For those of you not caught up on the story of what the heck has been going on, I had a tumor that ended up being cancer. Two surgeries later, I will begin chemo and radiation therapy. If you missed the article, it's here for your reading enjoyment.

My radiation therapy will be here in Lake Charles. It will be five days a week, Monday through Friday. Chemo will be done at Baton Rouge General once a week. Today was the day that I got fitted for my radiation mask. It's a piece of thermal plastic that the techs lay over your face in order to hold your head in place during the radiation procedures. It's heated up to 165 degrees and then placed over the patient's face to let cool and harden. It honestly felt like a hot towel you'd get from the barbershop. As it cooled, it would get tighter and tighter. That part was a bit freaky, but all in all, it wasn't that bad. Each day I show up for radiation, I'll be on the table with this mask on to make sure my head is in the right position each time so the radiation machine can hit the right spots.


The mask has to fit super tight against my face to keep it in the right spot. The technician doing the mask fitting had to break the news to me. (the big reveal is at the bottom)

So I don't think the beard can stay for this. I'd feel better about the accuracy if it was gone.

I thought being told "you have cancer" was the worst thing I had ever been told. Nope, I was wrong.

Well, I can trim it up a bit if that helps.

That, of course, was not the answer he was looking for. I realized I'd rather lose a beard than, you know, die of cancer, so he handed me some clippers to head off to the bathroom.

Let's try maybe Kenny Loggins short and see where that gets us.

The man had jokes.

I won't lie to you, yes, I cried like a little kid. I started growing my beard out 5 years ago after leaving the casino. It was my rebel side coming out for letting it get so long. It's always been comforting and has become my trademark. Now, it was about to get chopped and thrown in a trash can. I thought the MRI machine was loud, those surgical clippers were certainly way more deafening as they went to work.

As I trimmed away, I said to myself.

Screw Loggins, we are going with Kenny Rogers

So I neatened it up, looked one more time at the towel, and threw the poor homeless beard in the trash. I walked out wiping my eyes, yes I am an emotional mess at times, and one nurse was standing there.

I like it, it looks great!

I don't care if she was lying, I needed to hear it. The tech, John, was in there and I think we had an impromptu moment of silence and he spoke.

On second thought, I don't think you needed to cut it that short.

John has jokes, we will get along just fine for the next 5-6 weeks.

So how does it look? It's slowly growing on me. I feel like I now look like a crossbreed of Rip Wheeler in Yellowstone and Kenny Rogers. What do you think?

Kenny Rogers
Getty Images




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