I’ve never defined my beauty by my hair. Let’s face it. My hair has never been anything more than just “nice”. Funny how quickly thoughts change when you’re staring back at the balder, paler version of the feminine reflection you used to see. I turned 31 on a Tuesday, and by Wednesday evening I was a product of my diagnosis: Lymphoma. Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. You bastard.
I cried. And when I say I cried, I waled like a hysterical fool. You may as well have told me I had 6 months to live because in those minutes of Doctor to patient counseling, I felt deathly defeated. I will probably hang on to those words for the rest of my life. YOU HAVE CANCER.
“What the f***”, I screamed as I held my husband. I’m not sure who was shaking more at that moment although it really didn’t matter. I knew we were in this together and in that earth shattering moment, I strangely felt happy at the same time. Happy to know that I had a partner in this. How could I stay sad. I was lucky enough to have a spouse, a best friend there to ensure I never felt alone. The strongest person I know who wouldn’t let me fail, or let me be weak, for he’s been through hell and back to rebuild this family from the ground up to not let a little B named Cancer get in the way.
So that brings me back to the hair. Me, wanting to actually feel in control of my body [who seemed to be doing her own thing the last 3 and a half months] shaved my head. Screw you hair, and screw you Cancer. I fell mesmerized by the sound of the clippers as I flipped the switch. They seemed to purr at me creating this overwhelming calm. As I put the blades to my scalp, I pushed through and watched the strands fall to the bathroom floor. And again. And again. Until I was full on GI Jane style. It was exhilarating. I couldn’t help but smile and giggle, but this high wouldn’t last long. Soon the tears would return when the realization occurred that this in fact was my reality. My hair wasn’t growing back in and I would be forced to live bald for a good year. Ouch. It hurts again. BAD.
That feeling sucks. Being happy is so much more fun and anyone who knows me knows I love to smile and laugh. So, this is when I introduced myself to Wylene the Wig. I named her this evening since she’s going to be such a huge part of our lives for the next year or so. Wearing her makes me feel alive again. She singlehandedly gives me back my dignity, my desire to feel girly, and my confidence to walk through a grocery store incognito to protect against the looks, glances and stares that say “oh, she has Cancer”.
Cancer has so many faces. My wig is only one of these faces. Meaning, just because I love how I feel when I’m wearing Wylene, doesn’t mean I hide from being bald. Bald IS beautiful, but it is so much more than beauty. Bald signifies strength and resilience and bald is the hand I was dealt.