Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The BALD and the Beautiful?

On Monday, I decided that I couldn't take the hair falling out anymore.  It was time.  It was time to "woman-up" and do something permanent about it.  But when the time came that night, I wasn't ready.  I couldn't do it.  I sat with my head in my hands and knew I wasn't ready.  My hair looked too good, I could last a few more days with hair!  It was okay!  I'd be more careful!  I would stop gleefully pulling it out just for fun!  I didn't even have any bald spots yet - sure it looked a lot thinner but I could live with that.  Maybe I could even wash it one more time.

Essentially, I chickened out.  And that's okay, because that's what I needed to do in that moment in time.

Hair Thinning, Me Looking
Bald Spots
Tuesday, however, things got much worse.  When I woke up there was hair everywhere in bed and my part had grown to about a half inch wide.  And I had bald spots.  Whenever I took hair to try to cover a bald spot, it just fell out in my hands.  I ended up wearing a hat that day.  But I had hair everywhere.  All down my shirt - I could put my hand down the front or back of my shirt and pull out clumps of hair.  It was in my food and in my mouth - it was all over the house.  I made the kids TV dinners that night and reheated leftovers for my husband and I because I knew that if I attempted to actually cook anything, there would be hair all over the place. Not so appetizing.

I knew it was time and I knew we had to do it.  It was one of the hardest and most traumatic things I've ever had to do.  No amount of mental preparation made me fully prepared.  Not really.

The Razor!  Eek!
I sat in the designated chair in the living room (hard wood floors seemed best for clean-up) and told my husband to get the razor.  He was excited that the opportunity to shave his wife's head was finally upon us.  I, on the other hand, saw the razor and burst into tears.  Which, of course, prompted my sensitive ten year old daughter to burst into tears.  As she hugged my leg, we both sobbed inconsolably.  And she said, "Mom, I'm going to go talk to the school counselor tomorrow at school..."  Knife through the heart moment right there.  Mother of the Year Award Gone!

And this is when my husband had his own mini-nervous breakdown and said he wasn't going to do it.  He didn't want to be the bad guy!  "You two are being unreasonable!" he shouted!  And stomped out of the room.  I was quick to label him as a jerk!  He emerged about 30 seconds later apologetic as my daughter and I continued to sob.  I don't think he was prepared to handle our outburst of emotion.  I said, "Just DO it!" and the razor powered up and my hair began to fall.

The Hair
And I sobbed even harder.  It felt like it was the last "feminine" part that cancer could take from me.  I have always loved my hair.  Even though I sometimes did crazy things with it (much to my Mother's dismay), I loved it.  It was always thick, always soft, always wavy and always there for me.  And now it was gone, along with my breasts.  And now everyone WOULD know.  Immediately.  They would know that I'm sick.  And I was going to have some explaining to do.

I cried for the first 15 minutes or so, softly, as I watched my hair fall to the floor.  There really wasn't that much left of it, considering the amount of hair I usually have.  It was the amount of a good haircut.  This is when anarchy ensued and the puppy took off with some of the hair and my daughter grabbed some hair to keep in a baggie.

The Buzz Cut.
The barber (my husband) had to go over it three times.  He cut it short with a razor attachment and it was a buzz cut.  We didn't know what to do at this point.  Do we leave it like that?  We had no idea what the usual protocol is for this sort of thing.  But when I reached up, I could still pull out clumps of hair so that seemed bad.  Little hairs would be EVERYWHERE!  Eek!  We continued on and the barber shaved it down closer to my head with just the electric razor.  Since we'd gone this far, we got a real razor and shaving cream and shaved it as close as we could.  In fact, the barber went over it twice with the razor and cream.

I was really hoping for a Mr. Clean look but, alas, it did not happen that way.  I have a five-o-clock shadow thing going on!  My hair is so dark and so thick, we could never get it all the way "gone."  Not that it matters, I supposed.  But, my hopes of making money on the side as a Mr. Clean look-a-like are now dashed.

The actual shaving was hard, emotionally and physically.  My head was so sore in places that it hurt - A LOT!  But, once it was DONE, my head felt so much better.  Not so sore anymore, not itching.  Relief!  I even looked in the mirror right away which is something I didn't think I could do. was okay.  Not great.  But okay.

I had to shower immediately after because I had HAIR everywhere!  In fact, I was still finding hair all over the house the next day.

I'm glad it's done, I guess.  It was a huge milestone, but very traumatic and one of the worst things I've ever had to do.  I know it'll grow a few months.  And, hopefully, cancer will be kinder to me now.  Because I don't have much more to give.

The barber got a little too intimate after the shaving.  Good
thing I know him!


  1. Um....excuse look pretty BAD ASS! I was expecting to see a sickly cancer patient! You rock the Sinead O'Connor look well my friend! I love that last picture. That barber of yours sure loves you!

  2. As I said before.... with or without hair... you are awesome! ~HUGS~
    Tamara A.

  3. Oh man! --hugs--tears--more hugs-- you are so ?!&@$;:() brave. Remember... It will grow back!

  4. Laura, I just have one thing to say and that is, "beauty starts on the inside", so that way I see it your are beautiful on the inside and out. I commend you for your bravery through all of this. You have blessed so many people during this journey! I am praying for you to have a healthy body from here on out! I just love you Laura you are an amazing person! Cancer can't have you because we all want you :0)
    Love and Hugs,
    Pamela :0)

  5. You are a beautiful woman,hair or no hair!

  6. I know I've told you this before...but I will keep saying it, you are one of the most amazing women that I have the pleasure of knowing, Laura. Cancer sucks, bottom line. Your big, bright, loving personality is no match for it. It may take things from you...breasts, hair, kidney, tears. But rest assured, it will not win. You are beating it, and YOU will win. Even with the tears you shed...I see COURAGE, SMILES, are AMAZING!
    I Love ya, sista. ~Shana

  7. I think you totally ROCK the look! "clean" or not ;) . You really are amazing. And I really don't think I every noticed quite how big and beautiful your eyes are.

    love you!

  8. You had my eyes welling up. You do ROCK this look. Hugs from SW Washington. Ummmm, one more both look nekkid in the last pic....:)

  9. You have a great head! It is all nice and round. Your mom did a great job rotating your head as a baby :-) I love that picture of you and Greg. At first I thought you looked just like some of Kyra's baby pictures when she had no hair. You are beautiful no matter if you have no hair or if you looked like a werewolf. I love you and think you are the most beautiful woman I know.

  10. I think you are beautiful and brave! See you and Kyra at school any day !

  11. Hi Laura! I know we've never met, so to speak, except electronically. We know Greg from our Bahamas days together, when he made delicious fish dinners (in exchange for a case of 'Ting) and kept tanks of tropical fish in his living room that he caught right outside the door.
    We like the new look - it suits you both ;-) Love the blog, too. Just FYI, you are obviously braver than anyone, anywhere, and with super smart kids to boot, and a pretty great husband too. Boobs are overrated, Joe always says. We just want to wish you every success on this journey, and will keep checking in to read your wonderful progress reports, looking for the day when all is back to "normal," whatever that is!

  12. Hey as always I am behind! I always wanted you hair too, especially when we were little and you had braids. I always wanted braids. But reading your posts reminds me about your tremendous spirit and stubbornness! I admire that most of all. That, cancer can never steal or over shadow; it is the essence of Laura. The one that through her pain, tears, and fear shines bright and brave for everyone else. Your blogs are amazing, but the power of you that bleeds through the words is EXTRAordinary just like you. I miss you and love you very much. Tommie