Yes, they have a name and they are called chemo curls. When I realized that my most recent Google searches involved products to straighten them, products to encourage hair growth, and statistics on how long it would be until my “normal” hair comes back, I figured it was time to write about it.
My head is more or less covered in these weird short ringlets that stick up every which way and I hate it. I used to have lovely thick salt and pepper (more pepper than salt) wavy hair that looked good short, long, and in between. It was one of my few vanities. Now I have this fine salt and pepper (more salt than pepper) baby hair that no product (trust me, I have a cabinet full of them) seems to be able to tame. And it’s growing in with a mind of its own — strange long pieces in the back, very short on my forehead to the point that I’m hardly able to make what passes for bangs. And scarily enough, I’ve taken to cutting here and there with my husband’s mustache scissors. I feel as if I look like Larry of the Three Stooges, except his hair was longer. Not a look anyone would go for, especially a woman coming off of breast cancer treatment and already feeling like “less” of a woman and largely unattractive.
Here’s the thing: I’m happy to have hair again and I hate to arrange for an official haircut and reduce the volume/length voluntarily, but my forays with the grooming scissors may force my hand. And it seems to still be growing, albeit slowly on top, so that particular side effect of the aromatase inhibitor (alopecia) doesn’t seem to be happening, so that’s also a good thing.
But haircuts aside, this hair of mine is a daily reminder of the fact that I am different on this side of cancer. And maybe that’s ok. I need physical reminders since I’m pretty dense these days. They tell me that it can take a year or more to get one’s hair back, ditto for how long it can take to feel like some version of oneself again. So perhaps my hair will be my guide on my return to the human race.