Losing my hair

When I first got the news that I might need chemo, what concerned me most was losing my hair. Of course, I didn’t like the idea of poison coursing through my veins killing off my immune system (that I had ironically worked hard to get strong over the last few years since my dairy allergy diagnosis). However, the one aspect of chemo that brought me literally to tears every time I thought about it, was the idea of losing my hair. I’ve been dwelling on this lately and looking at why it is so emotionally charged since it is pretty much a given at this point that I will indeed lose my hair.

I really like my hair. I have played a lot with it over the years, Short, long, curly, straight, even asymmetrical in college. I’ve always felt that you could tell a lot about a person by their haircut. So now my lack of hair will say something about me. It will say “cancer patient”. This is hard to be with. Of course I know that I can wear a wig. But that seems false in a way because people can always tell it’s a wig. And what does that communicate anyway? “Cancer patient who doesn’t want the world to know.” I don’t really care if people know. I think basically I just don’t want to be a cancer patient. 

Vanity plays a role as well, of course. I have never thought I looked good with short hair (don’t have the cheekbones or something) and I am pretty sure that will be true for me bald as well. So I’ll have to get over that. I’m not a scarf person except around my neck, but I do like hats. I will wear stylish hats. And it will even be appropriate since it will be Fall and Winter when the chemo happens. Now that I think about it, I’ll probably need to get some beautiful earrings as well. They will stand out a lot more on a bald head so they’ll need to be beautiful. It’s amazing how I can turn even the most dire circumstance into a shopping opportunity!

It’s interesting to note that there have been artists and actresses who have intentionally gone bald for a look or for a role. Think Sinead O’Connor or Natalie Portman. That would be a positive mindset shift. Maybe I’ll just walk around as if it’s a statement I’m making and not the effects of chemo. Confidence would be key in this regard. I think I can do it. I think I can rock my bald head! And then I’ll grow my hair back.

I’m learning there are multiple levels of bravery to this cancer thing. And there’s certainly nothing easy or fun about it. But I will make it through. And that is because I have to.

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laura hussein - August 21, 2013

I have a friend who is young, and a model, and she has very coarse and curly hair that she says grows up and out, but never down. She regularly shaves her head, and I notice she does her eyebrows perfectly and wears a lot of mascara and some eye-liner to create that lovely look that Sinead O’Connor and Natalie Portman have sported. Just a thought!! ALso, scarves? Turbans? cute knit hats? I guess you’ll find what fits YOU and is YOU, as always. <3

Karen - August 21, 2013

Laren – I TOTALLY get it about how much you don’t want to lose your hair. I would feel the same way… but I wanted to share with you what I found out about wigs. you will NOT believe the wigs today. You cannot even tell they are one. They’re lightweight, you can see the ‘part’, and you don’t feel all sweaty or anything.. There is a wig shop next door to where i get my haircut and one day, my GF and I tried them on. They feel like your own hair. The owner was telling us how many women wear wigs just for fun! I’d be happy to go with you 🙂

Paula - August 21, 2013

Laren. I totally get it. I would have all the same feelings as you. One thing to keep in mind is that you can have a wig made from your own hair. A friend of mine did this a few years ago and it was amazing. If you want more info. on this, let me know. If not, I, too, say rock the bald (if, in fact, you do lose your hair–not everybody does)!! 🙂

Eileen - August 21, 2013

Hi Laren, I’m here thru the link that Leslie posted on FB. I just wanted to let you know I totally get it. Been done w/ chemo for 3.5 years now, and there’s a full head of hair on the other side 🙂

For the most part, if caught early, you feel fine at diagnosis–I know I did. I didn’t feel sick, I didn’t feel like there’s anything wrong with me. Maybe you have a lump, but I didn’t. Losing my hair made it “real” in an undeniable way. Obviously having a port implanted, being cut and reconstructed and radiated and medicated were all very physical and real experiences, but I could hide those things from people that didn’t know me. The baldness was a statement. I couldn’t be anonymous and everyone knew my business. I became the center of conversations, and it took over my life.

Feel free to get my number from Leslie if you ever want to chat…or you can read my story over at http://www.mynameisnotcancergirl.wordpress.com. I haven’t updated it in years, but my chemo journey is all documented there.

Sending peace and blessings to you as you go through treatment and life as a cancer warrior.

Lori - August 21, 2013

Its amazing how much our hair becomes part of our identity, but its silly when you think about it. You will totally rock the bald head! But if you decide not to I say go for the beautiful earrings and get some great hats!!

Lyn Burg - August 29, 2013

I so admire your strength, your honesty, and your good humor. Many Blessings towards your healing!!! Xoxo

Joanne Baxter - August 31, 2013

Your mom is my dear friend. I am from Seminole, Oklahoma. We have met a number of times over the years. When your mom e-mailed me to log on to your web site, I was eager to read about your new business and to learn from you. It took my breath away when i read your blogs. From the moment I began to read about your diagnosis and your beautifully worded reactions, I knew you were your mother’s daughter. I can only send my heartfelt wishes for the VERY BEST for you and your family. I know how close all of the Rusch clan is. I know they and your many many friends will be beside you all the way. Count me as one who will keep you in my positive thoughts for the days to come. You have given so much to others . . . .I hope all of us can give back to you.
With love, Joanne

Suze - August 31, 2013

Laren, Send me your mailing address address and list of favorite colors and I’ll mail you earrings. I’ve been making lots for the fall shows.

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