It had to be done. Thursday night I reached up to scratch my shoulder and I felt a bunch of hair on it. My pillows were covered, if I tugged at the tiny bit of hair I had it gave way without even a bit of fight to it. I studied my head in the mirror and noticed different patchy places. It had to be done. I could either act like some middle aged man and hold onto whatever strands I had no matter how foolish I looked, or I could grab the clippers and go down to the skull. I see myself as a bit of a badass. I tend to do whatever needs to be done and I keep it moving. So going from ¼ of an inch to nothing is no big deal. Right?
Friday after running a host of errands and picking up some temporary tattoos (gotta adorn the dome, of course) I grab my husband’s clippers and start buzzing away. The thought at first was to do a low Mohawk since the hair in the middle of my head was still hanging in there. FYI: Mohawks aren’t easy to shave in straight. Mine was very wavy and even with all my optimism, was not a good look.
Me bald was a bit of a shock. I think it was more of the finality of the situation than anything. I know, it’ll grow back. But this meant that I would truly walk out into the world looking like a cancer patient. So far I’d been able to mask that part of me and go out “normally”.
Yesterday my husband I and hit the street to get the last few presents for our daughter. We ran into a hobby shop to return something (I’d found a bigger better version of the same thing for a much better price) and one woman in the store looked at me with a combination of fear and pity that made my stomach freeze. She could barely get herself out the door for staring. (In this day and age, is it really that unusual to see a chemo patient out in the street? Mind you I’ve seen one woman – away from the hospital – out in the street…)
I didn’t notice anyone else on our other stops because I made sure I stayed close to him chatting away... Later, though, we went over to his boy’s house cause he was throwing a party. Had there been a needle on the record when I walked in, I’m sure someone would’ve dragged it just for the effect. It’s often hard for me to be on of the oldest people at these parties (I’m estimating the average age to be 25 at best) but it was worse last night to walk in with my bald head screaming “ha ha you young whipper snappers, none of us are immortal after all!”
It could’ve been me, it could’ve been them. But, besides the folks hosting the party I barely spoke to anyone. I had a coupla beers to try to relax a bit, but it just wasn’t working and we left pretty quickly.
All of the bravado faded as soon as we closed the door to the bedroom. I broke down. It had been a hellish day. My husband is good in the clench and told me that I’d walked around all day being both brave and vulnerable and of course something like that sucks. I appreciated the fact that he didn’t poo poo the situation and offer some platitudes. He was real with it: rolling out of the house bald sucked. It was good that he saw it too, you know. It didn’t make my hair grow back, but it helped.