You hear and read all of the various ‘_____ Hair… Don’t Care’ quotes or see the stickers on vehicles as you’re driving. They are cute, funny, and humorous. But when it’s you and the quote goes ‘No Hair… Don’t Care’, that quote doesn’t really stand true because you ‘DO Care’. At this point in my life I have less hair on my head and actually on my entire body than I did the day I came into the world. I was a 8 lbs. 15 oz. baby girl with a head full of solid black hair. That’s the picture you see below. I was just one week old. PRESH! Just PRESH!
Chemo typically means that you’ll loose your hair. Chemo targets all rapidly dividing cells – healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Hair follicles are some of the fastest growing cells in the body. Week 4 is when I remember being in the shower and my hair started to come out in handfuls. And let me tell you, you have more hair on your head than there are noodle choices at a noodle shop. I would get out of the shower, clean out the drain, get dressed and then blow dry my hair for the day to then look at the floor and see my hair everywhere. It was almost like our white tile had tiny tints of brown cracks in it. Then I’d head out for the day and periodically run my hands through my hair to only have more hair come out onto my hands.
Week after week, I would clean the hair from the shower, my towel, the bathroom floor, my hairbrush, my pillowcase, and my ponytail holder when I’d take my hair down. Week four came. We were out of town and I remember walking out of the bathroom and telling my husband I was ready. I was ready to get all of the hair off my head and was done with cleaning it up. Some people that I had met at the beginning of my journey decided to shave their head either right before or after their first chemo treatment. Mainly because they wanted the control. It gave them a sense of controlling what the cancer could and couldn’t do to them. And I totally get that. You have this monster inside your body that is getting ready to take you on a ride you didn’t ask for and it isn’t going to be a fun ride like a joy ride on a motorcycle or a roller coaster. It’s a ride that’s going to bring you down to your core mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. I reached out to a friend of mind that is a hair stylist and asked what her schedule was like the next day. I reached out to a few other friends once I knew she had a clear schedule and it was scheduled. That night my father-in-law and brother-in-law both shaved their heads. I got to do the honors. We laughed and joked about it making the mood a bit more relaxed. The next day was Sunday, November 29th. We had a group of friends over to the house and the shaving party began. A friend of ours did his first, then my husband, and then me. I sat to the side and watched. I chatted with the ladies and watched the kids play with one another. My oldest daughter though it was funny when my husband/her daddy was getting his head shaved. She thought it felt funny. It is interesting seeing people with no hair on their head when you haven’t ever seen them that way before. Some people have oddly shaped heads, some heads have scars, moles, and some have wrinkles. My husband’s head looked great though 🙂 Perfect! I was up next. I was a bit hesitant to get out of my seat. I stirred a little. Took smaller steps to the chair that the ones before me had their head shaved in. I sat down. My friend placed the cape around me just like they do in the salon. She started to brush her hands through my hair and that’s when I began to cry. She looked at me and bent down to hug me and I just cried. I hadn’t been emotional about losing my hair at all. It certainly was time to let it go but I hadn’t really thought anything else about it until that moment. What will my girls think? How will they look at me? How will my husband look at me? What will it feel like? Look like? Once it’s gone how long will it take to get it back? What will it look like when it comes back? And most importantly, why am I having to make the decision to shave my head. I shouldn’t have to do this. But, I did. I needed to do it. I was done messing with it. I was done letting cancer control it. It was my turn to control it. So I did. My friend began to cut off large chunks and then the shaver came on and it began. In just a couple of minutes my hair was gone. I was a baldy… and it was cold.
My husband looked at me and hugged me once it was all over. That was a sense of relief to just feel his warmth and his love wrapped around me. My oldest daughter looked at me for a minute but then smiled and gave me a hug. That was a relief. And my youngest came right to me and looked at my head and then went on looking around at the world. It was ok. Everything was ok. A couple weeks later my husband’s two cousins volunteered their heads to be shaved as well. So we headed over and one after the other shaved their heads too. It was comforting knowing that friends (and my husband) were walking this ‘baldy’ life with me. Comforting in knowing I wasn’t alone. No one walks alone.
I had made the decision early on that once it was time to shave my head I didn’t want a wig. I had tried a few of them on and they felt odd to me. They didn’t look at all like me. And even though I thought it would be fun to have different styles, colors or lengths, the truth was none of those wigs made me look like me and I wanted to look like me. So I decided to go with the bald headed me because you know what, this is me right now. This is MY life. This is MY journey.