I never in my life thought I would type the following sentence and have it be true: Last night I shaved my head.
On Thursday, my hair started to shed. Slow at first, and then faster. I couldn’t resist pulling at it. Maybe I’m making it all up, and it’s not actually coming out. And then I would pull ever so lightly at a clump of hair, and it would easily slide off right into my hands, proving that yes, indeed, it was coming out, and fast. Yesterday after pulling out a decent chunk, I decided it was enough. Time to pull a Fantine and cut it all off. It was tempting to try to keep it as long as possible, especially since I have (had) so much hair. But I needed to get rid of it. To take control. To stop thinking about my hair falling out and start thinking about something else.
My little sister starting cutting and my husband commenced buzzing. I watched the entire thing in the mirror, which in retrospect, may have not been the best idea. Everything started off fine. I’m shaving my head, no big deal, people do this. We put on some upbeat music and made some jokes and laughed a bit. But then, as we got closer and I started to see the actual skin on my head, I lost it and entered full mental case meltdown territory. I don’t look like me. My hair is all over the floor. I am 28 years old. I have cancer. There is nothing OK about this situation.
After a brief but necessary pause and some major “you are not your hair” pep talk from my sister and a few deep breaths, we got on with it and powered through. No more tears. Just one more thing that needed to get done, so I got it done. A big check mark on the to-do list.
Everyone said the hair loss would be rough, and they were right. Actually harder than I had thought. I am a pretty confident person and it is not really a vanity issue, although I would be lying if I said I don’t miss my long, beautiful hair. But that’s not the hardest part. What’s difficult is looking in the mirror or catching my reflection, and being reminded that I am sick. That this is real. Before, I could try my best to ignore it. But now, it’s out there for all the world to see. For me to see. No escaping or denying it. This is happening.
So what is there to do, but wait for the tiny pieces that are left to fall to the ground, and move on to the next challenge, after dealing with this one in my own way, on my own terms.
My sister said I look tough and like someone she would never want to mess with. Normally I would never be able to intimidate a soul, so the idea that I maybe could, is kind of cool. My small silver lining for the day.
And here I am today. No wig or scarf. Just me… minus a few hairs.
34 thoughts on “My new look”
wow…utterly strong, beautiful women. inspirational x
Hi Steph. My daughter Rachel just told me about you and your blog. Just want to send all my best wishes. Know that I am thinking about you and cheering for you. From Shira Hart (Mrs. Hart at TSS)
Hey Steph. I just finished catching up on your blog and I wanted to write to you and this one especially caught my eye. I knew I wasn’t going to be the first to say this but I couldn’t help but think that you’re so pretty with a shaved head. This look really works for you and I think you should keep your shaved head even when your hair grows back, kind of like saying “fuck you mr.cancer, I’ll shave my head whenever I want to.”
I also think that a tatoo on your neck would make you look tougher. But that’s not a suggestion, just saying. At some point in life your neck will go wrinkley and so will the tatoo, and I assume it’s quite painful (sounds like you’ve been through enough). Anyhoo, if my sister reads this she’ll think I’m super nerdy for babbling on and on, but I don’t care. I wanted to say that I think you’re an amazing writer (although I am waiting to read future work that involves more cupcake eating and no cancer).
Sending you good energy from the holy land and wishing you great health for 2013 and beyond.
I think you look great!
I remember meeting a girl in Montreal who had shaved her head in the name of fashion. To this day I tell everyone of the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. But I will say that she’s the second most beautiful girl I have ever seen, you of course, our little cousin, is the first and one that we have the honour to love. Keep smiling, this is only a small step in your journey forward!!!!
Michele, Michael, Kate, Maddy and Patrick xo
Thanks Michele 🙂
Hi Steph! We don’t know each other but a friend of your cousin shared your blog with me because she said your optimism and humor reminded her of me. I was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer ER/PR Positive in April 2012. I started a blog like yours and would love for you to read it when you have some free ‘brain’ time. It is through the Caringbridge website: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/KathyUrich. You will need to backtrack by reading My Story first then start with the first journal entry on June 13th and work back. Cancer does suck but keeping a sense of humor (most days) helps! I would also recommend watching, HBO’s ‘The Education of Dee Dee Ricks’ she is awesome as she documents her journey through breast cancer. **Let me know what you think and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Oh, and I have also enjoyed watching this season of Parenthood on NBC (On Demand) it features a main character who is diagnosed with BC it is spot on and poignant. Sorry for the lengthy post 🙂 Kathy
Hi Kathy, thanks for writing. I’ll be sure to check out your blog. I am a big Parenthood fan as well, although it’s been a bit hard to watch lately because it hits a bit close to home, so I’m taking a bit of a break! Thanks for your message and hope you are feeling good.
