A week or so ago marked another cancer-related anniversary for me. It’s been one year since I shaved my hair off, or I should say since hubby shaved it off for me and yes, as I mentioned in a previous post, we used the same trimmer we use on our springer.
I had been a “hair shaving hold-out.”
I’ve since learned most people shave their hair off before chemotherapy or during chemotherapy as soon as the hair begins falling out, which is usually after the second treatment. Most people say doing it at that time makes them feel more in control.
Not me. I waited until I was totally finished with chemotherapy.
What was I waiting for?
I’m not entirely sure. Mostly, I think I was in a state of defiance.
At a “Preparing for Chemotherapy” class (by the way, there is no class that can truly prepare you for chemotherapy) the nurse teaching it bluntly told me I would definitely lose all my hair and not just the hair on my head.
I didn’t appreciate her telling me that so matter-of-factly in front of the whole class and in my vulnerable state at the time, I found the remark to be highly insensitive. I definitely bristled and said to myself something like, well, we’ll just see about that! Of course, I knew she was right. Go figure…
Maybe my rebellious reaction was due to the fact I was feeling so out of control at the time and I decided this was at least something I could control. I would decide the time. I would decide the place.
This chemo-induced hair loss issue is a really big one, especially for women. I still get comments on my blog post about when to shave the hair off. I still get emails from women asking me for advice on the hair shaving dilemma. I always say pretty much the same thing; it’s a personal choice. You should do it when and if you choose. Just because most people shave it off early doesn’t mean you have to. Do it when you are ready, or don’t do it at all even. There are no rules here.
I stand by that advice.
Last year when I shaved off my hair, I sort of made a commitment to myself. (Can you sort of make a commitment??) I told myself that in one year I would post a picture of myself bald on my blog. Not that anyone out there would care. No, this would be some major personal milestone or rite of passage for me, or so I thought.
Here it is one year later and I must somewhat reluctantly admit I’m not ready. I’m not quite there yet.
Instead I still feel a bit like the Peanuts character, Linus, holding onto his security blanket, except my security blanket is a baseball cap. I still rarely go out of the house without one plunked on my head. Now with winter weather arriving, I’ll get to change things up a bit and don some stocking-cap-type head cover. That’ll be nice.
What does this dependency on head-cover say about me I wonder?
Does it mean I’m too vain, too shallow, too scared, too private, too insecure, too weak, too cowardly or too embarrassed?
Or all of the above?
I really have no idea what it means.
Sometimes even the small steps one takes in this cancer gig seem huge.
I do know I have to allow myself to follow my own advice. I will stop wearing the baseball caps when I’m ready. I will post ‘that picture’ some day, when and if I’m ready.
I’ll know when the time is right.
And a little something to hold onto for security never hurts does it?