Friday, January 16, 2009

Bald is the new black

Chemo has a lot of side effects, but it seems that losing hair is one of the most distressing for some. I have two theories as to why this may be.

1) I think it’s easier to imagine life is still normal and therefore within one’s grasp when the battle your body is waging is unseen. Messes can be washed up and medicines can be tucked away and things go on as they were. However, when evidence of the war moves to the outside of the body, one is made to face the frighteningly unknowable future.


2) It might just have something to do with feeling freakishly out of sync with the fashion moguls.

This is all complete conjecture, of course, in the name of trying to understand my mom’s answer to the question:

How are you adjusting to being bald?

She said:

I love being bald and I wish it would come into style as a normal option for women. It's liberating to not have to color, cut, style, etc.

It's so hard to remember that I don't have hair… I chat with people and they don't say anything about it, so I don't even think about it.

I do feel like I get some looks, but it's not uncomfortable. One of the older men in my building said that every time he sees me with my little caps on, it reminds him of his wife who passed away from a brain tumor 5 years ago. Most people know somebody who has been through chemo, so I feel like I get knowing and compassionate looks. I smile at everybody who looks at me and I feel a responsibility to represent the disease well and not give cancer victims a bad name.

To me this sounds like someone who’s not afraid to live. My mom still wonders why she got cancer and she still worries about what’s ahead, but she’s confronting it bravely…with a smile and a hairdo that goes with anything.

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