When I found out that I had to go through chemotherapy the nurse doing the “chemo class” (yeah, they make you take a “class” before you start) looked mournfully at my thick hair and very long tail (braid) and said “You’re going to want to cut off the braid and you have to understand that when you get your hair back after chemo it will never be as thick as it is now.”
Yeah, that was real encouraging. I wanted to punch her. Instead I simply said “Not having hair this thick will be a blessing.” and she just shook her head at me as if to say “You’ll see.”
Everyone struggles with something about their hair. Too much, not enough, too curly, too straight, too thick, too thin. It’s easy to look at the other side and think how much easier they have it but, really, no one does.
Thick hair is my curse but one I gladly bear because it could always be worse… it could be curly like how it came in after chemo – thank the goddess that it grew out of that!
Also, after not having any hair through the chemo I came to appreciate just how warm my thick hair keeps my head. I spent months having to wear a toque, all day (and night), every day, because my head was so cold all the time.
Anyway, the nurse was wrong. My hair not only is as thick as it ever was but I swear it might even be thicker.
The hardest part was not losing my hair – okay, it wasn’t easy by any means, but the hardest part was losing the braid. I spared Keli from cutting it off – I did that myself and it nearly broke my heart to do it. But I couldn’t let cancer take it from me so I did it.
After the chemo and after my hair grew back Keli asked if I was going to grow the braid again but I didn’t have the heart. By then I was so used to the short hair that I couldn’t stand to grew it long enough to even have the start of a braid. I thought about it many times. So many times! But every time it got just a little bit long I would give in and have it cut.
That is… until December. Keli had cut my hair back in October and by December it was starting to bug me again but it was around Christmas when I thought about asking her and decided against it. It could wait another month – besides, I rarely get it cut in winter because the thick hair insulates me in the winter – I don’t know what to tell you, it just seems like all the heat in my body escapes through the top of my head.
I thought about asking her in February but it was still so cold here I figured I’d leave it for another month.
By the time March rolled around I seriously thought about finding someone else to cut it so I wasn’t bugging Keli but by then my hair was so much longer than it had been since the chemo that I decided to let it ride because if I could hold out another month then I could have my braid back or, well, at least the beginnings of my braid back.
April finally arrived and when I text Keli she was on vacation but that was okay, I figured if I had to wait another two weeks it’d just be that much longer and that it’d be better for Keli to be able to figure out how to cut it for the braid.
Finally, yesterday, I went over to her place and she cut my hair – the section that she carved out for my tail is going to take some time to grow to the appropriate length for me to braid. It’s got some shorter hair mixed in to make it thicker than my last one and all that has to grow far enough to be mixed in with the longer hair.
She had just enough to be able to french braid it (it was the only way to get the shorter hair into the braid) but there’s no way I could braid it myself from behind my head. It barely reaches to the end of my neck and, I admit, it looks a bit ridiculous at the moment because it’s so short but she says that my hair tends to grow faster than most people’s and thinks that it’s not too optimistic to believe that it’ll be long enough in 6 months that I’ll be able to braid it, normally, by myself then. I think it will take more than that but we’ll see. Maybe she’s right – I hope she is.
It’s just going to take time to grow it out and until then I have to find some semblance of patience. Meanwhile she wondered how many people would comment about my hair dresser “missing a spot”. Meh. Whatever. I don’t give a shit what other people think.
For the first time, since the cancer and the start of chemo, I feel like myself again – or at least on the way to feeling like myself again – and it’s been too long.