After my initial cancer diagnosis, do you know what made me cry the most? The thought of losing my hair. L Not the fact that I might have a double mastectomy at some point, but the thought of losing something that I feel defines who I am as a person. Is that weird? It’s only hair. It will grow back. But it’s MY hair and it’s the one thing that has always given me that identity of who I am (in my opinion anyways).
After extensively confirming with my doctor/nurses that I would indeed be losing my hair, I decided that I WANTED TO BE IN CONTROL. If this was going to happen, it was going to happen on MY TERMS, not cancer’s.
So when does your hair fall out? Following your first chemo treatment, they say that you can start losing clumps of hair anywhere from 7 – 14 days afterwards (or something like that). Some people cling onto their hair for as long as possible as it starts to thin and others just decide to shave it right away.
Have you ever heard the song “Skin” by Rascal Flatts? It has always been one of my favorites and I have listened to it countless times since my diagnosis. It always makes me tear up, but it also brings me a smile. J The song talks about a high school girl who gets cancer:
“Sarabeth is scared to death
As she sits holding her mom
Cause it would be a mistake
For someone to take
A girl with no hair to the prom
For, just this morning right there on her pillow
Was the cruelest of any surprise
And she cried when she gathered it all in her hands
The proof that she couldn't deny…”
“The cruelest of any surprise.” Yup….that sounds about right. No matter how mentally prepared you try to be for this moment of hair loss, I think it can be emotionally intense and painful. When will it happen? Who knows?? What’s the best way to get through this? To make sure you are surrounded by those that love you when it happens.
Friday, January 11, 2013 was the day I shaved my head. Correction….my family helped me to shave my head. J
Wanting to save at least one of my reddish curls for a shadow/inspiration box of sorts, I took the first swipe with the scissors. Snip. Instant *TEARS*. And then like a contagious yawn, I saw the tears pass to the all the faces of my family in the room. Okay….be strong Renee….you don’t want the kids to be crying about this!! It’s ONLY hair!
My tears subsided after that initial swipe of my hair and then all went well with the rest of the shaving.
Donned with a garbage bag over my body as a cape, I sat down in our master bathtub to have my hair cut on MY terms. It took a little coaxing and encouragement, but I got Deion and Anika to actually cut some of my hair off with a scissors. Piper was visibly upset, so I told her she didn’t have to do it if she didn’t want to. She hung in the background until Aaron started in with the shaver and then she too, decided she wanted a turn.
After we were done, I took a quick shower and boy was my head COLD! Seriously, I didn’t realize how much insulation my hair provided. I kept wanting to throw it up in a towel turbin…it felt so weird to not have it there anymore.
Next, we sat down to chat with the kids and tried to answer any questions they might have about my hair. We told them that chemo is a super strong medicine used to kill cancer, but that meant that it would also make me lose all of my body hair, including eyebrows, eyelashes and nose hairs at some point. (In fact, I was talking to a lady undergoing chemo and she said the weirdest sensation was feeling a “draft” on her upper lip because she could feel herself breathing through her nose without any hair to filter the breeze. That’s something I never would have thought of.)
So there you have it. 2 rounds of chemo down..check. Hair shaved…check. Only 16 more weeks of chemo to go!
I know you all want to see pictures, but I need to download from my camera and sift through the ones that I would like to post.
I played in a volleyball tournament yesterday and have more pictures to share from that as well. LOVE MY DIVA VOLLEYBALL TEAM! (They, along with several other teams went out of their way to make my day and honor me. And that is exactly how I felt….HONORED.)
(Oh, and if you haven’t heard the song “Skin” by Rascal Flatts….you should check it out on You Tube. It’s such a touching song…I hope you like it. J)
Love to all,