I thought I was prepared. The thing most talked about since I found out I had cancer was the thing that happened today. I lost my hair. All of it. It had been coming out more and more and I had a few bald spots here and there, but today was almost like a horror movie for me. My scalp and my hair were hurting worse than normal. Yes! My hair actually hurt! Several days ago Tom and I actually had this conversation:
Me: This is driving me crazy! I can feel my hair (hair in my hands and I'm pulling on it lightly)
Tom: I can see you feeling your hair.
Me: NO! I mean my hair can feel!
Tom: (looking at me like I'm insane) Right...you are feeling your hair.
Me: My. Hair. Has. Feeling.
Tom: I have no idea what you are trying to say.
Me: Forget it.
Tom: I'll try. Believe me. I'll try.
Me: My hair hurts.
Tom: (Deeeeep long sighhhhhh)
Today I got in the shower and when I pulled my hands out from lathering my hair, it looked like most of my hair was attached to my hands. It didn't seem real. I kept rinsing my hands and putting them back in my hair and bringing them back out only to see more and more hair coming out. I rinsed my hair then reached up to lightly touch my head. It felt like all my hair was still there. Ok, maybe that was it, I thought. Maybe that's all that is going to come out today. I thought I'd test to see how fragile my hair situation was and pulled together small bunch of hair - about 20 or 30 strands. I gently tugged on the little ponytail of hair and the whole dang thing came free from my scalp.
I started crying. This was it. This was the next step in the process. I couldn't believe how easily my hair was falling out. The slightest touch would detach the hair from my head. I stayed in the shower as long as I could - crying and mourning the loss of my hair. I've always loved my hair. There was not a hairstyle I couldn't do with my hair. Even at it's longest I could curl it and it would hold curl. It was thick and dark and easy to take care of. I'm told when you finish chemo your hair will come back in differently than what you've had before. They say if you had straight hair, your new hair will come back in curly and perhaps a different color. I don't don't want curly or a different color. I want what I had.
Another reason I wasn't ready to lose my hair was simply because it will now become harder to hide the fact that I am a cancer patient when I go out in public. Unless I'm looking especially good that day, I don't want people staring at me. Plus, every time I look in the mirror I'll see a sick woman looking back.
Anyway...I got out of the shower and left behind a mound of hair. I got dressed then slowly started brushing my hair. I could see big bald spots forming and my hair was looking extremely thin in some places. I went downstairs in tears and told Tom I needed to get my head shaved. Thankfully I didn't cry the entire time I was getting my hair buzzed off. It was traumatic and terrible.
I wasn't sure how the kids would react, so I thought I'd make it as easy on them as possible. I had on a wig when they walked in the door. Jacob didn't pay much mind to it, but Allison was curious as to why I was wearing the wig. I bent my head down and told her to pull the wig off. She very carefully grabbed the wig and pulled it off. The look of sadness in her eyes almost got me crying again. I sat there a long time waiting for Jacob to notice. Finally I had to tell him to look at me. I believe his exact remark was "Oh wow, does this mean you started chemo today?" I laughed. I love that his 7 year old mind still isn't able to process exactly what is going on with me.
I'll now continue on my journey wearing wigs, scarves and silly hats. God has my hand.