However, around my third week after my first round of chemotherapy, the telltale signs of my hair falling out started happening: My scalp started to burn, tufts of hair fell out on my clothes, and strands of hair were constantly falling out on my keyboard while I was at work. Devastated, I knew it would happen again. It was all too familiar and I couldn’t stop it from happening. Watching my long locks patiently grow out after four years was the ultimate slap in the face from my own cancer. I chose to get this treatment to fight my cancer, and now my hair was falling out – the very same hair I fought so hard to grow back.
I sobbed hard that night, knowing how angry I was with myself and my stage 4 cancer. I felt stupid because it’s hair, and something I’d lost before. I mourned this loss because it was so unexpected for me, and I lost all my gumballs from my internal safety gumball machine. That same night I mustered up all my courage and ordered a bunch of hats online in preparation for shaving my head. As soon as they arrived I told my husband we were cutting it.
When I lost my hair the first time, I went to get a pixie cut to get used to short hair for a week before we buzzed it. This time I wasn’t going to waste time. I cut off all my long locks before my husband took the buzzer. Then my husband gave me a Mohawk and we laughed for about 10 minutes. Finally we had my buzzing head finished look.
For the past month, I’ve made it a point to take bald selfies and photos with my husband. The first time I lost my hair I didn’t take that many pictures because I wasn’t comfortable. Looking back, I wanted more of those pictures because I actually look pretty bald (not great, but not bad!). I learned to accessorize with earrings, makeup, hats, scarves and jewelry. I learned that my head gets very cold when I sleep, and I have to wear a cap on it at night.
Above all, my biggest achievement of losing my hair is that I feel freer. I don’t need a wig to define myself or any hair to define who I am this time. I feel comfortable in this skin, proud to be so, and don’t look back. Cancer does not define me and will not define me with it, and that is the strength I have found so immensely in my loss.
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