Hairy interruption 

I know this next post was supposed to be a chemo update but this is on my heart (and my shower floor, and my pillow, and all over the car, and probably in the chair I’m sitting in now…)

My hair.

I went on a bit of a rant on Facebook. 

Here it is- This should be going into the blog but I can’t even right now (I LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN). People: Hair is not just hair. Hair is a big part of some people and used as a way to express themselves, and sometimes, hide themselves. Do not ever tell a person “it’s a trade off- you lose hair to live” or “oh it will grow back”. No. Just stop. You don’t have cancer. Don’t minimize my feelings. It will not “just” grow back. It will stay gone until after treatment and then, for some, it won’t be at a comfortable length for years. Having a bald head is having a billboard on your head that you have cancer. There are ways to cover it up but it’s a constant reminder and it’s a real loss. Do not make me feel like I am vain or weak or dumb or ungrateful for being upset. For crying when I find clumps of hair or crying because I don’t have the bone structure for bald (contouring does wonders- we’ll make it work 💁🏻). 

ANYWAY. I stopped using cold caps today. In an effort to feel like I have some control over this craziness, I went for a chop to ease into the process that will be “Maegan- the bald the beautiful” Thank you.

The new do.

I’m not super proud of getting all fired up over social media but you know what, I did it. I own it. I used an emoji so it’s not even that serious (I get a lot of my emoji etiquette from teenage boys I work with so I could be wrong). 
I had heard remarks about my hair too many times and I broke. Comments ranging from “Aw (pity face) your hair is so pretty. Too bad you’re going to lose it” to “It’s a trade off- you lose your hair to live”.

Neither of which were enjoyable to listen to. To feel. Remarks coming from oncology professionals and complete strangers who think talking to me about something like this is appropriate or comforting. Let me say that you CAN talk to me about my hair. You can ask me about my hair. You can comment on it and my head or my scarf or my wig or whatever else you have a questions or a *thought out* comment about. That’s all I ask- think before you speak. Am I asking this question because I genuinely have interest in the answer? Is this thing I’m about to tell her going to make her feel like crap? Do I have a right to pretend to understand how she feels and then tell her that’s how she feels and, if she doesn’t feel that way, to say she is feeling this wrong? Am I saying this for HER or for ME? 

Here are some ideas. 

“Man, you’re losing your hair. That SUCKS.”

“I don’t know what to say. I don’t even know how I would handle that”

“Did it hurt?”

“Does it feel weird?”

“How much money are you saving on shampoo?!”

“DO YOU HAVE TO SHAVE YOUR LEGS?”

The answer to that one is NO!!!!! I am straight up WINNING every time I touch my legs and am reminded that I have dreamt of this forever and that, though small, this cancer perk is freaking awesome. 

I get that to some people it’s just hair. I really do. A few months ago it probably would have been “just hair” to me too. I have been struggling with feeling vain and feeling dumb for being upset but today, as I sought out whatever control I had over the situation, I decided that I’m not dumb but I’m a little vain (I can live with that). I’m admitting that I’m vain. This is vulnerable but y’all, I am trying so hard to be real. 

(I’m emotionally naked right now so read between fingers while you cover your eyes). I feel like I have been able to keep up appearances since being diagnosed and that made me proud. I can mostly hide the hot flashes. When I’m dizzy I make up an excuse to sit down. I do my hair and my makeup to hide the pale skin (which is natural but somehow looks more pale…I also did not think this was possible) and thinning spots on my scalp. I wait until I’m sitting on the shower floor to collect clumps of hair and I cry while they’re in my hand. I use up my energy in front of others and then I collapse on the couch to play a video game or watch Netflix and pretend like I don’t have cancer. Because, hello- I don’t want cancer. I’ve convinced myself that if I anti-cancer hard enough that I can fake it till I make it. 

The three reasons I find losing my hair hard to swallow:

  1. I feel like my not-so-secret secret will be revealed to everyone who doesn’t already know.
  2. People will stare and people may feel uncomfortable. I want people to talk to me like they normally would and not be scared to upset me or offend me. I promise you, I am the same person.
  3. I like my hair. I’m going to miss it. It’s red and curly crazy and I complain about it but now I wish I hadn’t. I’ve been told it can come back in different colors and textures so I guess that’s kind of cool. Let’s hope for humidity resistant and anything but grey!!

I’ll wrap thing up now but before I do, I’ll tell you that when I sat down to write this I said to myself, “Hold on….Maegan, you did not mention finger wigs in your last post…did you?”

