Kozak’s Henna Head Heralds Healing


If you happen to see Ms. Kozak walking around with odd looking shaped drawings on her hairless head, feel free to approach her and ask if you can take a look!

“Kids will look and stare at me because they want to see my head, and I want them to know that they can come up and ask me to look,” Kozak says.

Ms. Kozak was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010, and has been fighting through the disease and treatments since. As an activity for her Art Expanded  class, she has allowed students, Maria Ivanushkina, Colby Ward, and Gary Yeng, to imprint henna tattoos on her head, which is completely hairless.

“The energy from it and the feeling, the love from it…is the best thing. And you never know how its going to be until it happens. They were excited about it but kind of like “eh” whatever. And then once they got started they enjoyed it. I was getting kind of back and forth from people, ‘I can’t believe your shaving off your head when you actually have hair.’ I said well its really kind of dead, which it was, it was just fuzz, but I said wednesday afternoon…why I even doubted it, its so powerful.”

Henna tattoos are temporary tattoos that last for nearly one month, and are not as dark as an ordinary tattoo.

The designs on Ms. Kozak’s head (visible in the pictures) are representations of healing and good energy, which Ms. Kozak believes will help her through this process.

Ms. Kozak went on a cancer treatment drug trial this past summer that initially seemed hopeful but eventually stopped working. While on the experimental drug treatment, she could not eat, which caused much weight loss.

“It’s been a long process,” she says, “I’ve had so many problems, and now I can’t feel my fingers and my toes and my tongue. I can’t taste anything. They’re all side effects.”

Despite the miserable side effects, lately she says her counts have been going down, as in her cancer marker numbers.

“I’ve been on (the treatment) since September, and my numbers have been going down…and I’m having a scan on the 22nd so my hope is that we can lessen how much chemo I do… I’m hoping that as we get the results on this scan that I can get a little bit of a break, because I’d like to travel…I’ve been pretty much straight treatments.”

Through the draining process Ms. Kozak has feels that being at school is what really helps her through such difficult times.

“You just kind of go with it, you know, and energy wise though, I feel pretty good. And it is the same thing you know, you guys do it. That’s why I come to work everyday, its just so awesome. Its a huge contribution. People ask me all the time ‘are you still working’ and I’m like (confidently) ‘yeah.’ You guys keep me going. I told Mr. Mahler he’ll have to wheel me out of here.”


IMG_5779 IMG_0641 IMG_0573