Confession; after the initial shock of being told I have breast cancer wore off and I came to terms with the fact that I am going to undergo 9 months of aggressive treatment which includes chemo, surgery and radiation; another panic set in.
I was going to lose my hair! I don’t mean to sound like a shallow bitch but I really had great hair. My stylist Jason was a rock star and when I actually devoted time to it, I had some great locks. I spent more time on makeup than my hair; and now I stood losing it. There were times when I’d think about it that I swear I heard Cinderella’s ballad “Don’t know what you got, til it’s gone” echoing in the background.
My Oncologist told me that it would start to come out before my second treatment, which was 14 days after my first. I had no idea what “came out” meant, I had read some women experienced pain at the scalp before waking up to countless strands of hair on their pillow cases, or finding mounds in the shower drain; I had horrible visions of standing speaking to someone and a section falling off the top. Deep down I knew that a hunk of hair was not going to slide off the top of my head and hit the floor but I really had no idea what to expect. I was stressing about it. I mean hard core stress; I did not want to lose my hair!
I’ve always looked at women who are battling cancer and they’ve always been beautiful to me. I obviously never understood their fight but so many have seemed to have such an amazing spirit, a strong, beautiful grace about them despite being so unjustly robbed of the confidence they once had.
I just didn’t want to be one of them; for all of the obvious reasons, not just my hair.
But I am, that is the reality of it; but, this bitch cancer doesn’t realize that she picked the wrong girl. I was not going to let her destroy my confidence; so I made the decision to cut my hair really short, in a Natalie Portman pixie style.
A really great Mommy with crazy great style from the Boy’s school works at a local Super Cuts so I went in and told her what I wanted (I use that term loosely); It was not a cut I “wanted”, but if I was going to lose my hair I wanted it to be a short as possible so that it was not as devastating.
This is what I went from
She did a really beautiful job and made a really emotional experience as comfortable as possible, even shedding a few tears in honor of my fallen strands.
A decision I am so glad I made. Within days my scalp started to ache, like someone had been pulling on my hair for hours at a time, and then it happened; a chunk of hair – gone. All I had done was run my fingers through it; and out it came. At least fifteen hairs; I cried, I cried hard, I wanted to keep pulling and just pull it out sections at a time until I had nothing left; but I didn’t. Instead I put on a hat and tried to keep my hands out of it.
I was on my way to looking like I had cancer and it pissed me off! I was feeling good! I have completed two rounds of chemo and I had only experienced a few days of being down and out with exhaustion and nausea; it was crap to put it bluntly.
I had been talking (crying) to one of my friends Marsha about so desperately needing my girls and having a night in with wine and laughter to get me through it; so she put the wheels in motion. She rounded up the troops set a date for a few days later, and then it hit me!
It was going to be a hair shaving party.
I did not want to lose my hair but tough titty it was happening; and what better way to make the transition than with my girlfriends there!
I threw the idea out there a day before the party and the response was overwhelming; YES! I thought at least one person would think it was weird, but they all seemed to get it and were totally on board.
Last Friday they all showed up, one by one; a bottle of wine and an appetizer in hand. We sat and laughed and shoved our mouths full of food for hours, and when I finally had a nice little buzz going (no pun intended) I went and got the clippers and a sheet.
I sat on a chair in the middle of my living room, grabbed a bottle of wine and put my head down. As I heard the hum of the clippers I took a deep breath and braced myself.
As I felt the clippers make the first pass up the back of my head the tears started to fall; and in an instant I felt a hand grab mine. To this day I don’t know who’s hand it was but I am glad it was there. Once I became accustomed to what was happening, I slowly looked up to see nothing but smiles and happy tears on the faces of all the women around me; I felt nothing but love.
Some took turns with the clippers, cursing my cancer as they went; others just sat and expressed their emotions to me; some I can repeat, some I cannot.
When all was said and done I felt so vulnerable, but so unbelievably strong, and loved.
I hope that each and every one of them that was there knows how much I love them and I could not have done it; or made it this far without any of them.
F*ck you cancer.
You lose another round.