So I hacked it off over the bathroom sink just before dinner. Steve helped hold the Ziploc bag until Benjamin started crying for his bottle, and then I flew solo. I wondered, didn't Sharon Stone wear her hair this short once? But then I looked at the back of my head through a hand mirror and saw where a big patch of hair is already mostly out, and I'm pretty much bald.
After it was all over, the photos for posterity and everything, I sank onto the sofa and cried about how ugly I suddenly felt. How, for the first time, I look like someone with cancer. (Yesterday, I heard a Neil Young song in the car that brought me back to my college days, and I cried because whoever thought back then that when I was 40, I'd be fighting for my life, much less pulling my hair out by the handful?) I cried because from now on, whenever I leave the house, I am going to have to make sure I have something on my head. I cried because when I look at the big pillow of hair inside the plastic bag, I see that it is beautiful — glossy, shiny brown. I never appreciated that like I should have. I always complained about my hair, about how I could never get it styled right, or about its tendency toward frizziness. I should have just loved it because it was, after all, my very own beautiful hair.
But I must move on. And if divine intervention plays some role in this whole game, it certainly did today. This afternoon, while my friend Shannon and I were at Creative Kidstuff checking out toys, I saw a woman with the most gorgeous headscarf tied around her head. She wore cool glasses and had her face neatly made up. She looked chic and beautiful. I myself felt hot and sweaty, and my hair was sliding off my scalp whenever I moved my head. It was all over the shoulders of my fleece jacket. I approached the woman while we were standing in the checkout line and asked her where she got her scarf. She told me about how she goes to a local fabric store and buys 34-inch-square pieces of fabric to go with every outfit. She has, like, one wig at home, she said, and she never wears it. Scarves are so much more comfortable.
We started chatting about chemo. (I'm learning that no one on this journey is a stranger.) Suddenly, she said, "Is your name Emilie? Do you have a blog?" It turns out she is a friend of my friend L., who had mentioned my blog to her. (I'm keeping names out of this to protect privacy — but please let me know if you want me to remove this.) What a small world. Like me, she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after she'd had her second baby. In her case, she was nursing and had noticed what felt like a plugged milk duct. But it was breast cancer. Before she knew it, she was having a mastectomy. I can't imagine what that must have been like. Having to wean Ben so I could start chemo was one thing. Having to have my breasts cut off feels like quite another.
Anyway, she got me thinking about scarves, so tonight I tried some on, just to get the hang of it. My hair is still falling out right now, so I'm holding off on wearing the wigs until I get it all shaved off tomorrow. I wonder what I'll ending up preferring — wigs or scarves. Geez. I feel like there are a ton of hair puns in here somewhere, but I can't summon one up for the life of me.
I don't think Daniel is the least freaked out about me losing my hair. Not yet, anyway. Yesterday, as we were lying next to each other on his bed at naptime, he reached over and grabbed a handful of it. A little clump came out in his hand and tickled his face, and he laughed. No ... I think he's handling this part just fine.