Hiking Cancer 4


I have never considered myself a vain person. I gave up makeup when my first child was born. Who had time? My hairstyle is wash-and-wear. I don’t even own a blow dryer. I have no use for hair gel or spray or mousse. The sloppy bun look was norm. I get a hair cut once or twice a year.  Now my oncologist does my hair.  And I don’t think she’s doing a good job.

But on the bright side, I saved money on shampoo and conditioner. I haven’t had to shave in five months.  But I didn’t save on water- I still continued “washing my hair” as if I still had it. It took me six weeks to realize I was doing that.

Losing my hair was a bigger deal than I thought it would be.  Deciding whom all to tell in the beginning is a challenge. I vacillated between keeping it private and letting people now. But in the end, people just know.  Being bald, there’s no hiding it if I wanted to. You know how in the movies if they want to show someone has/had cancer the person is shown wearing a scarf. That’s me now.

It was right around Christmas when it became apparent I either start wearing hats and scarves, a wig, or be bald in public.  That last option was not going to happen. I know there are women who do so, and there is a movement to encourage it, but it isn’t for me.  I thought I’d be ok with being bald around the house and dress up in public.  I left a text for my daughter on her way home warning her that I look very different.  Impulsively an hour before she was expected to arrive I decided to cover up.  She admitted later that although she was willing to accept whatever I decided, she was really glad I wore a cap.  Although it has not been a discussion with either of my sons, I have always covered up for them as well.

In fact I have covered up 24/7 since. Lynn is so supportive and of course tells me it doesn’t matter. But it does to me. I don’t want him having any memories of me being bald. In fact I don’t want them either. I avoided mirrors for at least 2 weeks before I finally looked at myself sans cap. I looked like an alien.

Caps and scarves are more comfortable. I did wear a wig once, just because I missed my hair.

I know, I know. It’ll grow back. In the meantime it’s really damn annoying.

March 24, 2013

Links to the entire series about Patti’s battle with cancer listed below: