One of the great things about having a cancer that’s untreatable by regular old garden variety chemo and radiation (ok, the only great thing) is that through it all, I’ve gotten to keep my hair. I’ve always been identified with my copious amounts of long red hair. Even when I had braces, glasses, bad skin and was freakishly tall, at least I had great hair. That wasn’t like last week or anything.
So I didn’t worry much when there was a little hair loss after my first surgery and after I started Gleevec. What are a few hands full gone between friends right? I had hair to spare – or as my mom called it, hair insurance. I also had myself convinced that as long as I had hair I couldn’t be a real cancer patient.
Big ass scar from pubes to boobs = I could be sick or it could have been a horrible scooter accident.
First name basis with an oncologist = Ok, I might be feeling a little under the weather or he might be a somebody I met while, um, jogging. Healthy people do that right?
The Look from friends and family that says “poor you, glad it’s not me” = alright, maybe I am a little queasy.
Full flowing locks = Fuck all the rest – I’m healthy as a horse.
Then I started Nexavar. Side effects may include hair thinning and patchy balding. Shit. But still not a problem – not everybody has everything on the list. Then 2 months in, the floor of my shower looked like Robin Williams’ back every time I washed my hair. The “dog hair” on the floor started getting kind of long and stuck in my toes (I really do vacuum, honest). And then, the worst happened. Friends stopped saying: “It’s not bad, you have lots to begin with” and “nobody will notice “. My now ex-friends switched to: “Yeah, it IS pretty thin.” I need new people in my life who can lie.
Three months later it’s stopped falling out but I’m left with thin shoulder length hair with patches of baby hairs under the top layer. It’s a good look. I’ve thought about getting it all cut off and starting over but I’m approx. 8 ft tall and the tiny little head look isn’t a good one for me. I’m afraid I’ll be mistaken for one of those little old ladies who get their remaining 12 hairs permed and end up looking like they had a pubic hair transplant. Or Shrek.
I’ve had offers from both my mom and MIL to buy a wig but I don’t know. It sounds hot and itchy and it IS growing back. I’ve settled on a pony tail most days because it tends to cover all the thin spots. I’ve also trashed every photo and video taken since late June. It had to be done.
So I’m torn between a wig, shaving it off and distracting people with big earrings, or just dealing with it. I’m leaning towards dealing – and hiding – while bitching about it to my poor dear husband every chance I get. I think he’ll be fine with that.