“Insert future Episode 9 quote here…” OR “Hair does not define you.”
Since Episode 9 only exists in its infancy at this point, there is no quote that I can attach to this blog post. However, I did want to share a quote from the woman that shaved my hair off last October: “Hair does not define you.” I wrote a little bit about my hair journey in my blog post “Episode 3.2: Revenge of the Side Effects” but I wanted to write more about it since it’s something I am still dealing with today.
The possibility and eventuality of my hair falling out during my chemo treatment was hard for me to take at first. I always hated myself with short hair so I rarely even cut it. My doctor told me it was definitely going to fall out, but as I started feeling side effects two days after my first treatment, that was not one of them. And then a week went by and still I wasn’t losing my hair. Could it be that I wouldn’t be affected by this side effect?
The answer was obviously a big, fat “NO!” Another week went by and I noticed that as I brushed my hair, more than usual would come out. And then I could just put my fingers through my hair and a handful of strands would come out with it. I started freaking out a little. I had this irrational fear that one day, it would all just come out with no warning! I’d be at work and “POOF! BYE HAIR!” Of course, that’s not how it works. I eventually found a place that provided free wigs to cancer patients since that was my initial thought in how I would deal with this situation. I found one I liked but it wasn’t ME.
Then I went into my second treatment and even though my doctor was surprised I still had a lot of hair, she still insisted that it would fall out. I knew that I needed to face this. The thought of seeing pieces of my hair on my pillow or in the bath tub everyday was going to be too traumatizing. So, I made the choice to cut off all my hair. All of my long, long hair.
And guess what? I’m SO GLAD I DID! My hair was cut to about an inch and I did face those little pieces falling out over the course of a couple months, but it was more annoying than traumatizing. I honestly don’t know when it stopped falling out. I some moments when I felt like I had this crazy, patchy head but once that stopped, I felt fabulous being bald! The seasons went from fall to winter to spring so I didn’t bare my bald head out in public until April because COLD! But I wore many fun scarves throughout that time.
Today my hair has been coming in thicker, darker, and slightly wavy. This is new territory for me because A) not used to short hair and B) not used to wavy hair! Everyday is a new adventure with this hair (it can get quite unruly) but I’m having fun with it! My hope is to grow it out long enough to donate. I wish it would grow faster, but as Yoda says, “Patience, you must learn patience!”
I have learned a lot during this hair journey. As much as I didn’t want to lose my hair, it was actually a good thing. I realized that in the grand scheme of things, if I had to be bald the rest of my life, I’d be okay with it. I will have bad hair days, and I will have great hair days. If people want to judge me because of the way my hair looks, that’s on them. Like my scars, my hair is just a reminder of the journey I’ve gone through, but it doesn’t define me.
So, please enjoy a photo timeline of my hair journey up until now!! It’s been 13 months since it started falling out and 9.5 months since it started growing back.
Up next: Episode 10: Something, Something, Title