So far this blog has a lot of fighting cancer but barely any eating cupcakes. What gives?
You are not the first to mention this! I promise you I have been eating cupcakes, among many other things. I think a post about me just eating cupcakes might be a bit boring and possibly gross, but I will try to work it in.
I have been where you are… and not that long ago. My last treatment was on September 4 and my hair is already 1.5 inches long.
Beauty from the inside out – cancer can’t take that from you!
Thanks for your beautiful words, you made me laugh and cry all within two minutes!
Keep fighting sister warrior!!!!
I’m sure you already know this, but it’s worth repeating, so please bear with me. Whenever you see what the treatment has done to your hair, I hope it will remind you that it has worked elsewhere. At the same time those drugs did damage to those follicles of yours, they were even busier kicking cancer’s butt. Let this be the last time you have to go through anything remotely like this.
I had the honour of finding your blog and getting to read your magnificent writing. I am so sorry you are going through this. I wanted to tell you that your talent and beauty glitter right off the screen. Your warmth and grace come shining through the computer so I can only imagine how very dazzling you must be in person.
Much love and strength.
Who needs hair with that beauty! You go, girl! Truly inspiring!
I’m just your Aunt, you are always beautiful to me with or without hair!
You look so beautiful Steph and not sick at all. You are crazy if you think otherwise. I am serious
Hair is just a fashion accessory and you need no accessories to make yourself beautiful! Just natural beauty!
I don’t know you, I saw your cousin post this blog on facebook. I just felt compelled to tell you that you are probably one of the few people who can actually pull off this look. You look fantastic. Killer bone structure and skull shape. 😉
Stephanie, You look Breathtakingly Beautiful! Truly!!!!!! shoulders back, head up..wear it proudly! your RI family is here for you and praying for you daily!
none of this has extinguished your glow thats for sure. You look radiant. And really beautiful…the bald look suits your features very well to be honest. And I am loving your strong resemblence to Ann Hathaway who is one of the coolest chicks ever. Inside AND out.
Oh-and keep rockin’ the red lippie!
I haven’t seen you in years, but only you could make shaving their head look glamorous!
Good Morning: my Grandma, who was quite the card player in her day, always told me you have to “play” the cards your dealt. You are doing an excellent job! Have a wonderful Christmas, Sweet Girl…
My first thought when I saw your picture was: “My God she’s beautiful”. Steph, you are stunning in so many ways. You’re approach to what you’re going through is very inspiring and I have sent your blog to a friend of mine who is also battling breast cancer. It is helping her not feel so alone.
Remember you’re beautiful and such an inspiration. Sending you the most positive vibes ever.
This is the kicking cancer look!! You look gorgeous. Bald is beautiful. XOXO.
To are beautiful neice ,love you maddly and so do the boys in the band a quote from Duke Elington,a great band leader of the 50,s ,Steph Aunt Fran and I think of you every day and that makes us happy.To hell with the hair it will be back ,it does not take away the beauty that shines and is always there.We will be going north to be with our two boys and their families for christmas dinner,Michele and Michael and children are in London England for the holliday and are all on your Cup Cake trip.I know you are also in their thoughts and prayers, We love you Kid .Stay strong and bright as you are.Your loving Aunt Fran and Uncle Jack.
It IS a great look on you.
My god you are STUNNINGLY beautiful-even with a shaved head-I just read this blog for the first time today-so I have no idea what you looked like before (except your little before photo). As a makeup artist I know a beautiful face when I see one. Not only is your visual beauty apparent-but so is your inner-more so I think-because- your head is shaved- and we focus more on “the windows of the soul”. And you have a beautiful one. Not sure if this will make you feel better (hope so though!), but it’s true and I wanted to say it,
You are beautiful.
We all know you are beautiful on the inside…yup, beautiful on the outside too!
You look absolutely beautiful. Now your gorgeous big brown eyes stand out even more. True beauty.
Steph you are so totally beautiful ❤
I can’t believe i’m saying this but, I wouldn’t wana mess with you either! In all seriousness you look as beautiful as ever. And you’re definitely still YOU..with your trademark red lips. Sending my love…xoxxx
I agree.. gorgeous 🙂