A woman who lost her hair to stage four cancer at just 25 had a sun tattooed on her head as a “f*ck you” to the disease.
Madison Baloy was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, a type of cancer that forms in the glandular tissue, in March 2023 after experiencing stomach aches for a year.
The former kinder garden teacher was at a music concert with her friends in June 2022 when she started experiencing stomach aches.
Over the course of 2022, she lost 60lbs and her tummy pain become more consistent, but she didn’t think anything of it.
Madison was teaching in her classroom when she started feeling nauseous and called in the school nurse who told her to go to the emergency room.
Madison was told she might have cancer and underwent a CT scan at, HCA Florida Brandon Hospital, Florida, which revealed a cluster tumours pushing down on her large intestine, causing the stomach aches.
After an emergency surgery and a biopsy in February 2023, Madison was diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma cancer in March 2023.
Her cancer can be managed but not cured so she will be living with the disease for the rest of her life.
In what she describes as a “f*ck you” to the disease, Madison got a sun tattoo on her head – after losing her hair to the disease.
The tattoo took an hour to complete with Madison saying it wasn’t painful.
Madison, a former kinder garden teacher who had to give up work due to her illness, from Tampa, Florida, US, said: “Some of my attitude towards cancer is probably naivety. Being 25 and not being able to come to terms with being terminal.
“In America, we idolise hustle culture and I was heavily into that culture and prioritised being the best teacher I could.
“My diagnosis had made me idolise things differently.
“When I first started losing weight, I thought it was god answering my prayers.
“I thought the universe was giving me the perfect body – but I was dying and none of us knew.
“When I got diagnosed my family were in the hospital room with me, I had a jokey reaction and said my doctor should be paid for giving people bad news.
“I said I had no idea why everyone was crying as I would get the coolest head tattoo ever after losing her hair to the disease.
“I am in a ‘f*ck it’ mentality. Honestly, what is the worst thing that is going to happen?”
Madison was at Bonnaroo Music Festival, in Manchester, Tennessee, US, in June 2022, when she started feeling unwell.
While dancing along to Stevie Nicks with her friends, Madison started experiencing stomach aches but put it down to dehydration and being out in the sun all day.
After the festival had finished, Madison continued to experience pain in her stomach, which would come in bursts, either lasting a few seconds or a few minutes, but didn’t think anything of it.
Madison said: “Over the course of a year, I lost around 50 to 60lbs and had pretty consistent stomach aches.
“During President’s Day weekend, my stomach aches were there, and I started getting nauseous.
“I went back into school on Tuesday and tried to push through but, on Wednesday I got sick and had to call the school nurse who told me to go to urgent care.”
When Madison arrived at Express Care of Tampa Bay medical centre, a nurse told her her stomach aches could be due to cancer and told her to go to the emergency room.
After arriving at HCA Florida Brandon Hospital, Florida, Madison was put into a wheelchair and examined.
Her CT scan revealed a cluster of tumours pushing down on her large intestine, causing stomach aches.
Just 48 hours later, on February 24, 2023, surgeons performed emergency surgery and did a biopsy which revealed Madison had stage four cancer and she spent 10 days in the hospital recovering.
Madison said: “They found that I had adenocarcinoma cancer – cancer that forms in the glandular tissue – and found it was spreading around my body.
“The biggest struggle has been my body image because I was happy and healthy.
“I was 25 years old – I was in my prime, I was teaching, making good money, going out with my friends – I felt amazing.
“Then it all flipped and now I have no hair and all these scars on my stomach from the surgery.”
Due to the nature of her cancer and how advanced it is, Madison will never be considered cancer-free, but her cancer can be managed.
She said: “Now, I am collaborating with two cancer centres in Florida.
“My primary cancer clinic is Florida Cancer Specialists, where I have a family of oncology people who take such amazing care of me.
“We also work with Moffitt Cancer Center for additional testing and second opinions.
“I will have this forever – the best outcome long term is that I will be able to live and take a pill every day and just got in for regular appointments.
“It is hard, it is super hard. The hardest part is the reality shift I have had but it hasn’t got me down as much as I thought it would.
“I am doing chemotherapy every three weeks and it has been working in the sense that it’s keeping my cancer at bay.”
When she received her diagnosis, Madison was surrounded by her family and decided to make light of the situation.
“When I got my diagnosis, my family was with me, and I thought I was going to be told I had Crohn’s disease.
“My surgeon comes in – wearing his street clothes – and I started joking that he was handsome.
“He is looking very serious, and he comes to sit on the edge of the bed, and I told him to buy me dinner first.
“He then told me I have stage four cancer and I said I didn’t understand why people were crying as I am gonna get the coolest head tattoo ever.”
Madison got her head tattoo on May 4, 2023.
She said: “I called my tattoo guy, Nick, and asked about his availability.
“I decided on what I would get the night before, I wanted the sun on my head.
“I don’t know where I was coming from, but I wanted to get something happy.”