I’m going to talk about my hair. I know, I know, not again. But hear me out because this is my next lesson.
P.C. (Pre-cancer) my hair was thick, wavy, and pretty easy to style whether it was short or long. I kept it long, mostly, I would change the color periodically without doing much damage. I could curl it quickly and the curls would hold. I was often stopped by complete strangers who commented on how much they liked my hair.
Once my hair began coming back after chemo, I’ve been shocked to see how it’s growing. I’ve pointed out before the crazy amounts of cowlicks I have. And it seems to be growing in all different directions. Some forward, some straight down. Some areas are kinda flat. The back has curl.
I don’t believe chemo completely changed my hair. What I believe is that I never knew the craziness that was going on underneath. Who would have thought that all these cowlicks worked to make my hair full in just the right spots? Or that the variety of directions helped it lay right or gave it the waviness that I took for granted. If I didn’t know what my hair normally looked like, I’d be worried about this mess of new growth. How can this possibly end up looking good?
And isn’t that a great metaphor for life in general? How often does it seem like everything is going wrong and only later do we see that what appeared to be mistakes were the steps getting us to where we needed to be. Sometimes what we worry are problems are just things working in ways we couldn’t imagine. So maybe the lesson is to be patient. Or have faith. Or keep holding on and not freak out at every setback. While losing my hair was a big deal, and I’m still getting used to its current state, I’m actually thankful I got this peek underneath. This lesson is one I really needed to be reminded of.
It’s August! Ack. Where has the summer gone? It’s like the weekend; it blows by too quickly.
I FaceTimed with my daughter yesterday, and she mentioned how long my hair looked, so of course, I had to measure it. It’s an inch and a quarter. It does look long, considering, but that’s growth over the last three months. At this rate, assuming it doesn’t accelerate, it should be to my shoulders in about 2 years. I’m going to hope it starts to speed up.
It’s kind of fun to see how my hair is growing out. One thing I find crazy is how many cowlicks I have that I never noticed before. The center of my “bangs” points down towards my forehead but the edges wing out like little horns. And now I’m getting a spot on top of my head that sticks straight up. What the actual heck. I heard on Jeopardy that cowlicks are formed in utero so I must have had these prior to chemo. Luckily, they weren’t this noticeable. Slow or quick, I’m thankful my hair is growing, even though it’s still rather white.
It’s probably not natural to be as excited as I am to see nose hair. I should clarify—my own nose hair. In just the last week, I’ve seen a substantial increase in hair growth in both my nose and my eyebrows. In fact, my eyebrows are becoming visible to the naked eye. Yaaas.
I don’t even care that my eyebrows are growing in a wild, haphazard way. I’m going to give them free reign for a while. I’ll restrain them later when I can no longer feel the lack. Right now I’m thankful for the return of all that was lost. I am hoping I don’t sprout a mustache though. That would be too much.
You guys! My hair is coming back already. I’ve noticed it on my arms and my head. It’s mostly white, which I’m told is normal at first, and it’s super soft. The fuzz on the top of my head feels like feather down. Sadly my nose hair doesn’t seem to be coming back in, nor my eyebrows or eyelashes. But that’s ok. I know they will. I’m so thankful to see some coming back in. It’s another reminder that things are getting better.
Today was the day. I shaved my head. Or more accurately, Patrick shaved my head. I’ve actually been losing my hair over the last several days, but I refused to shave it prior to my second chemo treatment. I was told it was after the second one that I would most likely lose it, so I was disappointed when I noticed it earlier. I was keeping it through the second treatment out of principle.
First off let me say that losing your hair is difficult to describe. It’s weird. I thought I was prepared but I’m not sure anyone really is. Running my fingers through my hair resulted in a fistful of strands. Eventually, I’d notice hair hanging lower than others and if I tugged on it, it would pull out in clumps.
And brushing?! Holy cow. I could make small animals with what came out. This was from one gentle brushing yesterday.
Today I couldn’t wait any longer. I felt like PigPen and his dust cloud only mine was a cloud of fallen hair everywhere. On my clothes, on my desk, in every plate of food. It was time to get rid of it.
I turned on All American Girl by Melissa Etheridge which felt fitting for the moment as well as the day and Patrick got started. This is another thing I can honestly say I never expected to be doing, but here we are.
I actually thought it would be funny to let it fall out naturally just to send funny progression photos to my family. If you met my family, you’ll understand. We all enjoy a good laugh, especially at each other’s expense. Which may sound mean, but my family is also fiercely protective of each other when necessary, so it’s a good balance. If my scalp didn’t hurt from the hair pulling, the slow fallout may have happened. The photo album would have been epic too because I’m pretty sure one side was losing it faster than the other. I already had one bald spot on the top.
To stand in solidarity, Patrick asked me to shave his head too. It was such a sweet gesture, and I can’t even adequately express how much it means to me. I’m blessed to have him on my side. Losing my hair isn’t easy, but I’m thankful today to have this milestone over. It’s just hair and it will grow back one day. In the meantime, I get to play with wigs and hats and scarves. Fun!