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.