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I Really Miss My Beard

Eight years ago, when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I decided to let all the hairs on my face have their way. Having never been able to grow what I would call a decent beard, I was shocked when this happened:

My first time growing a beard.

Over the last eight years, I have adjusted my beard for various events and occasions, but I really enjoyed having it.

If you got this far, you might be wondering why my beard is gone. It’s kind of ironic that 8 years ago I grew a beard when I was diagnosed with cancer, and now I’ve had to lose the beard because of, yup, you guessed it—cancer. Without getting into a bunch of details, this time the cancer is located in my throat area. My wife Sheri and I have seen the surgical oncologists at UAMS, and I am not a candidate to have it surgically removed. That means the treatment will consist of chemotherapy and IMRT radiation. So starting Monday, May 16, 2022, I will have the first of 35 daily radiation treatments and the first of 7 weekly chemotherapy treatments. But why lose the beard? So my radiation mask will fit tight enough to hold my head in the correct position while I’m being cooked irradiated.

My custom fit thermoplastic radiation mask.

During the consult, the doctor told me that although this type of cancer is very curable, the treatment is no walk in the park. He actually looked right at Sheri and told her that at about week three of treatment I would turn into an “asshole”. Sheri just looked at him and shrugged her shoulders; I am still wondering how I should take her response. I’m not even going to tell you my daughter Khara’s response.

So now for the good news: the type of cancer I have has a curable rate of 80 to 90 percent. Although there will be some permanent side effects, like mild loss of hearing and I might sound a little different as I will be losing a little bit of the base of my tongue.

But the best news is that in about 8 weeks I will be growing a beard again because you know, I really miss my beard.

Life goes on, brother.

Wayne Berry

The above quote is often said by a good friend of mine, Wayne Berry, and reminds me to take everything and everyone in stride. God Bless.