I will preface this entry by saying that I am fresh off of chemo this morning and still feeling the Benadryl haze. I typically try not write the same day I receive chemo. My fear is perceiving that I am coherently expressing my ideas but in reality coming across as the Swedish Chef.
Since I last wrote I did something…
With the help of my
hairdresser hair magician, Emily of Ky Michaels Salon, I am now rocking a lighter summer style. Some call it the Amber Rose…or just bald works too. As it was happening I couldn’t help but chuckle and recall the Seinfeld episode when George gets a toupee and then gets set up with a bald girl.
I went into the salon in hopes that we could salvage my hair since I still had so much hair in the back. Unfortunately what was left on top was very sparse and dead so Emily and I decided that it would be best to start over and cut our losses, quite literally.
The first time I lost my hair in 2013 it was deeply emotional and sometimes anxiety provoking. I wore wigs almost exclusively in public. I had not totally come to terms with the hair loss and was guilty of projecting. In a previous blog I ever so dramatically described the experience of walking in the gym donning a scarf as people staring and labeling me as “dead girl walking”. I grappled with this “cancer identity” for quite some time. In that point of my life I was also 25 and single. I was underweight, walking with a cane for several months, and looked visibly unwell. That being said my self-esteem was in the pooper. I had already lost my female reproductive organs and now my hair? My perception at that time was that I was being systematically stripped of my femininity.
WELL, I have come a long way in two years.
I have already done extensive emotional work that goes into being okay with being bald. It was just as casual for me to shave my head as it was for me to buy coffee or pump gas that day. I was in no hurry to head home and cover up my cue ball. In fact, I ran some errands and went shopping with Sheila totally uncovered.
I am not going to sugar coat this and say that being bald is totally fine and I was excited about the prospect of shaving it. I was finally just getting to the length, style, and color that I loved and now I had to start all over again. It’s an annoying process, period. At the same time I can say honestly that it is not conjuring up the anxiety or shame that it once did. As with most side effects of undergoing cancer treatment- it just is. I am at peace with that.
With that, some variations in my look over the past week…
Whether he knows it or not, credit for this attitude shift goes to Cory. Part of my anxiety previously stemmed from the fear of rejection by potential “suitors”. Now I am in a committed, loving, supportive, relationship and Cory has embraced this physical change. It is validating in a different way to have your boyfriend still look at you the same way, hair or not. An example of his support can be seen in this brief exchange:
Me: I want to dress up for dinner! Dress, heels, wig perhaps?
Cory: What, you worried that your head will get cold? (it’s over 80 degrees)
He’s just so cool about everything that I think he might be a robot programmed to always do and say exactly what I need when I need it. Tysoe family- I don’t know what you did to raise such a stand-up gentleman but THANKS! He is truly a keeper.
Now I worry less about what others will think of me when they see me wig/scarf/otherwise. Whether I wear my hair hat or a scarf is now mostly dictated by the heat index and my mood (or if my scarves clash with my outfit of choice). I am choosing to have fun with this and not treat it as a burden. Bonus-, it saves time in the shower! Who am I kidding? I will still take long showers. I admittedly just use the time I would have been shampooing to stand under the water like a zombie.
In other, less fun news. My nails are becoming more of an annoying issue. Some of them are starting to lift and one started getting a little oozy yesterday (as I am writing this I just know that my trainer Matt is passed out on the floor due to my gross disclosures, sorry dude). I have been soaking them in warm salt water and keeping them short which seems to help. I am afraid of an infection or worse, the nail falling off (shudders). Today one of the nurses took a look and I was prescribed an antibiotic to take at my discretion should the nail look like it is getting worse/infected. I am BEGGING the powers of the universe to please keep my nails intact. Hairloss I can deal with, the thought of nail loss makes my stomach turn. Does anybody have some industrial strength superglue? Let’s paste those puppies on!
Okay, I’m done grossing you out. I want to end with some EXCELLENT news:
Last weekend my friend/colleague Chris DaCosta ran a 1/2 marathon and did awesome! Not only that he took this opportunity to give back to the community. He decided to raise money for The Izzy Foundation, a non-profit that my oncologist started in loving memory of her daughter Izzy. Chris not only trained hard and fundraised but he also put his money where his mouth is by volunteering with me in the Izzy room at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Overall he raised almost $1900 for a great cause.
I am so honored to call this dude my friend.
On that note I should probably nap off the remainder of this Benadryl haze before I herdy derdy flurpity floopin….
(Have a great weekend everyone!)
My love, it was a pleasure having you in class last night!! So proud of you! Definitely enjoyed reading this and loved the Seinfeld reference !!
When we all struggle with what next to do with our hair we should be aware of those who do not have a choice ~ I will choose to love my hair today as it is. I will look forward to see what erupt next after your treatments… and BYW.. I absolutely love the Swedish chef so don’t hesitate to go there. xo love you lady! Fran
We love you and are so proud of you and who you are. Glad to say we are part of your wonderful family. You are my inspiration in life.We love you.
My dear Jessica, if I remember correctly the moment that you were born you were hairless,and you were very beautiful, as you are today. I love you Dad.q
Much love your way!!! Beautiful inside, out, hair no hair! You got it lady!!!
Jess you are the most remarkable person I know and beautiful! Cory is also very lucky to have found you. You remain in my prayers.