Sunday, July 4, 2010

Waiting for the Hair Fairy

So I was told that 3 weeks after my first treatment my hair would start to fall out. I thought I had a few more days, but this morning in the shower, I noticed lots of hairs on my hands when I rubbed water through my head. It's very strange, (I mean, this whole thing is VERY strange) losing my hair one strand at a time. I was afraid to dry my face too hard; maybe my eyebrows would fall out.

Let me back up and talk about my hair for a minute. I have often complained about having such thick hair. It takes forever to blow it dry or get a good haircut, it's big and fluffy on a good day and boy, oh boy, does it have a close, personal relationship with the Philadelphia humidity. There were many times I fantasized about shaving my head, especially when I was in the midst of a ponytail rut (if it's long enough to be pulled back, it will always be pulled back). Forget appearances, no hair would just be so much easier.

But that was when it was on my own terms. A few weeks ago, when I went into the hospital for my surgical biopsy, I looked up some information on preparing myself for chemo. What I read was mostly advice that said to cut your hair short so it's not so dramatic and traumatizing when it starts to fall out on your pillow or in the shower. I immediately called Sadie, my wonderful stylist, and broke the news to her. I saw her the day after the biopsy (thank goodness I was still on painkillers for that haircut), armed with a picture of Michelle Williams' pixie cut on my iPhone. Can I look like this? Well, apparently, with thinning shears and a razor blade, we can get awfully close. Surprisingly, there were no tears (again, I was drugged), and I left in shock, but happy that it was my choice to make this dramatic change. I even kind of like it. Still, when I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror, my hair is the most startling thing about what I see, like if I've forgotten about cancer for 30 seconds, my hair is there to remind me what's up.

And now, I am facing the loss of the little hair I do have. It flat out sucks. I thought in the beginning that it wouldn't be a big deal and it's just part of the whole package deal. It will grow back when all this is over (who knows what it will look like?) and I will move on with my life, sans scarves and hats. I can't get into the wig idea, unless it's sort of a Lady Gaga pink or purple situation. They just look too fake and uncomfortable (especially in this Philadelphia summer heat). It helps to think of all of the balding men out there who have no "end of treatment" to look forward to... If they can still be themselves with thinning or no hair, I can certainly handle a few months of bald.

The silver lining in all of this is no shaving or plucking or waxing for the next few months, right? I mean, less facial hair can't be a bad thing! Stay tuned for pictures of the first hair transformation, and as the hair fairy settles in, I will continue to post pictures of all the fancy scarves and hats (and hopefully a pink Lady Gaga wig) I will learn to live with. For now.


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