I did. I totally did.  I invited people to see this weird thing that was originally meant for my girlfriend group text. That’s a girl group text no-no. But it’s my text so it’s ok. Welcome to my weird sense of humor as I show you what I did with the two first clumps of hair I found last week. 

I made Donald Trump

….and Bruno Mars (finger unintentional)

Ok these aren’t like, perfect. This may sound insane, but I’M TELLING YOU that Bruno coifed hair had an immaculate curl and it just doesn’t reflect how great it was in photos. I’m not even blaming this finger wig thing on chemo brain.

Please don’t contact Nick and ask him to have me committed.

I’ve been contacted by some fellow women who have breast cancer and hope some of you (actually, all of my friends) may find this meaningful as you evolve and are faced with a new normal.
Change is ok. Different is ok. Work to where you believe that you are enough, because you are.

-Maeg

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10 thoughts on “Hairy interruption 

  1. Sasha says:

    You make me cry. You may not always feel strong and some of the humor may be covering pain, but you’re strong and hilarious. The cry is a happy cry partially, because you give me normal life hope and encouragement and I don’t even have cancer. but a sad cry because, this royally sucks and I hate the bad days you’ve had and the ones that will follow. I’m encouraged, because I think your good days are really good and really fully of life, that might make up just a smidge for the suck days. Corny? cliche? maybe..but you’re my hero lady.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathleen Hector says:

    Hi Maegan. I went to college with Denise Simons. I remember when your mom came up and announced that she was pregnant with you. It’s hard to believe how much time has passed and now you are a young married lady! I am so sorry that you are going through this, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily as is your family. Your blog is really inspiring and I wish you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melissa says:

    Hi Maegan,
    I came across your site via Sasha on Facebook. I work at a school where she graduated high school. I had the same diagnosis about 2 years ago. I totally get what you are saying, all of it. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or need any advice or just want to rant to someone who has been where you are. I know it can be hard to reach out during this experience. I taught my fitness classes all the way through. It wasn’t easy but for me, but it was/is important to do the things I loved. Stay strong. Remember, God is bigger than cancer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Judy Corrigan says:

    As always, sweet Maegan, you amaze me. My bible study group prays for you and Nick, and my momma, whom I believe has a direct red phone line to Jesus, has you on her prayer chain, so you’re in the hearts and prayers of people in many states who you don’t know! Keep doing what you’re doin’. Through your vulnerability and honesty you educate and inspire many. Love you! Oh – and I think those finger wigs are adorable and most creative, you gave me a good chuckle! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tresa says:

    Maeg,

    You don’t know me – I went to elementary school in London with your husband. (I know, totally random and out there blast from someone else’s past provided to you by Facebook.) Anyway, I felt compelled to write to you for two reasons:

    1. You’re a great writer, and I feel like it’s almost an obligation for me to tell you that what you’re sharing on your blog is really important. Maybe other people have already told you this, but the fact that you’re disclosing all of the shittiest parts of what is and what has been undoubtedly the darkest hour of your life is a very powerful thing that will make other people feel less alone. The world’s a totally messed up and scary place sometimes, but when someone is able to reach out and make a connection in spite of the darkness, well, that’s pretty incredible. I’m honored to even be a distant degree separated from such an awesome example of human courage.

    2. I have this fun (read: not fun) auto-immune disease called alopecia areata that makes my hair fall out in massive round patches, so believe me when I tell you I get the hair shit. (I used to say mine was “defecting” like it was staging a rebellion from a cruel nation state or something.) You have every right to be pissed about your hair falling out. You get to cry and feel your feelings because you didn’t get to choose this definition for yourself, and that is 100% unfair.

    I know this probably sounds like a Hallmark card or something, but it’s not really about the definition that life throws at you; it’s what you do in the face of adversity and how you define yourself through it. Whether you decide to get a wig eventually, or just be bald and rock awesome geometric print dresses and giant hoop earrings is up to you. You may be a person with cancer, and that blows, but you’re also a person who’s writing her story and literally creating something great out of something terrible.

    I hope you keep writing this thing. You’re absolutely killin’ it.

    Sincerely,
    T.J. (AKA That total stranger who went to school with your husband and is awkward enough to openly acknowledge is reading your blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maegan says:

      Tresa- Thank you so much for reaching out! I am so glad you like the blog and appreciate the feedback. Whatever the disease, losing hair blows. I’m trying to think of more content but will post soon!

      Like

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