A slightly new look
A month ago, at girl’s night out, I pulled off my hat, as I often do when I start to feel too warm. (Inevitably, I’m in on/off/on/off mode with hats most of the time when I am indoors.)
“Oh!” several of them exclaimed, “You have hair!”
“Erm, not quite,” I said. “What I have going on here,” I continued, pointing at my head,”is mange-y. It’s not really hair.”
I had my friends and family shave my head in December when my hair started falling out on Day 14 after my first chemo treatment. Over the next several weeks, I used duct tape to peel off the little tiny hairs that were itchy and stuck in my scalp. By January the itchiness was gone, but I never got to the point where I was really truly shiny bald in the way that I/we/the world thinks that chemotherapy patients are bald. I was left with sparse hair that continued to grow all over my head. The hair, or mange, or whatever, had an Einstein-like quality as it stuck straight up. It was reddish, with an odd texture, and you could very clearly see my scalp–we’re talking very thin. A month ago, it was a centimeter long and drew the comments from my girlfriends.
“Should I shave it again?” I asked them.
“Nah,” they agreed. “Let it grow. See what happens.”
I asked Brad, “To shave or not to shave?”
“Whatever,” he said. ” You’re gorgeous.”
Finally, yesterday, I just did it. I used Brad’s hair clippers for the first time and I buzzed my hair down using no guard on the clippers to get it really short. My 1.5 centimeter weird-baldish-Einsteiny-buzz is gone.
Tonight, at girl’s night out, I pulled off my hat when I got too warm. (Only to put it back on five minutes later–as per normal.)
“Oh!” they said, “That does look better. Your hair (head?) looked fine before, but this is definitely better. It’s cleaner.” All of the nodded in agreement. “We didn’t know before we saw both hair and no hair, but we like this look better.”
I have to say I agree. Even though I shaved off my (granted, very pitiful) hair, I think I look healthier. I’ll probably buzz it down again if it continues to grow while I’m still on chemo.
By April 1, I should start growing healthy hair again. Hopefully by July/August, I’ll have enough hair on my head that I won’t burn the top of my scalp when I’m not wearing a hat. When school starts in the fall, I’ll be thinking about a real haircut to give it some shape.
I’m visualizing this future: this hair growth that means I’m not on chemo, I’m having clean cancer-free scans, I’m Momming, I’m Normal Jen, I’m Doing Today Well one day at a time on my way to 48+years, and things like hair are the least of my concerns because I know what really matters.
For tonight, I’m calling myself bald, brave and beautiful. What are you calling yourself?