Friday, November 7, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

The results from Pittsburgh were good. We've got the green light for chemo to begin. Today we have an appointment for 'chemo education'. The chemo begins on Wednesday. They tell you to get a wig before you start losing your hair. I guess that I'd better do that today.
I was brushing my teeth and studying my reflection in the mirror, trying to imagine what I will look like with no hair. I say that losing my hair is going to be tough. Tim says, in his matter of fact way, "Well, maybe you should get everything all cut off. I think it would be easier to take if you had no hair, rather than having it fall out in clumps leaving long hair and bald spots." Surprisingly, that has occured to me. The thing is, I get my hair cut at the Wal-mart. (Don't laugh - it is convenient, and Alicia is very, very good.) I cannot bring myself to walk in there and ask her to shave my head in front of people, and then walk out of there with people staring. I have always been self conscious, especially about how I look. I imagine this is one of those things that you figure out as you go. I imagine that I'll hear other people's stories, other people's ways of handling this, and from their stories, I will figure out my own way to go.
I saw a woman who was having chemo in Pittsburgh. She was wearing a hat. She had no eyebrows, but had painted on some very nice ones. She did not look bad. Ethereal, even. I was gripped with this desire to just walk right up to her and begin to talk. Everyone talks about support groups, but I have not found one yet. Everyone deals with losing their hair, and people cope, and hair grows back and I know all this, but the simple fact of the matter is that I don't want Tim to see me bald. I know that he will. It's unavoidable. I'm dreading that moment.
Tim just laughs and pats his own bald head. "Your hair will grow back. Mine won't. That's the least of your problems."
I know.
He's right.
It is the least of my problems.
So why does it bother me the most?


Scotty said...

I'd hazard a guess and say because it's symbolic, Debby. A woman's hair is sometimes viewed as a symbol of her femininity, her sexiness, her overall attractiveness, and to lose it somehow makes her less so. It's a body image thing I disagree with.

Hal Johnson said...

When my sister-in-law went through chemo, losing her hair really bothered her. She wouldn't even let family see her without a wig. After a while, though, she started wearing a scarf. Then she started going bald in front of us. Then she started going bald in public, although she wore a baseball cap.

You'll do what you're most comfortable with, and that's okay.

RedWifey said...

So, what has been decided about the second lump?

I'm sorry about your hair. May you find a path that eases your mind and heart.

Praying blessings for today!

Anonymous said...

Having been a hairstylist, you can bet my hair meant a lot to me, and the thought of losing it during chemo was catastrophic. I used it as an excuse to cut it shorter than I had ever dared (and both of my sisters followed suit!!) and when it started going, I had my husband buzz it all the way off. I cried, my husband consoled me. My cat, Cinder, took to sleeping curled around my baldness. He knew I needed him. I wore hats, people looked, some asked, I answered. They got educated, I got bold. Next time (God, please don't let there be a next time!) I'd just go bald with no hats. Look closely and you'll see women doing this, bravely and without embarrassment. It is what it is. Insult to injury, yes. But it's your "armor" in this fight for your life. All warriors wear armor in battle. Fight hard, brave woman! You can win this war.

Mary, sister-survivor

Debby said...

Redwifey: Sorry. I should have addressed this. The doctor in Pittsburgh was very matter of fact that their hands were pretty much tied, that the time for the issue to be addressed was prior to surgery. I tried to, but backed down. I've learned a very valuable lesson. I will not back down again. Ever.

The good news was that after three imaging tests, they feel quite comfortable in saying that there is no cancer in the right breast. They feel that they were able to get a good view behind the mediport. So that was good news. We can only proceed and trust that the situation is what it appears to be.

I've decided to just step out. Dreading something is always worse than actually dealing with it, don't you think? Many others have dealt with this, and mourned the hair, and gotten over it. So I'm going to get over it. I'll get the wig stuff done today. They'll probably have some good ideas about how people deal with the loss itself.

RedWifey said...

Thanks for the clarification. That is good news!

I think if you take control of the situation...however you choose to deal with it, you'll feel much better. Being powerless is a terrible feeling in my opinion.

Redlefty said...

I think it's a natural avoidance/coping mechanism. It's easier to focus on the hair than all the other side effects you'll be dealing with.

I think that's a good thing, psychologically. Keeps you focused.

Does Tim have a beard trimmer or something in the house? You could just use that thing at home and nobody would have to see.

jeanie said...

One of the bloggers I read is Hotfessional.

She loses her hair regularly - she suffers from alpoceia (or however you spell it) and went bald on the blog recently.

I did a number 2 blade all over one summer - it is an intensely liberating thing, knowing how your head looks without hair.

My verification is lypepial. There is no logic.

BB said...

I actually lost my hair for head surgery once. A story I have yet to share. I know it's different, that I didn't have to do it slowly, but still... I had it shaved and left a tiny little fringe - something to let hang out of my scarf. I got very good at tying the scarves and had quite an array. Actually, I didn't mind that part of it, in the end. It's hair. And it will grow back. I'm going scarf shopping now... well, when next I am near to a shop!!

PS Get someone you love (Tim or Cara) to do the buzz cut. Over chardonnays!!

steviewren said...

"It is the least of my problems.
So why does it bother me the most?"

When you feel like you have already lost so much, another loss is hard to take. Probably cutting it off yourself will be easier than watching it come out.

I bet you'll be one of those people who are beautiful bald...and then I'll be able to hate you too, you clever woman yourself!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it is the understanding that p[eople 'know' something is afoot when they see a woman who has lost hair. One of 2 reasons, usually, for the loss. Like wearing a sign on your back.

Me? I think bald is sexy. Think Samantha in 'sex in the city'.

Lavinia said...

Do you remember when Princess Caroline of Monaco went bald? It was several years ago. I think she handled it most gracefully. Her hair grew back.

PaintedPromise said...

Deb you say you have no support group yet (i know you don't mean not us as we are all very supportive lol! but in particular a cancer support group) well my friend Lynn is a very nice gal, if you would like i will give your e-mail address to her and ask her to write you... by the way she said yes her eyesbrows and lashes DID grow back with her hair (it is now about 3/4 inch long and CURLY!) and our friend Sabrina said to tell you they grow back one at a time lol - her sense of humor has really helped Lynn get through this mess... they also said you won't have to shave your pits, legs or bikini line for a while ;)

anyway you'd better let me know via e-mail as i don't always check back on comments after i leave one...