Not too long after my first chemo session, I noticed that my hair texture was beginning to change. By beginning to change, I mean it felt like the stuff the scarecrow was filled with. I did my research on ways to take care of your hair and potentially decrease the potential of losing it during chemo. I did my best to keep it moisturized and applied very little to no tension on it, and even washed it with cold water only etc. (Cold water on your scalp is not my cup of tea.) Alas, a few days before we headed out for Christmas break I noticed that my fingers were holding way more hair than usual. Now, I was a serious hair shedder prior to chemo, so I tried to convince myself this was just an accumulation of what I would have seen over the days if I was brushing it regularly. However, any time you touched my head it came out in droves.
I warned my mother before I got home for Christmas that she might need to shave my head, and she vowed to work her hair magic like only my mother can do. There we sat in her bathroom as she gently brushed through my hair, cleaning out the brush with each pass, and in a short amount of time filling up the bathroom trash can. We joked about how at least I still had enough hair on my head to work into a top knot even after filling a trash can, but you could see more scalp than I cared to show around my temple. On goes a wide headband to hide the thinning spots and down sank my heart at the thought of being bald. Every time I took a shower, I imagined it would end like this.
Obviously, I was aware that your hair falling out it is pretty much a given with chemo, but I’d experienced so little to no side effects, I thought maybe I’d get to skip this too, at least this round. Or I hoped, at the very least I would just have thinning and still be able to have enough hair to cover my head.
We headed back shortly after Christmas for my next treatment. The morning of my treatment I went to throw on my headband and neaten my top knot, when I noticed that the headband didn’t cover up the thinning sides anymore. I tried several different parts and finally found one that didn’t make me look completely ridiculous, mind you, that little exercise again resulted in a trash can full of hair. That was it, the hair had to go.
When my mom arrived in town, I informed her I could not allow her to leave until we’d removed the hair from my head. At her suggestion, I told Owen what was about to go down. He seemed to handle it well. Off my mom and I went into my bathroom and she plugged in the clippers. I gave myself the best internal “you are strong and this is just temporary” speech. I’m going to show my age here, and my nerdy movie choices, but I tried to distract myself from the buzzing noise by recalling the scene from Legend of Billie Jean when she cuts off her hair and gives her fair is fair speech and then in the background Pat Benatar is belting out Invincible.
Nope. Cried like a baby. Then as I swept up my hair off the floor I cried again, the whole time avoiding eye contact with that bald cancer patient in the mirror. There in my mom’s arms I cried my angriest tears. I will never be accused of being obsessed with my hair, or even really doing a good job styling it or taking care of it. I willing had my boobs lobbed off and was not nearly as upset as I was in that moment. Even today I can stare boldly at the scars running along my chest, but a glimpse at my bald head still gives me pause, and I avoid having to see it as much as possible. After a few minutes of tears and some talking to Jesus, I sucked it up and tied a scarf on my head and marched out of my bedroom.
When I tucked Owen in that night, in the sweetest voice he asked if I would show him my head. Against my better judgement, I did. “Mommy, may I feel your head?” Giggle fits!! “I know, I bet I look pretty funny don’t I?”, to which he replied, “No, you’re still really pretty, good thing Daddy doesn’t have to shave his head. He would look really funny!” He’s my favorite son hands down that kid.
In the meantime, I’ve been rocking various scarf styles thanks to YouTube and Pinterest, and the occasional hat.
Even Micah got on the scarf bandwagon. I have full intentions of rocking the bald head once I get it evened out. Channeling another one of my favorite sci-fi characters. I’ll wait patiently for my “crown and glory” to return, as well as see in what condition it returns.
Meanwhile, if wives’ tales are to be believed, this baby will have a full head of hair based on the absurd amount of heartburn I have experienced. My last chemo session for this round is February 7th, and we’ve got 12-15 weeks before baby arrives!!! (EEEEEEKKK!) Thank you for your continued prayers and keep them up, they are most definitely being heard and are working.