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…)
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.
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:
- I feel like my not-so-secret secret will be revealed to everyone who doesn’t already know.
- 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.
- 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.
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.