnesses. Wishing you both much love and strength.

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  35. Very moving... thank you for sharing such an intimate, poignant moment. As always, the three of you are in my thoughts and prayers. God bless.

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  36. your generosity of spirit in sharing your lives is helping more people than you know. God bless and keep the three of you always. With love and prayers from Wisconsin.

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  37. I used to spend a lot of time complaining about little things. But seeing you literally ATTACK cancer gives me so much confidence and hope and makes me realize how wonderful life is and how we should treat every day as gift. I want you to please never lose hope. I think of you all the time. I am a new yorker also and will always be rooting for you. I believe you are going to make it. People have remissions that can last years and years. Praying and believing that you have a very real shot.

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  38. shaving your head is just NOT fun. i know, i had to do it too. cried my eyes out. but i'm finishing up my last radiation treatment next friday, and my hair is growing back, and you know what? i like it short. you look beautiful- you don't need hair to see inner beauty!! sending strength your way....

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  39. You're gorgeous! Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go tell everyone I know to come read and watch this, and get some tissues.

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  40. Beyond beautiful. Everything about it. xoxoxo

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  41. I've never met Nathan or you, Elisa, (I know of you through Brooke and Jeff Stortz), but you are constantly on my mind every day - often several times a day. A breast cancer survivor myself, with a son just about Sadie's age (I was pregnant with him when diagnosed) these pictures bring back so many memories for me. I am so sorry you have been having a rough(er than usual) time this week. I'm sending extra strong thoughts of love and wellness to you. Lots of love from Colorado coming your way... Love Amy, Brian, Drew and Ty McDowell

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  42. though we've never met, you have been on my mind quite often since the today show, and just today I had a conscious thought 'how are the bonds doing?' I am in my car as a passenger for several hours and pulled up this blog. You go girl! I love your raw honesty and am so grateful for reasons like these where a perfect stranger can connect in your profound moments because of our technology. For this reason, I will keep the facebook account! I hope a book and movie and anything else that brings your family financial peace and teaches others about true honesty is in thee works...i will go on a one woman mission to make sure everyone I know takes a moment to pause, learn and share the universal goodness that can come from this horrific challenge to your family. God bless you !! Your daughter is truly lucky.

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  43. OMG your beautiful, that video was beautiful, your daughter is gorgeous and your hubby is beautiful too! Thank you for sharing. WOW...I mean WOW...very touching, very moving and most of all your are such a beautiful girl! May God Bless you, your hubby, your daughter and your family tremendously!!!

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  44. The long and short of it is, you are a very brave woman. such a moving and intimate portrait of you and the circle of love around you. Sadie is such a sweet little treasure.

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  45. You are amazing! I also think of you often and am praying for your family. Sadie is just precious. Thank you for sharing and stay strong!

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  46. You are two of the most remarkable people! My husband and I have been following your blog since we saw you on the Today show. Your family has captured our hearts. We think of you often and you are ALWAYS in our prayers. Even though we have never met you have taught us one of life's biggest lessons, don't sweat the small stuff! Thank you for being such an inspiration! WE ARE ROOTING FOR YOU!!!!

    Also, you look absolutely beautiful hair or no hair, so don't ever worry about that!

    xoxo,
    Kendra, Jeff and Ella!

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  47. What an absolutely amazing video. The family pictures are priceless. Even though it is not ideal to have to shave your head, it is so wonderful that you have documentation of a time that you can look back on and be proud of your bravery (not that you can't now!) By the way, you look beautiful:) Always thinking of you and your family. You have a great friend who captured some very special moments.

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  48. that was beautiful...I am speechless

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  49. How beautiful! Kleenex were definitely needed. Sending out love, prayers, and support from Pittsburgh, PA. <3 God bless!

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  50. You and your family are amazing, beautiful people. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday!

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  51. If only tears could heal you...you warned me to have a Kleenex...you are a beautiful, beautiful person, inside and out. I can't believe how much I care for someone I'll never meet. I want to scoop up your family and run away with you, away from the pain, the fear, the uncertainty.

    Sending you love and light.

    Connie

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  52. You are a beautiful strong family and you will all persevere. Beautiful post!

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  53. I am writing you from Geneva and I read you always! You are such a beautiful family, and I think constantly of you! Elisa, YOU ARE GORGEOUS and your new coiffure too! Stay strong. Sending you lots of love and thoughts! Isabelle

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  54. Wow, what a strong, loving, amazing, lovely woman you are. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. The loss of all that hair just lets us see your lovely eyes...hair or no, love shines through you and your family in an enviable way.

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  55. You are AMAZING and beautiful. Your family is beautiful and so strong. I think about your family often and see many parallels with my family. We are all praying and rooting for you. Stay strong.

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  56. What gorgeous pictures, and your gorgeous spirit comes right through the video. You have a beautiful family. Thinking of all of you.

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  57. you are stunning beyond your physical appearance elisa. thank you for being so inspiring. you and nathan are in my thoughts constantly.

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  58. We carry you on our prayers. My 2 little boys and i pray for your recovery. You loso stunning with short hair! I used to live in the building on front of your apartment in bay rige and we just moved to CT. I wish i was coser to be of any help. In the meantime, we send our prayers and love to you, Nathan and Sadie

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  59. From one of your Vandy family

    My wife and I keep you and your husband and your entire family in our thoughts and prayers each and every day.

    Ken and Caroline Sanney

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  60. I think about you all the time and I pray that you get well soon. Very moving pictures, and you are beautiful with your short hair! Sending love your way...

    Ryan

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  61. What an incredible family. It is an honor to share in your story. Your daughter is a treasure and is the luckiest girl alive to have you as parents. You are more beautiful now than ever, in all ways... Sending you all love.

