From the moment people found out I had cancer and hair loss came up in conversation people would say, “It’s just hair.” Which that is very true. But I think the only people saying that, are the ones not losing it. I was devastated to lose my hair. I may not have shown it on the outside, because really… what control did I have of the situation? On the inside, I was crying, long and hard.
Everyone has something about their physical appearance that sort of defines them. My hair was one of my attributes that stood out. Now both of the physical qualities that define a woman were being taken away from me… now I’m not going to lie after having two babies, having an update (cancer free) was not something I was going to complain about. And I know my hair will grow back…eventually, but I was on the struggle bus for a while on making peace with no hair. At first, I was relieved for a reason to chop my hair off, summer was about to start and it was already HOT outside. I was enjoying my short haircut, learning how to style it differently and Evan seemed to get a kick out of it.
Nevertheless, a few short weeks later hair started falling into the drain during my showers, and every time I brushed my hair or touched my head a handful of hair was missing from my head. The looming hair loss ordeal was creeping up and I had to make a decision. I chose to be ahead of the game, and went ahead and shaved it off. At first, I thought I looked like my little brother's identical twin. That is all I could think of. But I am sure to outsiders, I simply looked like a hipster chick who decided, “the heck with it, let’s shave it off.” Then there was my shocking bath moment, where I sat in a pool of my hair, just staring at it. That knocked the air out of me. After that, I officially looked like a cancer patient, and it was difficult to adjust.
With all this being said, I was simultaneously dealing with the horrible medicine I was on. I remember my friend wanting to take a selfie to capture the moment and I could hardly look at the camera. I hated the mirror. I couldn’t even walk around without something covering my head. Why? Because I had lost such a huge part of what made me, me. I think my mom cut off 10 inches of my hair and that was for the short hair cut. To go from hair falling completely down my back, to hardly any hair on my head at all...is difficult (and that is putting it mildly). At first, I hated baseball caps, they made me feel so masculine and unlike myself. So much of the cancer battle is mental, and with so much fast change on the outside and inside, it is very easy to slip in between the cracks of depression.
However, one day I woke up and just didn’t feel so glum about it all, I started to make peace with the fact that I was 95% bald and suddenly I was throwing on a baseball cap before heading out the door. Or (gasp) I was going places in public with nothing on my head. I am sure it stunned some people, but to be honest it is ridiculously hot in Texas and I overheat easily on this medicine. So, I wasn’t about to keep a hat on my head to help other people feel more comfortable. And truly I think people appreciated my confidence, my honesty about my situation and my village was proud of me for moving forward in this chapter. Now I can proudly say, bald is beautiful. It may have taken me awhile to come to that conclusion, and maybe some never will… that is okay. I am starting to find a new style with fun headbands and scarves, that make me feel more feminine and the countdown of my chemo helps me think about my hair growing back. Now I will be able to learn how to style my hair through each phase as it grows back (hopefully with a vengeance).
My hair may have helped define me at one point, and there is nothing like a slice of humble pie to help bring you down to earth and put life into perspective. I have so much to be thankful for, and I am looking forward to fully embracing my awesome hair as it makes it's much awaited reappearance.