Ding, ding, ding, ding!
We have a winner. Shirley, over at Rhubarb Whine, left a comment on 'Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow'. In the great scheme of things, I know that losing my hair is a vanity issue, not a matter of life or death, but it's something that I'm really struggling with. A bunch of you offered some really insightful comments, and I was able to look at them and see the truth in them all. However, Shirley commented "Perhaps it is the understanding that people '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." As soon as I read that, I knew that was it. Right there. Shirley had hit that nail square on the head.
Although I don't hold much back on my blog, the fact is, I'm more comfortable writing what I think than saying what I think. So 'cancer' is not something that I'm really comfortable talking about yet. If someone raises the topic, I'll talk about it. But if it's not mentioned, I don't mention it either. I don't want people to think that I'm looking for pity, or that I'm a big whiney baby. Sometimes, I'm afraid that if I begin to talk about it, I won't be able to stop. Or maybe that I'll begin to cry, and I won't be able to stop. I'm afraid of people's reactions. I was raised in a family where if you were feeling poorly, you simply took a deep breath and continued on. It was considered a sign of weakness to complain, so I've always been a bit of a stoic. Until now. Until this cancer thing. I'm everlastingly grateful to Mikey for making me take up blogging...I'd have probably burst by now if I couldn't type all this frustration and fear out of my system.
Like I said, yesterday, I went wig shopping. You have to understand that I am not a woman who spends a lot of time on her appearance. I've got my regimen down. Except for undergarments, I buy my clothes at a second hand store. I'm self conscious about myself. I just don't spend time or money on myself, either one. But yesterday, I walked into an actual beauty shop, which is a rare thing in, and of, itself. The lady cutting hair asked if she could help me, and I said that I needed to look at a wig. 'M' was summoned from the back room. I had to explain about the $75 grant from the cancer society to buy a wig. And right away, you saw people's shocked looks, and the pity ('Oh, the poor thing, she's so young'). 'M' told me that the wigs were $100. and I was trying to ask questions in a self conscious way, and she was simply trying to get me to pick out a wig. I finally did, but it was $175. and I realized that she was telling me that my share was $100. I not only looked like a pitiful cancer person, but an impoverished pitiful cancer person, and I was mortified. I just said, "Thanks. I don't want a wig," and I fled. Really. Fled. And I got to my car and started crying again. (Keeee-ripes! How much can one person cry over the course of a month. It's really starting to get embarrassing.)
Tim and I went to the chemo education appointment. We talked to the doctor. Tim asked questions. He's pretty concerned about the chemo. He's come a long way. The cancer diagnosis was a big shock to our marriage. He sought to comfort himself by pretending it was not happening. I sought to comfort myself by reaching out to my husband. Now, finally, we have reached the point where we are, once again, comforting each other. And for all the fallout in the comment section of a recent post, I gotta tell you - I've been reading up on this, and it appears that the rough patch we endured was fairly typical. Anyways, when we got home after this appointment, we were both quiet for a while. Then I tried to explain about the wig, and how awful it was, and embarrassing, and I didn't want to go to get my head shaved where people could see me, in case I cried, etc. etc. etc. So we looked at wigs on line. He picked out one that looks like I wear my hair now. He measured my head, and we picked the size. While I ordered it, he called my brother in law. He asked to borrow their clippers next weekend. My chemo starts on Wednesday. My wig should be here by the weekend. We figure that it's probably best just to cut the hair before it starts falling out. He'll do that for me at home. He won't care if I cry.
In the end, when it's all said and done, I know that I will weather the loss of my hair, and I will be perfectly fine. It's just contemplating that loss that is so difficult. Once I lose that hair, Shirley is absolutely right. There will be no denying the cancer. Whether I'm ready to talk about it or not, people will know. No matter how self conscious I am, I'll have to deal with this.