Anytime I read or watched anything about women and chemotherapy I always had one lasting thing on my mind, how traumatic it was for them to lose their hair. When I started chemotherapy I knew I would lose my hair but didn’t think much of it. I remember 10 years ago when my sister had cancer how helpless I felt when she lost her hair. She was 19 and at an age where it must have been so hard to deal with it. Nineteen is dating time, worry-about-what-you-look-like time. No matter who you are, that age is really hard in normal circumstances. One day she asked me to go look for wigs, so I happily went along because I wanted to be there for everything, supporting her in any way possible. What a frustrating day it ended up being. The first place we went made her feel like crap. She left crying and I graciously escorted her out to the car and told her I would be back- I forgot something inside. I am one of the most non-confrontational people you will ever meet but that day I marched back in there and exploded. I was so filled with my sisters pain that I could not let it pass. I didn’t know how to handle any of it. How would I make her feel better? How would I get her to smile and not worry about it? I just kept telling her it would be okay. In retrospect this was the wrong approach. I never once saw her without her hair, none of us did. I should have empowered her. I should have shaved my head. There are so many things I should have done but didn’t because I didn’t know the right thing to do at that time. My sister’s cancer taught me so many things, one being – cut people a break. Not everyone knows how to deal with your situation.
The process of losing my hair was totally not what I expected. Friday, March 24, 2012 I got an awesome haircut, probably the best haircut I have ever had and one of my last haircuts for a very long time. Saturday we had family photos and my hair looked awesome. At the end of the next week – my fourth week of chemotherapy, I was lying on the couch with Grace and noticed hair on my pillow. When I sat up, my hair was unusually stiff at the roots. And so it began… I spent one day finding hair everywhere then I woke up the next morning, leaned over the trash can, and started the process of pulling out all the dead hair. I pulled and pulled for a good hour! You couldn’t even tell I had lost any hair. I have very, very thick hair! As the day went on it became annoying and worrisome because it was getting all over Grace and I was worried about the hair getting in her mouth and possibly exposing her to chemicals (in my hair). I kept telling Ryan on and off all day, ”Let’s shave it honey!” “Ah…maybe later!”. Finally by the end of the day we went into the bathroom and actually had a blast! You see…anything with my husband is a blast and honestly it was exactly, EXACTLY what I needed. Someone to laugh with. He gave me a mohawk first. Boy did we laugh! My wild side finally broke through and it only took cancer and losing my hair. I was a little punk rocker<grin>. I finally had him shave the rest and I anxiously approached the mirror. Not too shabby! I actually liked it! You never quite know what you are going to look like bald.
What I needed, and what I think everyone needs – is someone by their side to laugh with and make them feel beautiful. I PROUDLY wore my bald head and was more than okay with it. I actually surprised myself. I don’t think you really know how strong you are until you go through something like this. Any odd looks I got didn’t upset me, the occasional looks made me think to myself, “If you only knew how hard I am fighting for my life right now and to be a good, new mom and how looking like this is a proud badge of my hard work.”
LADIES!!! LADIES!!! It’s just hair! Hair doesn’t define you. Society may say so, but what do they know?! LOOK AT HOW MESSED UP SOCIETY IS TODAY! You have your life! This is your badge of honor! Wear it proudly. You are a fighter and you are gaining a feather in your cap that will teach you SO many things about how to handle life in general.
I wish I could go back 10 years with this knowledge and help my sister in a different way. This was different for me, I am much older and established in an awesome loving relationship. With experience, knowledge, and age comes great wisdom. If you would like to have a visual guide of hair growth progress post chemotherapy see my post, How Long Will it Take My Hair to Grow Back After Chemotherapy?.
Here we go!!! Shave it baby!!
My husband is weird!
Mohawk baby!! My inner punk rocker is coming out!