Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
“And forget not that the earth delights to feel you bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Kahlil Gibran
I woke up this morning thinking about what defines me as a woman – me as a person. The one firm conclusion that I came to is that my breasts have never played a significant role in the overall view of my feminine self. I never really had sizeable breasts to speak of. At best, I am an ample A cup. I was blessed with a good anatomy. At almost 5’11”, I have fortunately maintained a relatively slender frame throughout my life.
Hair (at least the hair upon my head) has been more of an issue. I have always had a desire for the long flowing locks that adorn the heads of models so dominantly featured in magazines. My hair refuses to indulge me in that fantasy. It grows slowly, always has. And when I say “slowly”, I mean I am lucky if there are 3” of new growth in a year.
Faced with the realization that I may need chemo and may lose the one thing I have always wanted, I decide to take charge of the situation. If I am going to lose my shoulder length head of hair, then it will have to be on my terms.
I have been told that following a mastectomy (bi-lateral in my situation) the upper body’s mobility is challenged and it could take as long as a couple of weeks before I have the ability to shampoo my own hair, let alone have the strength to blow dry it. So I make a bold yet well thought out decision. I will have my hair cut off before it has a chance to fall out.
I scour the internet for hair cuts that will be stylish but short and come across one that seems to fit the bill. Time is running out. My surgery is scheduled for January 13th and I won’t get back from a location work trip until the 10th. But I am determined to see this through.
With the support of my hairdresser, the salon where she works has agreed to allow me to come in on Monday, January 12th when the salon is closed to the public. This is one of the acts of kindness that has been shown to me since my diagnosis. The owners of the salon have experienced cancer within their immediate family. They make every effort to accommodate their clients that come through the door after learning they have breast cancer. When I volunteered to style a fashion show benefit for the Breast Cancer Survival Center back on October 5th, this salon was the first to agree to do the hair and make-up for the cancer survivor models.
Ironically, my second diagnosis of breast cancer would come just four days after that benefit. I still look back at the group of breast cancer survivors that I got to know so well. Many of them had a diagnosis far worse than my own. Yet despite the pain and emotional suffering that this group of survivors has been through, each radiated a glow that only comes from confronting a challenge and emerging triumphant!
So in the end the loss of my hair will be inconsequential. By making the decision to have it cut off I am once again taking another step toward facing cancer under my terms. My hair, just like my breasts will not define me. I will define myself!
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