Milo and I are only too happy to show we are mushy and in love, just ask anyone who is stuck spending any time with us. I adore my husband and cancer has only given me more reasons to be extra expressive. Should this not end in our favor, I don’t want my husband to ever doubt that I loved him very much. I also want him to have wonderful memories of us to get him through the rough patches.
Tonight, though, Valentine’s day was slightly overshadowed by my cancer. Our original plan had been to simply stay in and spend time together, but we ended up on a double date with some friends of ours. I was actually really excited for the chance to get even slightly dressed up for a night out with my handsome husband. I spent a while considering the right outfit, what jewelry (not that I have much that I wear) I would wear and what shoes…
But then, I got to my hair.
People have been really impressed with how well I am taking the hair loss. In all honesty, I do love that I simply have no hair to worry about fixing in the morning. It doesn’t have to be wrapped in a towel for a half hour to dry anymore, so showering is a lot faster. I never have to worry about it getting in the way when taking care of my patients. Plus, I felt strong being the one to decide the hair was going to go rather than letting the chemo steal it away bit by bit. I went down with a fight, what more could I ask?
The trouble today, however, was that without my hair to style and finish off the outfit, I felt…naked. I didn’t feel especially feminine or beautiful. Looking in the mirror at my cute little outfit, my Lia Sophia jewelry from Milo at Christmas, I wanted cute curls to go with my style. But what looked back at the mirror was simply short spikes.
I was incomplete.
This isn’t the very first time I noticed my lack of hair. Trust me, people have been bringing attention to it whether I have a wrap on or not. Patients are especially nice about dancing around the subject, but even they ask. The habits I had of playing with my hair still exist, even if I no longer have the hair. When I am tired, I reach longingly for the missing locks to roll between my fingers. This past weekend at Milo’s parents, I even reached nervously up to brush my hair back behind my ears; I wasn’t surprised to find it missing, but dismayed that I had the habit so ingrained that I moved phantom hair. It’s almost as if a limb is missing and I can still feel it. My hair seems there sometimes, despite the fact I know it is gone. Still, I am struck sometimes by my reflection or shadow. It’s an odd sensation to think you have hair and look up only to find it is gone.
Mostly, I don’t think about it. I wear one of my cute head gear options, especially loving the large flowers, and prance around all proud of my cancer badge. I am surviving, what’s not to be proud of?
Tonight, it just wasn’t right.
I almost cancelled our date. Nothing I put on felt right: not the flower or hats, bald was just wrong. I couldn’t rectify what I wanted to look like tonight –the beautiful princess heading out on a romantic date with her prince– with what was looking back in the mirror –cancer patient heading out with her handsome prince. I wanted hair. I wanted to look feminine and graceful. Heck, I wanted to feel like a girl.
Milo said all the right things. He pointed out that I looked like a girl: I have breasts. I am wearing girl jewelry. I am a girl. I talk like a girl. He said I looked beautiful. He told me the hat I picked with my outfit looked perfect. The man tried valiantly to win a battle he honestly and truly had no hope of winning. There really was no way to convince me that everything was fine and I was looking like a girl going on a date.
I reluctantly allowed Milo to take me out in the purple ball cap, which really did not match the outfit I had on but I wanted my whole head covered. We arrived early for the date, which happened to be attached to a mall. I figured one of the stores had to have something resembling hair, so I expressed interest in wandering around inside. Within five minutes I had found a stall of wigs and moments later I finally had hair.
It is a human hair wig and I hate to say it, but I felt so much better. Despite the fact that it itches a little and will take some getting used to, I absolutely love it. I won’t wear it to work or even all the time, but to have the option to look girly when we go out to dinner or a party will be nice. I’m not sure how long I will have the buzz cut, my hair is still falling out in little patches and growing in others. So long as it is uneven, I will leave it this way. It is great, however, to have the option of hair. At first, I was opposed to it. Wigs are ridiculously expensive and some are clearly really badly made and look fake. The second I put this one on, however, I felt better about being on a date with my husband and just looked like the old Janine before cancer. I needed the boost physically and emotionally.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s day with the people they love. I did.