Day 15, cycle 1. Well, guess I’m going to start to look like a cancer patient. I got out of the shower yesterday, towel-dried my hair, only to discover a hair shawl surrounding my shoulders. Today was worse, with large clumps of hair in my hands as I washed my hair in the shower. I was more or less prepared for this, and was warned by my doctors and other survivors that this would happen around the third week of the first cycle, so I’m right on schedule.
I had stocked up on “chemo” hats before I started treatment, only to discover that each and every one of them looks positively awful. I’ve never liked hats, not even in the winter, preferring ear muffs on the worst of winter days, so these will likely be donated to my treatment program for other patients. I may have better luck trying to fashion a turban out of one of my 50+ (no joke) scarves, but once I took a look at myself in a chemo hat, I decided that if my hair fell out, I was shaving it off. No wigs, no hats (unless I’m cold or unless I think I’m going to scare someone with my bald cancer-ness), Sinéad O’Connor all the way. The irony is not lost on me that I once cut my hair so short in the 1980s that the entire back and sides were modeled after her bold look.
I have always been very vain about and proud of my hair. It’s thick, wavy/curly, works short, medium length, or long, and at 61, it’s a nice salt and pepper requiring no color (gave up on that about 10 years ago when the maintenance wasn’t worth the difference in color). So it surprises me that I’m willingly giving up my hair and not fighting to keep it for as long as I have it. Cancer has a funny way of throwing vanity out the window (witness the retirement of all of my makeup beyond moisturizer).
But I am a little worried about suddenly “looking” like a cancer patient, since I’ve been able to pass as normal up until now. Not that I’m traveling in the world very much these days, but I suspect that my baldness will have an impact on the friends, family, and fellow park walkers who will see me. I hear that bald isn’t as scary looking as losing your eyebrows, so I guess I’ll have a chance to ease into this.
A local salon offers free head shaving for cancer patients, in conjunction with my treatment program, so off I go to make an appointment.