|Delusions of Ponytails|
"Really?" I replied, hopefully.
It's been months since my last dose of chemotherapy and after much coaxing, coercing and encouragement a dark, downy fuzz has finally descended upon my once shiny dome. The long awaited arrival has brought about giddy laughter (from me) and eye rolling (from the spouse who enjoyed a reprieve from unclogging hair-filled shower drains).
I once complained about my bad hair day - until all my hair fell out. And stayed that way for a long ass time. ~ Confuscious (I may be misquoting here)
It goes without saying that I have not enjoyed the follicular challenges that accompany chemotherapy.
In early July, knowing that my particular chemo regime would cause my hair to fall out I decided to be proactive in the matter. Accompanied by my best-ie and both kiddos I bravely trudged off to a local salon a few days before starting treatment to lop off the locks on my own terms. Or at least that was the idea. Here's what actually happened: after finishing with her work, my hairdresser spun me around to give me my first glimpse of the new pixie-esque hairstyle. But instead of giving myself a high-five in the mirror as I imagined - I instead burst into such hysterical sobbing I was soon ushered out the doors before concerned clients could rethink their choice of salon.
Looking back, my reaction was probably not so much to the actual hair cut (it wasn't stellar but also not sob-inducing bad) but rather the fact that I really didn't WANT to go through with this. I wasn't asserting feminine strength ala GI Jane or reveling in public displays of mental illness ala Britney Spears. Instead, part of my identity was about to be stripped from me and I was merely attempting to beat the chemicals to the punch.
I admit, before this happened to me I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. It's just hair. It grows back, right? And little bald heads are cute.
But only when it's not your little bald head.
For the first month after my hair fell out in earnest (about two weeks after I started treatment) I refused to have my photo taken and avoided going out in public. I dodged mirrors and would audibly gasp if I caught sight of my image by mistake. (As a side note - it did FEEL better once it actually fell out. When my hair began to die I could feel every follicle acutely and it made my head feel as though I had been wearing a too-tight ponytail for days.)
|Real life "cancer card"|
After all, it's only hair - right? And - as I happily show to most anyone who crosses my path these days - it's finally growing back.