Hair Moments

Chapters could be written about the hair adventure. I’ve just picked up the highlights of the last few months and written cliff notes to that novel.

December 26, 2010 I wore my wig out yesterday to Jess and Randy’s for Christmas dinner. When we got back to our house, I took it off. Will saw me and said, “Mom, I like you the way you look with your wig on… but I like the way you look with it off too. I just love you, Mom, however you look.” :)

The wig is funny. I wear it out, mostly to school, so that I look normal. However to me when I have it on, I feel like I’m in disguise, but then I pass a mirror and think, “Yeah, that’s more like me.” By sight. By feel, it’s so fake. At home when I have it off, it feels better. The new normal in my house. In general, I’ve given up putting a hat or the wig on when someone rings the doorbell. I’ve found my crotchety old mail man is nicer to me bald than when I have hair.

Facial hair may have thinned, included my eyelashes, but didn’t fall completely out. Now what? Vaniqua? A cream to slow hair growth. But if chemo can’t make it fall out, what the heck does Vaniqua have that slows it down? My hesitancy in putting that on my face: anhydrous. Listed as an ingredient on the tube. Crazy. Of course I know it’s some derived meek strain, but still, anhydrous? That’s the spray that kills weeds in fields. When that was sprayed on the ground was one of the few times on the farm us kids were pulled into the house. It’s poisonous. Now I’m given something with a mutated version of anhydrous to dab on my face? Can’t get my mind around that one.

January 5, 2010 Hats. Packing to go out for the day. My warm floppy knitted hat – plausible that there may be hair underneath. Sleeping hat – doesn’t fall of in bed and adds an extra layer of insulation under the floppy. The gingerbread fleece hat – it floats on my head, obvious that I don’t have hair. Indoors: Any hat becomes a grab’n’go to take the chill off.

March 1, 2010 I’m sitting waiting for labs to be drawn – one last check before starting radiation. Sitting her cap-less – because I have hair. Well, to Zazu, my friend the Papillion puppy, who cocks his head and looks at me hard as if to say, “My goodness, that woman is bald!” And except everyone else here who didn’t see me without this grown-back crew cut. To them I still don’t have hair. But it’s there. More color and chicken fuzz soft.

March 21, 2010 I ran into a friend a couple weeks ago who went through chemo two years ago. She’s one of those women I have in my ring of strong and formidable. While it was great to see her, it was fantastic to see her eyebrows and eyelashes! They outlined her sparkling eyes. When we went to Bill’s holiday dinner in December, I had eyebrows. I clearly remember darkening them just a bit with an eyebrow pencil.

Then a month later, getting ready for another evening out, I got my eyebrow pencil out and took off my glasses. Then I leaned in close to the mirror. And closer still. Four inches from the mirror. Where the hell did my eyebrows go? There was nothing to add a little color to. I could have drawn in any shape eyebrows I wanted. I opted for chemo camouflage and just put my glasses back on. I thought my eyebrows were going to stay with me.

This followed a memorable, happy occasion: I woke up in January one night sleeping on my stomach! I hadn’t been able to do that since June. Did my eyebrows get rubbed off on my pillow with renewed stomach sleeping?

Last Thursday I met another of my strong and formidable friends. She was about a month ahead of me in the same chemo treatment. Sporting the same haircut as me, she looked great. But I was enamored by her eyebrows. “Your eyebrows are beautiful!” They were completely grown in, lush and full of color. They capped off her sparkling eyes.

Bill and I took the boys to Lion King last night and there was just enough little eyebrow seedlings to give a touch of color to. And eyelashes, although they are growing straight out, reminding me of a pointer dog.

Getting up to leave my writing spot at Panera’s this morning, a woman stopped me. “Excuse me, I love your hair and I’ve been thinking about going with that style. Can I just ask you how often you cut it to keep it that style?” I thought this would happen; I didn’t think it would be this soon. Have I crossed the line from being a chemo patient to a hip woman confident in a half-inch hair style? I grinned as I explained I was recovering from chemo to her horrified face. Still smiling, I reaffirmed that I was fine and thanked her for the compliment.

March 22, 2010 I stopped wearing my wig last week. After affirmations from friends that kids at school would be OK with it, one morning last week, I just couldn’t put it on before going to school. Drop-off and pick-up at school were the only times I donned the thing. “Will, I think I’m done wearing the wig to school. Are you OK with that?” “Sure, Mom.” It’s a well-known fact that Liam prefers me with “Casey hair.” The first day I wore my big floppy sun hat. Good for the beach but felt a bit silly at school. The second day I went as me, still with the camouflaged triangle of glasses, earrings, and a hint of lipstick. All was OK. To any shocked kids' comments of “You got your hair cut!” I simply responded, “It’s really short now, isn’t it?” And left it at that. Most let it go at that. Some conferred with their moms about what the heck was going on with my hair.

March 23, 2010 I took Will to get his passport renewed this afternoon. And I had to provide ID. My chemo camouflaged face looked nothing like the mom’s face on my driver’s license. Thankfully, the woman helping me with the application discreetly held on to my license to compare my signature on the paperwork to that on the license.

March 28, 2010 Booting up the computer at Panera’s this morning, I saw a brief but solid outline of my eyebrows in the dark reflection of the monitor before the blue welcome screen popped up.

Staying strong and holding out for a ponytail,