Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

November 11, 2013

Hair locks have plenty of love

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — These locks are full of love as a Pauls Valley teenager has gone to the clean shaven head look as a way to honor her mother.

Nineteen-year-old Cassie Mikel made the choice to have her hair cut off on Friday with all of it being donated to a good cause — Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for cancer patients.

Cassie decided to take the big plunge and chop off her long flowing hair as a way of honoring mom, who is Melissa Mikel.

Just a few weeks ago Melissa was diagnosed with a brain tumor as treatments have resulted in her losing her own hair. That’s when her daughter decided to offer up her own locks.

“I love it,” Cassie said moments after her head was shaven. “I love my mom. I made a promise I intended to keep.”

Both of Cassie’s parents think it’s an amazing thing that she’s done.

“I like the fact she did it on her own,” Melissa said.

“It really blows me away,” said Cassie’s father, Wayne.

“We didn’t really expect her to do this,” he said. “I never thought any teenager would make this offer and then stand good on the offer.”

According to Wayne, the health of his wife goes back even further when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

“This is on top of the MS she’s had for several years,” he said. “She’s been in a wheelchair for nearly two years and has no movement in her left leg.”

Then in early September they went to get Melissa’s hair done. That was followed by a stop in a local donut shop.

While there she suffered a seizure and was eventually taken to an Oklahoma City hospital. That’s when they learned the bad news as a tumor was found in Melissa’s brain.

“She had the worst type of brain tumor you could have,” Wayne said.

“It was one of those types you can’t go in there and take out. It had attached itself to the brain cells. So if you take the tumor out you’re also taking healthy brain cells out.”

Doctors concluded the tumor was not operable as Melissa was given maybe another few months to live.

Her life expectancy has since then gone up a bit as Melissa has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Because of the treatments she did start to lose her hair, which prompted Cassie to get an idea on showing her support for a mother she stays home to care for.

“Cassie said ‘mom, if you lose your hair than I’m going to shave my head,” Wayne added.

Since the diagnosis a few weeks ago Wayne has been going online to research and learn more about the health battle his wife is now facing.

He says a small percentage of patients with this type of brain tumor have a life expectancy as long as five years and even fewer wind up having what he describes as a normal life span.

Naturally Wayne hopes his wife winds up falling into that category.

“We’ve been married 22 years and I would like her to live another 22 years,” he said.