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  62. Prayers and love from New Zealand...Kia Ka Kaha, Kia Kaha,Kia Kaha...stay strong...

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  63. Exquisite photos of an exquisite lady. You were right about the song... and the kleenex.

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  64. An amazing montage, something you can look back on a long long time from now. A good friend of mine is a breast cancer survivor and she got so many compliments on the short hair she stuck with it. Prayers for a speedy recovery for you both.

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  65. You're still beautiful to me.





    Barbara

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  66. beautiful photos <3

    wishing you all the best***

    hugs from portugal!

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  67. What an incredibly beautiful video. I love that the joy of your family shines through your eyes, all three of you!

    Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. It is a blessing.


    kimi

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  68. I am the mother of a son who has cancer. Thank you for sharing the light of this moment---giving to others in your darkest hours.

    Sending you my love and a big hug to you all.

    May you feel the love lifting you up!

    Love,
    Tracy
    Boulder, CO

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  69. I had an elective mastectomy a few days ago as my family history for breast cancer is high and my younger sister passed away on Feb. 14, 2011 of breast cancer. Young women please do self breast checks, screening devices do not always work on young tata's dense breasts. The "news" health message on the first mammogram is age 40, that is bullshit. Know your personal hereditary risks and know the landscape of your breasts. I can't watch Elisa's family video yet, I know the video is too precious for words.

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  70. Incredible video. You have such an arresting and compelling face, who needs hair? LOL! Well done Elise!

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  71. Truly a sensitive and sweet video of a beautiful family. Sadie is absolutely such a gorgeous little girl, but so are her parents. I'm so sorry you both are having to go through all this pain. Elisa, I don't know if this helps, or not, but you look beautiful without hair. It really brings out your wonderful bone structure and very expressive eyes (as Karyn wrote, "You have such an arresting and compelling face." She is so right about that. Thank you for sharing this with us, too - the strangers who are prying into your lives. Betsy did a beautiful job with the photography and I'm so glad you have strong and loyal friends like Laura & Andrea. Stay strong. Thinking of you every single day. Love, Vicki & Blazer, the mini poodle (my best friend)

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  72. What a beautiful video. It did bring me to tears. The music was extraordinary and Sadie is just adorable. The expressions on her face are priceless! It was so nice that you donated your hair to Locks of Love also. You will get better and stronger and your lovely locks will grow back. I'm praying that will happen and the both of you will be renewed and healthy and will raise Sadie to become a lovely woman just like her mom.

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  73. Beautiful! Thank You for sharing that with all of us!! You and your family are always in my thoughts and prayers!

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  74. Thank you for sharing what so many of us can't even imagine having to go through. You have such strength that even at your weakest times you are an inspiration.

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  75. You look like Audrey Hepburn with short hair! Those eyes! That bone structure! And it seems you have her grace, too. Wishing you and your husband two speedy, complete, and uneventful recoveries.

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  76. Beautiful, just beautiful. The video and you are just beautiful. God bless you and your family! You are so amazing.

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  77. Thank you, for your openness and your honesty. You are amazingly beautiful inside and out. My prayers and thoughts are with your family.

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  78. Sending you hugs and kisses and all the best this world has to offer.
    You are beautiful!
    Liliana

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  79. Such amazing photos of an amazing family. Keep up your strong spirit. You have many close to you that are loving you all & helping you out. Stay strong. You are fighting a tough fight.

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  80. Elisa, you are so courageous. The pictures are beautiful and show so much love and strength. The last picture of you with really short hair is gorgeous. Praying for you and your family. Stay strong. Keep fighting!

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  81. Amazing video ~ You are such a beautiful woman and my husband and I are praying for you, your husband, and your daughter half way around the world in S. Korea. Stay Strong!

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  82. Wow. You need to do another shoot asap because you are just as beautiful with short hair. Must seem strange having strangers from across the world telling you how beautiful you are. But seriously... on your way to chemo... you are truly an inspiration and so generous to share your experience.

    Aly in TN

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  83. Nothing can lessen beauty like yours. Long hair, short hair, no hair -- that lovely face is all.

    Thank you for letting us see that. I have breast cancer too. I'm older, but it's a hard diagnosis nonetheless. Reading your words here has helped buoy my courage.

    You and your wonderful family are in my thoughts and prayers every day.

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  84. Elisa, you are one fierce mama! You look fantastic and your strong spirit shines in every photograph.

    I wish I knew you IRL and maybe in twenty years, or thirty, or more (who knows, I'm a little older than you!) we'll meet and not even realize it. But I'll certainly walk away thinking that is one very cool woman.

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  85. You look amazing with short hair and your family is gorgeous. Stay strong and remember that no matter where you are...God is there and loving you all more than ever. God Bless.

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  86. You look awesome with short hair if that's any consolation. :-)

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  87. Fabulous photos, you look great with short hair, which is important. I finished chemo in November and still barely have enough to run my fingers through. Hopefully your scalp is more cooperative!

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  88. you look beautiful with short hair. when your daughter is older and sees this video she will see just how strong you were during this really shitty time. My thoughts are with you and your family for a positive outcome

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  89. You look Fantastsic!! So much better than I did when they shaved my head. I applaude you and your beautiful family. Well done.

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  90. So So Beautiful. God Bless you and your precious family.

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  91. Thank you for sharing the photos. Your family is amazing beyond words. You look just like Kate Walsh, your big gorgeous eyes tell so much. Your bravery is something wonderful to behold. Praying for your family.

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  92. You are beautiful. What a beautiful mama. I'm in awe of your strength, your incredible family. Thinking of you all always.

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  93. You are beautiful. And your spirit is amazing.

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