WAXHAW – A day after undergoing an intense round of chemotherapy, Jody Cummings Sitton arrived June 29 at Fuzion Hair Design to find a surprise waiting for her.
Sitton, who is one of the co-founders and stylists at Fuzion, was given a copy of the Union County Weekly. She saw that readers chose her as the Best Stylist and Fuzion as the Best Hair Salon in Union County.
“I thought, ‘That’s cool and that will cheer you up,’” Sitton said July 10, a day after undergoing another round of chemo and just minutes after cutting a customer’s hair.
If not for Sitton’s bald head, it would be difficult to see that she is battling breast cancer. But Sitton is refusing to let cancer keep her down.
“I love my job,” Sitton said. “There are certain days that I can’t work, but I am here as much as I can be.”
“She is amazing,” said Fuzion stylist Holly Dorman.
This is Sitton’s second fight with breast cancer. She was first diagnosed with the disease almost five years ago.
“The type of cancer that I had then was an aggressive type of cancer, and there was a chance that it would come back,” Sitton said.
It did this past April and Sitton immediately started an aggressive treatment program that she hopes will be over around Christmas.
“I will do radiation in the morning and come to work and get everybody ready for the holidays,” Sitton predicted.
Sitton started her current treatments back in May with several months of intense chemotherapy. When that is over, Sitton will undergo surgery, followed by radiation treatments. More chemo could come after that.
“My oncologist now says I am in the 1 percent that ends up with breast cancer that has no breasts,” Sitton said. “I had a localized recurrence, which is good but it is an aggressive cancer. My oncologist says instead of hitting it with a laser, we are lobbing a grenade at it. The chemo is pretty intense. But I am blessed that this has not metastasized.”
Sitton is in the midst of 12 rounds of weekly chemo and she has that treatment every Monday. She picked Monday because Fuzion is closed and that way she won’t miss a day at the salon.
“I’m just trying to work around that,” Sitton said. “I’m trying to juggle work and life.”
Sitton, Denice Polemides and Anne Wagner opened Fuzion in 2006 after working together at a salon in Weddington. Polemides’ family bought the building, which used to be a service station, and they remodeled the property into several different retail spots. Fuzion occupies one of those spots.
“Waxhaw was very different then,” Sitton said. “It was a lot smaller, and we saw a lot of things come and go.”
Many of their clients from Weddington followed them to Waxhaw. With time and hard work, Fuzion grew.
“It was just the three of us and then we brought in a fourth employee and then a fifth,” Sitton said. “It stayed at four or five for a while but now we are up to 11 stylists and two receptionists. We have grown a lot and the town has grown a lot.”
It is the support from co-workers, clients, friends and family, which includes her two daughters – 10-year-old Zoie and 7-year-old Skyler – that helps keep Sitton going.
“Jody is a one-of-a-kind,” Wagner said. “It is amazing how positive she has been through all of this. She is an inspiration to all of us. We are there for her no matter what. We are family.”
Sitton said she feels blessed from the huge outpouring of support.
“I’m lucky to have a job where they cannot fire me,” Sitton said with a laugh. “All the stylists here have been amazing. There have been mornings I have called in here and said, ‘I can’t stand upright.’ The community has been amazing. My clients have been amazing. I have received lots of letters of support. People are making meals. I am blessed with all off the support.
“We are dealing with it. We will get through this and next year will be a better year.”