The first thing I asked when I found out I had cancer was, “Will I die?” The second question was “Will I lose my hair? I lost my hair before and it was very traumatic for me. I thought maybe since I was 39 years old, I would handle it differently. I didn’t expect to get as emotional as I did as a kid. I thought wrong. At first, I had a few patches coming out. I could laugh at that. Soon, my hair would fall out into my food. I was eating my own hair. In the mornings I noticed my bathroom sink covered in hair while I would brush my teeth. As I would look at myself in the mirror, I started to feel insecure and less feminine. The people around me would say, “Your hair still looks cute.” I didn’t feel cute. They would tell me to keep it as long as I could before it starts to fall all out. I tried that, but it just wasn’t working for me. My hair was everywhere. Everywhere I went, I left a trail of hair.
I began to wear a cap on my head to hide my hair falling out. I began to feel as if I was hiding under this cap. To me, it felt worse to wear a beanie cap and hide what the truth was. The truth was that I had cancer . I decided that the only way for me to take control back was to shave my head.
One Friday night, I called my friend to take pictures of me shaving my head. Megan said, “Are you sure?” I said,” yes" without any hesitation. " My hair has to go”, I said. Losing your hair in chunks and losing it slowly is traumatic. That was a turning point for me. That is when I surrendered to my cancer.
I decided to embrace my baldness and take back my power. I wanted to feel empowered. I wanted to be in control. I decided to turn my fear and more importantly my kids fear of losing my hair into a process that was fun. I invited some of my kids friends over so they would be more comforted. After I told the kids I was going to shave my head, they all said, “NO!” My kids wanted nothing to do with this. I thought, maybe I was making a mistake by doing this. I asked myself, was I going to scare them more? I was just as scared as they were. I didn’t know what I would look like.
My kids and I turned on ‘The Fight Song’ by Racheal Platnam. That song gave me strength during cancer. While the music blasted, my friends and I were singing and in one quick second, there it went. I could feel the buzzers running through my hair. I would have never in a million years thought that shaving your head would be so freeing. My kids participated. My eleven year old son and I put gel in our hair and made mohawks. Griffin, my nine year old was throwing oranges in the yard. He was mad and didn’t like what I was doing. Macie, my daughter had a look or ‘Holy Shit’ mom, what are you doing? I took a look in the mirror and was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t look that bad bald. It felt like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.” For the first time in my life, I feel free.