People of Ipswich

People of Ipswich | Bogi

This is Bogi’s Story.

She is a woman, a sister, a friend, a lover, a wife and a mum to two adorable toddlers. She also happens to be bald. For 34 years she had hair. She was healthy, she traveled the world, met the love of her life in England before settling down to start a new chapter, a new family here in Ipswich. In July this year, her world was turned upside down. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 Aggressive Breast Cancer. The diagnosis was a complete shock, the next 24 hours of “not knowing” was devastating. She was told she’d have to suffer through 16 rounds of chemotherapy and one month of radiation that could result in being cured or, failing that, being grateful for an extra six years with her young family. The results were positive and her real journey began.

Within a week her left breast was gone, she’d been told she couldn’t have any more children and there would be further surgery to remove her right breast. In essence, everything that defined Bogi as a woman was being taken away. Three weeks after her first cycle of treatment, her hair was gone too. This wasn’t a choice. She doesn’t like it. Her children don’t either; her four year old son asks her to have showers so that the water would make her hair grow quicker, just like the plants do. Bogi knew that she would feel conscious about this part of her treatment so she bought turbans. Turbans are surprisingly hot and itchy so she has had to learn to be ok with people seeing her bald. It still upsets her though. Every time she looks in the mirror she’s reminded of her illness. Out on the streets, adults can also be as cruel as they are kind.

”If you read this story and our paths cross on the street, at the shops, in a cafe, at the park – by all means look at me, smile, say “Hi!” even! But don’t point, don’t stare, don’t ridicule me. It is hurtful – to my very core. I am not bald by choice.”

Bogi maintains such a positive outlook, not only for her young children and her husband, but for herself as well. She has a long road ahead and she’s stepping up to meet it. Community plays such an important part to individuals who are facing life changing events and connection is needed, not judgement. Maybe, by speaking more stories like this out loud, we’ll find more connection – even if it starts with smiling at someone in the street.

People of Ipswich


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