My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

28 December 2013

it's just hair, right?

The next traumatic stage in cancer treatment is hair loss. As many of my friends and family know, anticipation of this inevitable "side effect" has weighed me down of late. It didn't ruin Christmas, and I haven't crawled in a hole intent on hibernating for the next six months. But, it has been a fate to contend with.

 On Christmas Eve, my hair started coming out in chunks. I couldn't take it. So on Christmas Day I had my mom cut it down to something super short, so the pieces that fell out wouldn't be quite so alarming looking. This was the cute result. Not bad, eh? It gives me hope that I won't have to wait long for my hair to come back in before I'll be comfortable without the scarf.

Unfortunately, this cut only lasted two days. All day long, everywhere I went, I was rained upon by my own hair. It was EVERYWHERE! Individual strands caught in my shirts, on my kids, in Caleb's beard. It was all over my pillow in the morning and it was clogging the shower drain. So, two days after Christmas, I had my sister Amy cut it even shorter. And you know what? It wasn't that bad! Not necessarily a look I would choose for myself, but I don't mind it, either.

Amy cuts her husband Hans's hair all the time, so she was the perfect person for the job. Hans and I now have the same hair cut. Its a toss-up on whom it looks better.

Well, even though my hair is down to about a half inch, its still falling out all the time. And even though the pieces are super short, they're still getting everywhere. And I'm starting to get little bald spots. So, to keep the falling hair in check, I am now wearing head scarves. The one I'm wearing here my friend Wendy and I found in a thrift store in uptown Whittier. Its awesome. It was only $4.99. This pic of me and Wynnie was taken while we waited to be seated at IHOP. We're classy like that.

I was fairly certain the girls would eventually want to copy Mama's style, so I put bandanas in all their stockings at Christmas. Initially, they were totally ignored. But, tonight, after just two days in head scarves, Josephine came to me wanting to put hers on. And of course, Ella had to follow suit. This is the best picture we could get. Eleanor, in particular, is rather uncooperative when it comes to pictures. Well, she's rather uncooperative no matter what. She's 3.

And so I've entered the head scarf-wearing phase of cancer treatment. I don't know if its all the prayers of the masses, my own dependence on God's strength to get me through the tougher moments of this process, or my own general sense of all things being an adventure, (its probably all three), but it hasn't been as traumatic as I thought it would be! In fact, I'm kind of anxious to get the hair-falling-out phase over with. I'm already tired of cleaning it out of hats and scarves and drains.

In fact, if one were to look at the bright side of things, there are some distinct advantages to baldness. There are no bad hair days. Showers don't take as long. I don't have to take the time to blow dry and style. I won't have to pay for a hair cut, or dye, or shampoo,  for quite some time. And there are a million ways to wear scarves and hats. I can try out gypsy style, pirate style, biker style. And what a great opportunity to show off my earring collection!

I know there will be days I will be tired of it all, but overall ... I intend to make chemotherapy look good.

1 comment:

Heidi Stokke said...

Great cuts Heidi! Judi and Amy did a great job and I think that you look fantastic! Many of our parents at St. Jude shave their heads to match their kids, so it's a real family affair. Praying for you always with love, Heidi and Mike