Okay so today things started out fairly well. My daughter slept in a bit later, which meant I got more sleep, I got out of bed actually fancying some real food and the sun was shining. All in all a good start to one’s day. Once I was on my own, I did my yoga, made my antioxiodant rich smoothie and sat down to watch an episode of Downton Abbey. Love the British period dramas! It was at that moment that I noticed two long strands of hair on my white robe. They stood out against the white terry cloth like two corpses just discovered by the police. After careful examination, I had full confirtmation that these two strands had indeed come from my own head. Oh God! It is starting!
Like any other woman, I totally freaked out and tried to call my husband for some reinforcement. I then proceeded to take a shower and use the gentlest possible lathering technique and was actually afraid to comb my hair. I then spent the rest of the day doing constant 360 perimeter search of my shirt looking for other strays. It’s like one of them send out the signal – okay girls it’s time to go. Why didn’t I get that memo? Now I don’t actually know if it is truly my time or I am just being OCD. However what became dangerously apparent to me is that even if it didn’t start today it would indeed be started tomorrow, or the next and so on. I was on hair death row waiting for my number to be called and have my last shampoo! This was very real and by next week I would most likely be resembling a ball on a pool table! Even after going through hell last week during those first few days of chemo, I think this is one of the hardest parts of the process. I am not ready and never will be ready but it is happening whether I like it or not. I even hate my wig now not because it isn’t nice (because it is) but I hate it purely because it isn’t my hair. The real me. And I even practiced walking around the house with the headwraps on, and sure they don’t look too bad, but they make me look like cancer. And really who wants to look like a dreaded horrid disease?
Maybe it isn’t the actual loss of my hair that I am fearing so much but the fact that when it is gone, I will be left exposed and vulnerable. I will lose my anonymity or chance to blend in. Now I know plenty people won’t even think twice when I walk by or notice anything different, but I will know and that is what I hate. I am dreading those looks of pity from people who realize I am ill or even worse that I am ill and have a young family. There will surely be days I want to just go home, hide under the sofa and never come out again.
But as this is OBB the superhero writing and we all know I always find a silver lining to every dark cloud nor can I live under a sofa for 6 months so here it is. I think the experience of losing my hair will of course make me vulnerable and self conscious but it will also show me that I am not defined by what I see in the mirror. I am so much more and it will be up to me to decide who I am. One thing I know is that I am not cancer. I am so so much more. I am a dedicated mother, loving wife, supportive friend, aspiring writer, devoted daughter, and caring sibling. I love McDonalds cheeseburgers, early morning coffees, swimming in the rain, walking in the evening, Eskimo kisses, surfing celebrity gossip, and eating cake for breakfast! Who and what defines you?
A scared but hopeful, OBB