I have had many people ask me this question: “Why do you continue to shave your head even though you are not on any treatments?” And honestly, it is a good question that I don’t think I have addressed here on my blog.
First, I did not lose my hair from chemo. I took a pill form of chemo called Temodar. Temodar has all of the usual side effects of iv chemo (low platelets, loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss etc) except for losing your hair. I lost my hair due to high levels of radiation on my scalp that killed my hair follicles. I have thinning in large areas that will never be full again from where the levels were lower. I have a an “old man bald spot” on the top of my head where the levels were high:
Losing my hair was honestly the hardest part of having cancer. I was suddenly faced with the all too real fact that my life as I knew it was changing. My semi normal existence was disrupting right before my eyes. Yet it was up to me on how to face that change.
I was walking by a wig store in the mall and decided to go in and just try one on. I fell head over heals because it made me feel normal on the outside. Honestly they “concealed” my bald head, but they didn’t conceal what was going on inside of my heart. I was battling God with my pride big time, and God was winning…Big time. For about a year I wore that wig, (many- truth be told.) Then something inside of me changed and I realized that I wore it for everyone else, but deep inside I hated it. I hated that it made me feel “fake”. I hated that it made me feel like I was trying to “cover up” the fact that I had just gone through the worst time of my life and came out better despite it. People would tell me that I was a totally different person without my wig than with it on. That really hit home. Yet I still wore it because I had done so for so long, I was afraid of what people would think if I suddenly went without it.
There was that pride again.
Then came SheSpeaks. I cant begin to tell you the transformation to my heart that happened there. My pride was torn down and I was left with the real realization of how much my hair (or lack thereof) was effecting my spirit. When I stepped off the plane, I fidgeted with my wig constantly and was very self conscious the entire time.
I wore my wig to the first dinner that we had with all of the bloggers. I was quiet and insecure. I was not myself and I knew that. Lisa was my roommate and has become a dear friend to me. She noticed that when I was in the room after dinner and had my wig off, my demeanor completely changed. She told me to just go without it for the rest of the conference and see what happend. I reluctantly took it off for the evening seminar and I felt totally different. I felt as if some of the weight of being a cancer patient had been lifted off of my shoulders.
Photo Credit: Chatting At The Sky
I felt like part of the “old me” had returned. The better part. I felt more focused on the people around me, and less focused on my wig (and myself). I know it sounds crazy that a wig could be this pivotal in my life.. but it was.
I wrote this the day my hair started to fall out in my paper journal:
Lord, Please help me realize that this is not about my hair. It is about my heart. Do what you want with my heart and my hair. I give them back to you.
Yet I had fought Him the entire way.
The SheSpeaks conference was the turning point for me. It is not about my hair. It is about what the Lord is doing in my heart. It is about those lessons that I could not have learned unless He had taken my hair (and my sense of control) away from me. It is about His mercy in my moments of anger and despair. His grace when I felt all alone.
When I got home from SheSpeaks, I was concerned how my children felt about me going without my wig. My 9 year old son looked at me and said “Mom, we all know you have cancer, why are you trying to hide it?”
I love that kid.
(P.S. The picture of me in the left sidebar is right after SheSpeaks)