It’s not just hair

Physically, I’m feeling pretty good this week. Why am I letting my emotions get the best of me?

The “name my wig” contest was supposed to snap me out of this funk. Everyone has been so kind and supportive. Their suggestions have been incredibly thoughtful. My family and friends care. It’s still not enough. I’m ashamed. This is a short term thing. It will grow back. Grow up Linda.

Nothing could prepare me for how difficult losing my hair is. My hair has always been a thing I could count on. Thick hair. Never particularly well styled, but always strong and a lot of it. Sure, I always wanted it straighter or curlier. Less frizzy. But really, it was always normal enough within the realm of normal. I was okay with it. Normal was confidence.

Nothing else is normal right now. Can’t I just have normal hair? How will I be confident wondering if my wig will slip? How will I look at myself in the mirror with no hair? What will I see?

Will it be easier once it’s gone? I can hope. I tell myself that will be true. It’s just hair, right? I’ve got the wig. Baseball caps. Chemo caps. Arty scarfs. No big deal, right?

When I slick my hair back after my shower and ring the excess water out, there’s less hair to hold in my hand. Having the hairbrush full of hair each time I pull it through is a feeling I’m struggling to describe. It’s scary. It’s gross. How much will the brush hold tomorrow? How much hair will I clean off the floor? How much hair will be clinging to my robe?

At what point should I shave it off? How will I know when the time is right? Right now, my hair probably looks normal to most people. My hair was so thick two weeks ago that it doesn’t look thin now. It’s just thinner to me. When will my scalp start showing? Will I be me in another day or two with even thinner hair? Will I be more me wearing a wig? Am I not me without hair?

Why do I feel this way?!

9 thoughts on “It’s not just hair

  1. I am sitting here feeling that I would feel the same , and asking myself why. Here is what came to mind:

    My hair is a part of my body, not just a covering for my head.

    Hair has long been a source of pride for women and men. Our hair is unique to each of us. Like our fingerprint. Not too many people could get their hair cut exactly the same way as someone else and have the two heads of hair look exactly the same.

    If I lost a finger, or arm, or leg, or other body part; the pain and sense of loss and why it causes pain and loss and my right to that pain and loss would be clearer – although, if I had long shapely fingers, or beautiful hands, or a lovely leg…

    I think my response to a wig would be like any other prosthetic – I can use this! What do I have to complain about? I’m alive! It’s just an arm! Right?! Right?!

    And, living the slow loss…

    If I had to watch my arm shrivel first? If I had to be the one – day by day, morning by morning, shower by shower, hair brushing by hair brushing? If I had to be the one who decides when to cut it off? I think that would add to the horror of the loss.

    And…It will grow back…

    Will it? Does it always? Does it ever not?!

    It isn’t just hair. It is beautiful – long and thick and shining. And the loss of it will be the loss of a part of
    the body you perceive as you.

    But, you are one tough cookie. You will figure this out day by day, moment by moment, just as you have been figuring things out your whole life. You will meet and talk to people who have been through this. You will surround yourself with all of your people who love and support you. You will bring all your intelligence and strength to bear on this most difficult time, and you will come out the other side.


  2. Oh Lin. Full disclosure…

    I just got the judgement for my divorce yesterday…

    As far as the money is concerned, most of it was split 50/50, but she awarded him a beautiful ring that his mother gave to me because she loved me, and 3 of our 4 oriental rugs and…and…and…

    I thank you for the gift you gave me this morning: the opportunity to look at loss and my identity – personal and social – and what is a loss to me and what is my identity and what losses affect my identity.

    I have had some really good cries. Fortunately, I have family with me this weekend to help, but there you are in your pain having the strength to share it, and I am here in my pain having the strength to share it.

    Person helping Person. Moment by Moment. It’s the best the universe gives us. OX


  3. What Mary said was perfect. I can not imagine what you are going through but you will get through it. It might feel like a lifetime but as we all know time passes quickly. I pray for you and I send you strength but we all know you are incredibly strong already. Hugs!


  4. I have been sitting here trying to put in words what I’m feeling. I just read Mary’s post and she said it perfectly. Your honesty is humbling. Hugs.


  5. This post really brought me closer to feeling what you’re going through. The images you call up are so visceral. I can’t think of anything to say that might make you feel better about it, but maybe your own writing has already done it. It really takes courage to look at yourself so truthfully, more courage than just looking in the mirror. I think you’ll help others as well as yourself with the power of your writing.


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