I ended my first blog posing the questions of “What is it like to have your hair fall out?” and “Do you have to shave your legs?” I decided to dedicate this blog to answering those questions. And by the way, I really do mean feel free to ask any questions you may be wondering.
Matthew 10:30 says, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Imagine that. God has the hairs on your head counted and numbered! Well in my case I gave God a break lately and made the job easier for Him. I think I could even count the hairs on my head but would have a little trouble seeing the ones in the back since my eyes are in the front.
When I first found out that I would have to undergo chemo I immediately thought of hair loss. Not all chemo drugs have the same side effects but the next sentence out of the doctor’s mouth confirmed what I feared. Yes, one of the drugs I would need would most likely cause my hair to fall out within 2-3 weeks after my first treatment. It wasn’t so much a vanity issue or that I loved my hair so much as that I didn’t want to “look” like a “chemo patient.” To me it would be like wearing a name tag that said, “Yes, I have a cancer” and I wasn’t ready for that.
A few other cancer survivors I spoke with said that it was no big deal when their hair fell out. I thought to myself, “no big deal” for you maybe but for me it is. I went out and purchased a wig to have on hand for the day it happened. As two weeks neared, each time I showered there would be a little hair in the drain or on my pillow. My hair was beginning to thin out. Exactly on my two week due date, clumps came out in the shower. There was no way I could go to work (in a school) and risk having it continue to fall out in clumps (possibly) throughout the day. I got out of the shower and 1-2-3 chopped off my hair, threw on the wig and ran out the door. I didn’t give it much thought and surprisingly it really didn’t bother me. It was just something that had to be done.
The funny thing is both the faculty and the students thought I had my hair cut and colored. Everyone loved “my” hair. I had decided to buy a blonde wig and get something different and fun and I am so glad I did. I realized that the” thought of losing” my hair was much worse than “actually losing” it. It really wasn’t a big deal after all like other survivors had said. How many things in life do we dread or put off or worry about and live possibly in fear of when in reality if we just did it or said “yes” to it and got it over with, we could move on? Don’t get stuck or hung up on something because of fear. It probably isn’t half as bad as you think it is.
I didn’t realize that not only the hair on your head falls out, but hair anywhere on your body. This means REALLY QUICK showers!!!! Imagine taking a shower that involves NO SHAVING of the hair on your legs or underarms and using NO shampoo or conditioner. Add to that getting out of the shower and NOT HAVING TO COMB, BRUSH, STYLE, BLOW-DRY, SPRAY or use additional products on your hair! It’s a big decision of wig or which scarf to wear. By the way, even the wigs now have a memory in them so you don’t have to style them. No spending time coloring your hair or worrying about the roots showing either.
OK, now that YOU are jealous that I have no hair and you have to spend time on yours I guess I will share the negatives. Let’s see…there are none. Well, I guess it sucks that I have to draw my eyebrows on. When I wake up and don’t have my contacts in I really have to search for my eyes on my face without those eyebrows guiding me. They are kind of like the lights along the runway framing your eyes. It also stinks when midway through the day you look in the mirror and realize that you wiped off an eyebrow or part of one and wonder how long you’ve been walking around like that! People sometimes are polite enough to tell you that you have something stuck in your teeth but don’t know how to tell you that you are missing an eyebrow! I guess the only other negative is that the hair around your face hides the fat on your neck and chin and now that I have no hair and a short wig, the fat’s all exposed.
This has been a hot summer. I can usually take the heat but with chemo I have been indoors most of the summer with the air conditioning on. I was able to go away and spend a few days at the ocean. If I sat by the water’s edge where there was a breeze it was relaxing. This was the first sun I had been in all summer. I tend to tan easily and made especially sure to keep my head covered. After the first day at the beach when I took a shower and removed my head scarf I burst into laughter. It looked like I was wearing a white bathing cap!!!! My entire scalp was white…never having seen the sun…plus my hair growing back is white contrasted with my much tanned face.
Getting back to “God numbering the hairs on our head,” if you look at that verse in context it’s really saying that He cares about each of us and knows every detail of our lives. Matthew 10:29-31 in The Message translation of the Bible says,”What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” He knows what each of us is going through and we matter to Him. That’s why I can go through chemo (or really anything) in life. I know that He knows everything about me and cares. He has my back. I’d say that’s pretty reassuring and encouraging!