Hair, there, everywhere

Honeymoon hair, in all its natural glory. Sigh.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with my hair. As a child, before I learned of the brilliant invention that is the flat-iron, my hair was huge, frizzy, and unruly. I would break into a sweat while I attempted to blow-dry my thick, wavy hair into a sleek, straight mane, usually unsuccessfully, while developing cramping sensations in my arm.  I would ask hairdressers to thin it out as much as possible. I was always envious of girls who could just wash their hair and walk out the door, without looking like a bird’s nest had landed on top of their head.

Over time, I have come to appreciate my hair. With the right tools, I can wear it smooth and straight. I can also wear it wavy, or with more of a curl. I’ve learned that thick hair is, in fact, a good thing, and something many women desire. I receive compliments on my hair constantly, and somehow, it has become a huge part of my identity, and one of my favourite features.

And in a short time, I am going to lose it. It will thin, it will fall out, and then it will be gone. Be careful what you wish for.

A lot of people say that losing one’s hair is the most difficult part of the whole cancer ordeal. Because that’s when you finally start to look sick and when it all becomes very real. I don’t want it to become real. I want to run away and hide in a corner and wrap myself up in my precious hair and stay like that forever. But alas, in two days, I must go murder some cancer cells, so unfortunately I do not have that option.

I have been trying to prepare for the inevitable hair loss. I like to be prepared. I like to be in control. (Note: Control freaks and cancer do not play well together.) I cut off a great deal of my hair, in hopes that it would make the transition a bit easier. I’ve looked at some wigs and will eventually buy one, but am not thrilled about the prospect. Sure, it’s fun to try on different hairstyles and accessories. But ultimately, it’s a wig. Or a scarf. Or whatever. And I will be bald under it. And there’s not much fun about that.

Yesterday, on two occasions, I was told by strangers that I reminded them of Anne Hathaway. One woman said I should do a pixie cut style like Anne has been sporting as of late. I didn’t tell her that I likely would be forced to go that route eventually. Not because I have any choice. Not because I’m getting paid to star in an epic movie musical. But because I have cancer. And cancer doesn’t give, but it sure does take. It takes your plans. It takes your dreams. It takes your peace of mind. It takes your health. And it takes your hair. Your beautiful, flowing, thick hair.

Cancer sure is a greedy bitch.

But I will grin and bear it. I will make jokes. I will attempt to be the most badass bald girl you’ve ever seen. I will pretend like this was all part of my master plan, ever since I was a little girl and threatened to shave off my wild hair. Because when cancer kicks me, I will just kick it back. Harder. Right where it hurts.

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22 thoughts on “Hair, there, everywhere

  1. Stephanie honey, you are indeed a Suroff, a Fine, a Sadowski, a Herzog — all packed into one giant of a girl!!! Your outer beauty will always been seen, whether in a hat, a wig or neither — but your inner beauty is what really shines. The Herman, Litwack, Eisen family all love you and are rooting for you all the way!!!
    BIG HUG . . .
    Wendy

  2. Steph, you are an inspiration. Stay strong. We are truly all rooting for you. Sending good thoughts, some hugs, and lots of humour your way…

  3. For what it’s worth, some free advice: eat lots of lentils–they’re full of iron and other good stuff, and kale–it’s a super food that helps fight those cancer cells. And if you can, go for a walk near some trees every day. It’s called forest bathing: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17903349. Love is good too, and you have so much love in your life! Sending you more! xxoo

  4. your hair is great, and beautiful, but what makes you you is more beautiful and great!
    I’m with grandpa, stay strong……. we all love you

  5. Linked through to your post from an admirable transplant recipient we know, and just wanted to offer up my hat making skills. Several other tumblr bloggers can tell you how comfy my hats are, so think about it and let me know if you’d like one!

  6. You go girl!!!!!! Your boxing gloves are on and start punching!!!!! As your Mom posted you come from a long line of strong women and all those women are going to fight fight fight with you!!!! Keep blogging!!!!!!!

  7. Hi Steph. You don’t know me, but I found out about your blog from Deb G. Just wanted to say you have lots of people thinking of you. My identical twin Linda, currently undergoing treatment for acute leukemia, lost her hair recently. It was tough, especially because every time she looks at me it’s like looking in the mirror –with hair. Luckily, I’ve been having a lot of bad hair days. Anyways, to the rest of us, she still manages to be her gorgeous, fabulous self, inside and out. (You can follow her on twitter #lindaonleukemia if you need a hit of dark humour)
    Best of luck!!

  8. I just went through the same experience. I am a lot older than you. I have major respect for you. One of my colleagues at work just told me the other day that I would have never known how great I look with short hair, if I had not ever gone through cancer. So positives, do come out of a negative. The main focus is that we survive cancer. My hairdressers have been an amazing support team. They knew when I was ready for the wig, and when it was time to take the wig off and go funky and short. You will feel beautiful no matter what and will live life to the fullest, with your new, short, beautiful, even thicker, hair!

  9. Steph – your cousin (my friend) Lauren posted your blog. I want to wish you all of the courage, faith, love and humor you will need to get through this experience. You seem to have a great start on all of that. I had breast cancer and just celebrated my 4th year cancer-free and I wish the same for you.

    Take care,
    Teri Kinsella

  10. Way to go my darling grandaughter. I’m very proud of you. You, unfortunately, but maybe fortunately, have had great examples to follow in your grandmother and father so I expect nothing less. I just take it for granted that you are of the same “chip off the old blockhead” as your greatgrandmother Natalie used to say. Be strong my love……………. we’re all with you. Gramps.

  11. Steph you are so brave, i look forward to continuing to read your blog. Your outlook is inspring. You are an inspiration to us all.

  12. You just gave me chills. Tonight when I see you I’m going to teach you some martial arts so you can really kick the greedy b*tch’s ass! xox

  13. Amazing post. I can’t imagine how hard it will be to lose your hair and to go through all of this. Seems sort of silly how our hair becomes such a huge part of who we are….and how we also don’t realize it until we are forced to. The last paragraph of your post really shows how strong you are and how much fight you have. You are right, you are going to kick it back harder. Right where it hurts. I appreciate you sharing your journey with us…it is a very brave thing to do. I will keep reading your blog and following your progress.
    xo, Jennifer

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