Story by Rachel Rucker
Photography by Beth Bouknight
When you first glance at Elaine Senn and see the happiness that radiates from her eyes, you would never know that less than a year ago, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Like most people, Elaine was in complete shock. A die-hard runner, she said she has always stayed moving, fit and in her mind, healthy. Like many cancers, unfortunately, it has nothing to do with consciously maintaining your physical health. According to the Mayo Clinic, leukemia is cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the lymphatic system and your body’s bone marrow. While most cases are found in children, if an adult is diagnosed, the treatment must be extremely aggressive for any chance of survival. Elaine was told that her only chance of living was to undergo a stem-cell transplant, in which all of her own body’s bone marrow is replaced with healthy stem cells, which hopefully, eventually develop into a new bone marrow. Elaine said the doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina test siblings first, hoping that one will be a fairly close match to your own blood, though it’s not always guaranteed. Elaine’s sister, Julie, was a 100 percent match.
After several intense days of chemotherapy, a transplant, 30 days in the hospital and 100 days staying close to MUSC, Elaine was finally able to go home. “Every doctor that I’ve seen has told me that they’ve never had a patient with leukemia not come back after their initial treatment with complications. I’m the first,” Elaine said. Since then, Elaine has slowly made her way back to living her normal, healthy life. She will run her first 10K since her diagnosis in January at Disney’s Epcot in Orlando, Fla., which coincidentally benefits leukemia and lymphoma research.
Now that she is well on her way to a full recovery, Elaine said it’s a joke within her family that she has the same DNA as her sister. “When I came home from staying in Charleston, my husband put up a banner that read ‘Welcome Home Julaine!’ That’s what they call me now. I’m half Julie, half Elaine.”
What’s most amazing is the fresh, positive outlook that Elaine not only has now, but also maintained throughout the entire process. She said she owes it all to her faith in Christ, as well as all the love and positive thinking of her family, friends and all the people she may not even know who have loved her through prayer. “This is definitely the toughest marathon I’ll ever run. But I know now that each day truly is a gift. Each day is a new day of hope,” Elaine said.
The Fresh Approach:
Lime Lite Salon in Beaufort was the perfect place for Elaine to complete her new outlook on life, with a fresh new look. Elaine said her hair just began to grow back a few months ago from the chemo; so she hasn’t had much of a chance to figure out how she wanted to style it. After having long hair for most of her life, Elaine said it’s difficult to think she should keep it short. Luckily, she became a little more convinced after Lime Lite stylist, Miranda Rodriguez, worked a little of her magic.
Miranda began with a Davines Natural Tech Conditioning Treatment followed by the Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner, which she said would give Elaine’s hair a little more of the shine it was lacking from the re-growth process. Trying not to cut too much, Miranda said the main focus was to give Elaine a style. With just a dab of product, Elaine’s hair was transformed into a modern-day pixie cut. Not only did she look totally fresh and contemporary, but everyone agreed that the shorter style made her look 10 years younger.
Makeup consisted of Temptu Airbrush foundation along with a MAC color palette for the eyes and cheeks. “I’ve always believed in a bright lip. It just makes your whole face pop,” Elaine said. With a hint of rosy pink on her lips and cheeks, Elaine was one step closer to her new look.
Next stop was Grace & Glory, which is conveniently just around the corner from Lime Lite. Keeping with our good luck, the outfit was as easy as love-at-first-dress. Elaine slipped on a blue sweater dress, chunky silver hoops and silver stacked bangles. From her head to her toes, she looked dynamite. Her survivor soul is going to bring so much hope into the world; and now she’s going to be a brand new fashionista to boot.
Book Your Own Style Takeover:
Hair and Makeup: Special thanks to the truly talented Miranda Rodriguez and staff at Lime Lite Salon at 612 Carteret St. in downtown Beaufort. To schedule an appointment, please call Sherry at 843.379.5463.
Clothing: Another thank you to the ladies at Grace & Glory for their ever and always stylish tips and tricks. Grace & Glory is at 1029 Boundary St. in downtown Beaufort. For more information, call 843.521.4050.