i was unpacking a box this week from our move in april 2012 and came across this picture of my grandma, nana. she was always so put together and would comment to me on occasion and in her sweet voice, “i really love your hairs. did you do something different to them?” it was a supreme compliment, given nana’s style and that my “hairs” were normally, according to my mom, a rat’s nest. we would later laugh at nana’s comment, amused at the cuteness of her word choice. i wonder what she would say now about my hairs? it’s typically the first thing anyone comments on. so, to save my breathe and mike’s boredom with the same answer on repeat, here’s an FAQ on my hairs post-chemo:
- was your hair always this curly? no.
- when you got it cut at the beginning of chemo though, wasn’t it that curly? no.
- why is it curly? no one understands the mechanism why it happens to only some cancer patients. theories abound–from my NP suggesting that hair is simply excited to be back and alive. or my own mind thinking all the chemicals of chemotherapy gave me a super legit perm. or my oncologist clarifying that it’s ontogeny recapitulation where the hair goes back to its birth state, which doesn’t seem accurate because i didn’t have an afro when i was born.
- how long will it last? um….let me get out my crystal ball. your guess is as good as mine.
- was your hair always this dark? no.
- do you think it will get back to its original color? see crystal ball answer above.
- do you like it curly? i’m enjoying it, because it’s quick, easy, and hair.
- will you let it grow out? i’m not worried about my hair right now.
having hair or not having hair is the most visible mark of cancer, so it makes sense that it’s the most talked about too. but, i’m over talking about it. i’m just thankful to have hair. a bald head in the winter gets cold. a bald head frightens small children walking down mission street of an afternoon. a bald head causes your neck and face to feel really vulnerable. a bald head renders you unrecognizable to people you’ve known for years. a bald head makes others feel uncomfortable or sorry for you. that’s the hair story.
i’m headed to my final, yes FINAL, chemo on tuesday. the final countdown! then we head out on an epic vacation where we will say many times: fuck cancer! and, live life! more on that soon. for now though, congrats to brian and lillian for a beautiful wedding, hugs to tara and mark on a beautiful baby boy Jonah, and my heart is with washington, illinois tonight.