Welcome, my name is Dakota yet I am referred to as "KC" for Killer Chemist, which the readers have coined me. I'm not a chemist 'per se'......... nor a writer (which will be apparent very soon! The only way I could get through the writing of the Blog - without blowing up in frustration every day, was to simply 'write' as if I was 'speaking' to you ! So watch out for grammar and punctuation mix-ups - - galore! ! I have studied Cosmetic Chemistry for 2 years after my California Cosmetologist/Colorist + Color Correction Specialist education. I trained at the "Harvard of Hair Schools" - the Vidal Sassoon Academy (my 2nd career). I have colored over 10,000 heads of hair and was lucky enough to study under some of the best..... I have a love for all sides of the hair world education now-a-days. Although this was never my plan.
16 years ago I began this 2nd career in a Salon in Malibu, California....which progressed wonderfully until I slowly began having problems with my right leg. My right knee joint would bleed endlessly and the leg would become large, swollen with blood and was painful - making it impossible to do hair. It made it so hard to stand on. For a couple years they simply could not figure out what the issue was and I was getting sick & tired of them promising they would fix it with ZERO luck. Finally, after 4 surgeries (on the wrong issue) I was forced to see a specialized orthopedic who had the brains to send a biopsy to a lab ................ the tissue was biopsied & analyzed and after 5 years of misdiagnosis & improper surgeries, I finally received the true diagnosis.
I will never forget the feeling.....it was one of relief, terror & joy all at the same time. Finally - the end to the puzzle. Terror of the unknown and joy - that I was not 'crazy' as the medical field will make you feel if 'they can't figure out the problem. I was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue Cancer called Synovial Sarcoma. To put into English it is basically "joint" cancer. Tumors form in the synovial lining of any of the many joints in the body - it can metastasize to the lungs and at times is terminal. Mine happened to begin in my right knee, it has now progressed to my left knee, my left hip and they fear the spine. The problem with this cancer for me was......have you ever noticed how much a Colorist/Stylist "stands on their legs"? At the time of my diagnosis, the actual disease was thought to be super rare. They quoted me: 1 in 10,000,000 people are diagnosed, now it is down to 1 in 1000. Problems arise from illnesses of any type that are rare. All the money and research is given to common and well-known diseases, which was terribly maddening to me.
I had numerous surgeries, and radiation, but every time they would remove the tumors, at the end of a year they would be back. Between the pain, bleeding and swelling you cannot believe how uncomfortable and miserable the whole illness happens to be. After battling trying to get rid of the disease and the amount of surgeries I had to have there just was no way I could go back to work again....I tried twice and both times - it sent me back to the hospital. The more I am on my leg the more frequently it returns & the more painful the whole nightmare is. Therefore, after battling this and trying to work through it the final 5 years of my 15 year career, I finally had to throw in the towel and resign....I was going in to have a full knee replacement on a knee that had 4 months of radiation, it was a "first' for the orthopedic staff at USC and I knew everyone was nervous. I can remember thinking, "why couldn't I just get breast cancer'' like everyone else?!! Not to make light of that, but at least they had lots of experience and about every month they come out with a new successful treatment. Synovial Sarcoma had NONE! ZERO! ZIP !
Then something wonderful on one hand and horrible on the other hand, happened..........Lady Gaga announced she was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma in her hip !........ and she canceled her last tour and stole my Oncologist surgeon away from USC and asked him to come work at Cedars Sinai (hospital of the stars - there is the Elizabeth Taylor suite I stayed in once and they have many Bells and whistles there - something I could care less about. So the disease in the last 2 years has a whole lot of research, money, scientists and solutions being tested with numerous clinical trials being run as I speak. I was up for some Clinical Trials, but turned them down. Now, I have decided to try a new Chemo and it will either kill me or cure me! So say a prayer! If only a celebrity would have been diagnosed 20 years ago, I most likely would be all better by now!
This was completely devastating to me, the last hair I did made the front page of the Los Angeles Times which was for a rock star's wife for the Grammy's. Right when my career was starting to shoot towards the sky, it came crashing to an end. The timing just was so sad to me, I had spent so much time in education, training and marketing with a vision for a long successful career and it all came to an end after 3 years of trying to eliminate the problem with absolutely no success.
Now here I was ........at home.... with a year of doing nothing but listening to bad news from the world of medicine, which is about at the time the Internet began to grow. Many of you probably don't remember those days. But just 8 years ago - there were NO Blogs, hardly any stores and most large corporations did not believe the Internet would make it.
I don't know about others, but I began to take inventory of my life and what I had done with it. I had raised 2 beautiful successful daughters but they were grown and gone. In reviewing my entire life and what I had done and what I had not done, I decided it was time to leave some sort of a legacy. Something I did for nothing....... for no reason.....but to just "give back" to people I didn't know, for absolutely no reason at all.
Every month I was feeling a little weaker and would develop more & more problems - they didn't know much about my illness at that time, but I knew my body well and it was a very gradual downhill road, but currently it is very difficult to do much at all which is why I am going for the Chemo........it cannot be worse than this.
So between the 2 jobs the only thing I could think of doing is to "give back".......... to go against all my fellow hair stylists & begin opening up and teaching the women of America how to color and care for their hair in the "professional" manner. Something that was "kept from" the everyday hair Salon client. It started to hit me as to "why" that was, the way it was?? I don't know why it never occurred to me before....but it hadn't. I wasn't a writer and the information was nowhere in any book or video, the education I wanted to teach was exclusive because of my unique training and experience.
As I began writing the Blog, (which you can still read from the beginning) people from all over the USA began writing me personally and asking me if I would help them. Their hair was destroyed, colored awfully, how could they remove their old miserable color, start over with their color? They had no competent Hair Salon in their small town, and on and on.
I would help a few and they would send their friends and the whole BLOG began to snowball....never in a million years did I plan on having a store, a group and an 8 year old Blog ! I thought I would be done in a year and that would be my legacy - period............That I had written a Blog and taught America how to care for their hair in a professional manner most especially for all the people that lived in all the small towns of America that I honestly didn't realize existed prior to beginning to write this Blog!
I have 78 Topic TITLES, right now waiting for me to write on them on subjects people have asked about that I have not written about ! 78 ! and that is without even thinking about Topics I have missed ! ! I suppose this education to all of you will be endless. . . which is just fine with me.................I will keep you informed...........................
My one and only disappointment with this Blog is that I just didn't have the time to reach more people to truly GET THE WORD OUT.... Every week I will get 5-6 calls from people who have stopped some of YOU on the street and asked you what you use on your hair because it is so beautiful....and you all tell them about Killerstrands....so its working, but just slowly........I know many can be tempted to keep it a secret but don't.....because its a great feeling to "GIVE BACK"............
Please share the site with everyone you know, its information don't you think everyone should have access to? Me too! So lets both begin trying to get the word out, so all people can share the secrets to achieving for themselves : healthy shiny hair.