Gone yesterday but HAIR today….

256 days ago I wrote about loss…

The day Pete had to shave off my hair was probably the hardest day of my journey so far. When I have a bilateral mastectomy, nerve pain, uncomfortable post-surgery rehab, 6 months of chemo, drips, needles, stretched skin, reconstructive surgery, lymphoedema, tattoos and radiated skin to compare it to – that should indicate just how horrific it actually was.

Perhaps everything else was easier to handle as they could be seen as necessary evils – life or death decisions and choices. The loss of my hair however was like helplessly standing by watching an innocent bystander get caught in the crossfire. It’s only crime being true to its nature and consisting of fast growing cells….

But the biggest lesson I have learned along this journey is that there is a process to follow and no shortcuts to take. With loss there is always an opportunity for some kind of gain…although sometimes you have to look very hard for it…and sometimes its a long time in coming….

8 months ago when I lost my hair I honestly could not see much beyond that loss. It felt like parts of me were being sheared off with each stroke of that razor. And when I saw myself in the mirror for the first time newly shaven with my flat chest in all its scarred glory, it felt as though a large part of something in me just curled up waiting to die. I couldn’t even imagine ever being able to claw myself back from that and I certainly had no clue how I could ever leave the house…

But something else life and this journey have taught me… is that you do….

You get up in the morning, you get dressed you tie a scarf around your head and you face your future even when everything inside of you is screaming for you surrender, to put your hands up (sadly at the time I couldn’t even do that!),or pull the duvet over your head and just give up.

Generally and realistically speaking I guess we don’t have a choice – shopping has to get done, dogs and even husbands have to be taken care of, suppers made and whether you are present or not… life goes on.   Each morning comes whether you are ready for it or not, and the first battle you fight as you open your eyes is whether you go along with it or not…

I wanted to hide away and to never face anyone again as much as I wanted to get out there so that it would be over with; and surely if I could do it once I certainly could do it again the next day and the next……

I will never forget the first day I went out with a scarf tied around my head. I remember walking into the mall with my shopping list in my hand and my head down: so terrified I would bump into someone I knew. So terrified that the knots I tied were just not tight enough that I ended up with quite a headache and some very strange marks around my forehead by the time I got home!

Despite the fact that the Dent Doctor had said that I would probably only be without hair for the first part of chemo – the first 12 weeks, and despite the fact that I had not been completely bald throughout – my fluffy and unevenly growing excuse for hair really only started showing up with any sort of vigour after chemo was done. I use the term “vigour” rather loosely!

So the last 5 months post chemo my uncoloured (grey), uneven fluff has been kept literally and figuratively under wraps. My cunning plan was to motivate myself through radiation by promising myself a trip to Kirsten once it was over for a great reveal!

So last Friday I took the long awaited trip to Kirsten’s salon – not sure who was the happiest to see who! I left sporting my newly coloured, neatly trimmed, military style hairdo, sans a head covering.

I thought I would be a lot more excited than I was – after all this was a day I had spent 256 days aching for…

I walked into the mall to meet Wendy for a celebratory tea and all I could think of was how things had come full circle…including feeling exactly how I did that very first day with my scarf tied too tightly around my head – an alien: exposed and totally insecure!  It took everything I had not to reach down into my bag grab my hat and cover up.

Good things about having really short hair : No ironing, no blow drying, taking less than a minute to wash and condition, continued huge savings on the buying of hair products, not worrying about being windswept or getting my hair wet in the rain…

The best part? Pete has been “styling” my hair as he’s the expert on hair gel and the like! I definitely think he far prefers it to straightening my long hair 🙂

Down side: I don’t exactly have the facial or body features to pull off a pixie-like ‘do, so I definitely look like I may be considering a career in the military. I even feel I should learn to salute?!

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6 thoughts on “Gone yesterday but HAIR today….

  1. You have hair again, woohoo. It won’t stay short for long:) Once again you astound me with your ability to express emotions in words. You are such an inspiration and woman of strength. You are a true warrior in my eyes so maybe the short hair is a symbol of your fighting spirit. Love you. oxox

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  2. I agree totally with Jacqui. Your hair is truly fantastic – a bit like the woman you are and many women would aspire to be. I cannot express how it feels to be your friend. When are you going to write a book? With love xxxx

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  3. Its doesn’t seem all that long ago that we swept up the strands of hair off the kitchen floor – both with tears in our eyes… We’ve come a long way since then, and you’ve been through so much. Seeing you in the mall last Friday with hair again – and no hat – made me speechless, my heart wanted to burst – you looked like yourself again. But then of course, I said totally the wrong thing, and asked why it wasn’t green like you’d been telling me all day it was… It will carry on growing, and you’ll outgrow the military (which I know you can’t wait for) and until then, I’ll keep helping you with the gel because I can (and its WAY easier than trying to operate that straightener) and in the not too distant future, we’ll smile and laugh when we have to turn around, come home and check you put the straighter off. Thank you for choosing to get up and fight, even when you wanted to curl up and stay in bed. Love you always xxx

    “Curl it, cut it, dye it. At the end of the day confidence is the best hair style”
    – Anon –

    “They are not grey hairs, they are my wisdom highlights. I just happen to be extremely wise”
    – Anon –

    “Always act like you are wearing an invisible crown.”
    – Anon –

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