A recipe for living with cancer.

Posts tagged ‘hair’

Does this Make Me Look FAT?

Some things never change, like our perception of our body.  I have always been overweight heavy thighs, big butt and as I age growing waistline.  I have dieted up and down hundreds of pounds and have been obsessed with the way I look from the waist down.  My breasts and my hair have never been part of this obsession because you can always cover hair, pull it back or wash it quick in the sink if all else fails.  My breasts were always just there, an ok size and shape and neither offensive nor of particular concern.

Therefore I guess it was no surprise when I decided to “go commando,” as Tom likes to say, and not cover my bald head after losing my hair.  Apparently I have a nice shaped head with “no divots” as Brent and everyone else commented.  And caring for a bald head as opposed to a head of hair…incredible, fast, easy and you NEVER have to worry if it looks good! The hardest part was actually losing my eyebrows and eyelashes because this has a dramatic effect on the appearance of your face.  Judy mentioned the word ghost and I realized that is a perfect description of how you look without them.  I would get up each morning and there was a washed out ghostly look to my face and a person who I did not recognize.

As my eyebrows and lashes have come back (eyebrows are really thin, oh well) I look in the mirror and there is color once again and I am starting to recognize the reflection.

Having my breasts removed has also been a bit odd in that I have not “mourned” their loss, but been grateful to have the cancer taken out.  I am alive, what more could one ask for.

After all of this– Tom and I walked out Saturday morning to take a walk in the beautiful weather.  As we walked out the door I turned to Tom and asked, “do these sweatpants make me look fat?”

He looked at me in disbelief and said, “I can’t believe you are asking me if you look fat after going for all these months with no hair.  Are you crazy?”

Some things never change.

Here is a great picture of Tom and me at Elizabeth’s wedding in October.   We are starting to look like twins as my hair grows in! Do you think this dress makes me look fat?  Just kidding!

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I Can Pinch My Hair

 

This is a photo from the Grodanz Wedding.  There is Stuart with not a hair on his head, Ang far right with just a little growth, me in the turquoise with a shiny head and Stu’s sister Ellen with a bit more hair.  A handsome quartet of minimal hair!!!

Everyone keeps telling me my hair is growing back. They all say, “wow look at all the fuzz” and I just look in the mirror and don’t see much of anything. Then last night I was sitting there rubbing my head as I oft do now and I tried to pinch the hair. Until now I couldn’t pinch a thing, there was a small growth of stubble but nothing more to indicate the hair is actually GROWING. Last night I grabbed hair I actually got a grip and pinched my hair. What a revelation — it is actually growing back. I rushed into the bathroom and got the magnifying mirror and yes there is a smooth even fur all over my head. If it could just keep me warm…

Having no hair has been a life altering experience. I jump in the shower shampoo my scalp jump out, get dressed and I am ready to go. No bad hair days, no worries about hat head, no scheduling haircuts or dye appointments, no cost, no hair in the sink, in the drain, in the brush or in the eyes, no hair stuck in bands, no blustery day hair, no hairdo ruined from rain or snow. I love it. The downside is I am cold. Sitting in the house if the heat is not high enough I walk around with a cap or a hood. Going out without something on my head now is unthinkable, to cold. Not only cold but even if I wear a hat the cold goes right down my back.

Doesn’t matter, none of it, because I can pinch my hair!

The Colorado River is Drying Up

I have breast cancer and the Colorado River is drying up. Two terrible things seemingly unrelated yet in the vast scheme of life totally related and possibly caused by similar issues, the abuse of nature.  Water usage in the West has increased over the century with farming of animals, plants, population increases and other stresses on the environment.  Today natural gas fracking takes clean potable fresh water, fouls it beyond use with a hundred toxic chemicals and returns this fetid mixture back into the earth, damaging whatever it touches. Millions of gallons of water wasted in an endeavor which will make some rich, others sick and a few able to continue on this path of use and abuse while the Colorado River is drying up.

Breast cancer is caused by some unknown environmental scourge and or genetic error that causes cells to wildly replicate and threaten the life of the individual.  Much the way the loss of the water in the Colorado River is a wake up call threatening the life of people, animals and the environment surrounding it cancer is the bell weather of the body saying it is broken and we need to fix it.  We can fix breast cancer through a toxic mix of chemicals, surgeries and long term drugs to kill the cancer cells and prevent their growth.  Fixing is relative in the process of fixing the cancer cells, we also kill good cells, make the body susceptible to infection, compromise the immune systems, reek havoc on the hair, the taste, the skin, and the psyche.  In the end the body heals itself and gets back to normal, although it really is not normal.  Much as the Colorado River is forever changed, so is the body with breast cancer.  A body surviving breast cancer no longer has its original parts, the breast are gone and changed, the original hair is gone and changed, for those on continued medication, the original make up of the body is gone and changed forever.  We can survive breast cancer but we are never the same.

Fixing the Colorado River is a more complex problem involving not just one body responding to a care plan but hundreds, thousands of bodies, all with different genetics, demands, desires, needs, and entitlements.  The Colorado River Basin will never be the same, the beauty and grandeur has changed, it’s majestic flow averted, the life giving waters drying up.

As I move through the process of killing cancer, chasing the thief robbing my body of its original footprint and legacy at least I know I will survive, as opposed to the Colorado River, which is drying up.

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