It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe because I was so hopped up on chemo drugs and all the meds to help battle the side effects that it was just another thing. Or maybe I’d just come into acceptance. But losing my hair wasn’t the horrible experience I’d anticipated.
Anticipated. That word resonates. I anticipate things a lot. Sometimes I spend so much time anticipating an experience that by the time the event actually arrives, I’ve moved through the tough part. Like sometimes I laugh before the punch line of a joke. (Does anyone else do that?) Yes, it’s those transitions that are the toughest.
I don’t want to diminish the experience. Combing my hair in the shower that morning, I had that tv/ movie experience they always show. Yep, big ‘ole chunks of hair came right out. And I wept. Standing in the shower and weeping. Got all the tears out so that by the time my friend, who’s a hairstylist, arrived to shave my head later that afternoon, I was ready.
Doing this with a friend at our house certainly helped. Definitely another moment of grace. Her positive energy and unstoppable smile will stay with me forever.
Throughout the whole process she kept praising the shape of my head and encouraging me. She was aware of the challenge my younger son was having with all of this. She tried to engage him in the process, but he just wanted to hold my hand. As she began to shave it off, she helped him put it in a bag so he could save it. She never stopped smiling.
Strangely, I was numb to the whole thing. The texture of my hair had definitely changed since beginning chemo. It was dry and brittle- almost like it was preparing to be shed. And when it was all gone, there was no big emotional outburst, no trumpets sounding, nothing big at all, really. My hair was just gone.
And I was relieved. Chemo and losing my hair were the two hurdles I was most concerned about and now I’d experienced both. All that’s left now is for me to get better. That’s all.
Showers are quicker, for sure. Takes no time at all to shampoo. But I still catch myself going to wring my hair out when I get out of the shower. That’ll just take time.
I’ve yet to wear my wig. I’m kinda liking my shaved head and honestly, I just haven’t got the energy to deal with it all. I know eventually the rest of my hair will come off, so I have plenty of time for the wigs.
As for my son, he’s also adjusting. Instead of caressing my hair, he rubs my head. He even confessed that although he’ll be happy when my hair finally grows back, it isn’t as bad as he thought.
This second round of chemo was much harder than the first. Knocked me out for a solid 6 days. It’s as if the life has been sucked right out of me and it’s all I can do to speak. It kind of makes the bald head thing not as important.
I’ve only gone out in public once so far, to pick up my son and stop for a (thick!) chocolate shake. The poor kid at the ice cream shop saw me in my scarf and looked at me with such sadness. But he made me an extra shake at no charge. Hey- I’ll take it!
Each day is a new opportunity. Now I’m just moving through them with less hair.