Still Nothin’!

20 02 2011

Don didn't even ask me why I needed him to take a picture of the BACK of my head!

My husband Don and I have decided this matter of hair has a theme. Still nothin’, we say to each other after doing a “hair check” first thing in the morning. He’ll also sing it to me whenever he sees me doing the “little tug” (hey, maybe I should trademark that move or something) to test the strength of my roots. Still nothin’, just the way Jo Dee Messina says it in her hit, My Give a Damn is Busted.

Indeed, my gutsy moved paid off yesterday. Calling and making an appointment for an up-do earlier this week with my stylist Jennifer from The Perfect Image Salon in Belleville didn’t jinx me in the least. In fact, it saved my spot — Jennifer is one busy girl — and not only lifted my tresses, but also my spirits.

Jennifer was shocked when I walked into the salon yesterday. She knew I’d already started chemotherapy treatments.

“I saw your name on my schedule — followed by the notation: “Up-Do,” and I had to look twice,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it!”

Believe it. It’s Sunday morning and I’m closing in fast on that Tuesday if-you-haven’t-lost-your-hair-by-now-you-most-likely-won’t deadline.

The wedding was a beautiful affair, held at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, the same venue where I modeled for the Bras for a Cause Benefit September 18, 2010, and where I’ll be for this year’s Bras for a Cause, September 17, 2011.

The bride, Pamela, and I share something very important in common — we both love the color yellow. Sunshiny, bold, bright yellow. How can you look at the color yellow and be anything but happy?

Pamela has a flair for style and an artistic bent. The centerpieces were jars of all sizes and shapes, collected over the past few months after the final bit of jam or the last pickle, the labels removed, the glass scrubbed. Each was filled with a different variety of yellow flowers. I chose one that had surely once been called home by several dozen baby gherkins, filled with tiny, fragrant flowers whose name I just couldn’t put my finger on.

I set them on my nightstand and drifted off to sleep. This morning, it came to me the moment I opened my eyes. Our room was filled with an enchanting scent.

Honeysuckle. Those delicate, bell-shaped blossoms were Honeysuckle! That’s long been one of my favorite scents for body lotions and bubble bath, but I don’t recall ever having seen it in a bouquet.

I breathed in deeply. It would be just like God to create a flower that’s not only the most perfect color in the universe, but whose scent is nothing short of heavenly.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson

The Cause is Plenty of Reason for the Bras

17 09 2010

Tomorrow evening, I’m going to stand up in front of a crowd of 1,000 people at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in my bra.

Before you begin thinking that this is not reality, but perhaps an anxiety-provoked nightmare — let me explain. It’s a very special bra, it’s for a great cause, and I won’t be the only one.

Saturday night is the second annual Bras for a Cause event, featuring Art Bras modeled by breast cancer survivors. There will be 22 of us modeling the 70 Art Bras donated by local celebrities, artisans, survivors and their family and friends. Last year’s event raised a whopping $50,000 for Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit.

I was going to wear one of the bras that had already been created. Then, I had an idea.

I was sitting around one day thinking about DNA and the double helix — everyone does this from time to time, right? — when it hit me. I could design a bra featuring the double helix!

Great Idea. Now, how to get it from my head and onto a brassiere? Enter my mother-in-law, Margaret Neilson, also a breast cancer survivor and one smart cookie.

I showed her my idea on paper and within a couple of days, she had created the pattern and sewn the beads onto a bra in the shape of the Double Helix. Then, she and I added red feathers from a boa, sequins, test tubes I’d ordered from an online lab (they probably think they’ve got a new customer!), and red trim.

Wallah! One DNA double-helix bra!

But the wheels in my brain couldn’t stop turning. The bra was the beginning of a Science theme — complete with lab coat, Geek glasses (I found them in the Geek section at the Halloween store!), a five-foot-tall inflatable DNA double-helix beach toy, and music choice: Thomas Dolby’s Blinded Me With Science. Not only am I a science geek, but this theme is particularly meaningful to me as the form of breast cancer I carry is indeed in my genes — identified as the Breast Cancer 1 gene (BRCA 1).

It was an exhilirating moment when we hot-glued the last of the trim on the bra and held it up. Then, I began to worry.

I worried about how I’d look on stage. I’m not model thin. Then I happened across the words from some of last year’s models, reminding me of what I already know: It’s not about being model thin. It’s a celebration of life — beating breast cancer and coming out on the other side healthy enough to create such a bra — and model it in front of 1,000 people.

Through a silent and live auction of the bras as well as items donated by businesses and celebrities (think autographed Red Wings’ jerseys!), as well as through ticket sales (100 percent of proceeds go to the charity), I’m playing a small part in raising money to support other young people diagnosed with the disease in their 20s and 30s.

And that is plenty of reason to strut a runway in a bra!

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