Sunday, July 20, 2008
Head Shaving Day
I knew that chemo was going to take my hair from me and decided to shave it off before it started falling out. I made an appointment and invited friends to come with me so I wouldn't back out. I had a plan of how to do it and thought that I could make it through without any trauma.
Things are never easy with cancer and this was no different. I spent all day trying to come up with something that I could put in my head that would make it ok for me to shave a perfectly healthy head of hair, some mantra or inspiration. I found nothing that brought me comfort or peace. Michael, the person who was going to be shaving my head had told me that this would be difficult for him as his father also has cancer. In the end, I decided the only thing that was going to get me through was that if Michael could have the strength to shave it for me, I must have the strength to have it done. We were in it together.
He is the right person for me to have chosen for this job. He handled the whole thing with grace and compassion and strength. He allowed me to handle it in a calmer way. He sat me down, my family and friends around me and calmly told me what he was going to do. My husband and my children put their hands in mine, Michael tipped my head forward, asked me if I was ready and began.
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and cried as he shaved my hair for me. I was aware of only a couple of things throughout the entire process. I was aware of my family's hands in mine. I was aware of the noise of the clippers and Michael's hand on my head and tears falling down and landing on my hand. It was a much longer process than I had anticipated. Finally, he moved my head backward, shaved off the last of my hair and turned off the clippers. I opened my eyes and cried.
But in that instant, a funny thing happened. I opened my eyes and expected to see a stranger but I didn't. I saw me. It was me looking back from the mirror. I started to relax.
There was a couple of small snafu's with my wig. Michael explained that when it was thinned out, too much was taken out. We also found when he put it on my head without hair, it was way too big for my head. He blow dried and styled my hair but opted not to cut it since it appears I need to take it back and resolve the problems with it.
Though the wig looked beautiful, I realized the longer I had it on, the more I didn't feel like myself. When he was done styling, I removed the wig and put it back in the box. I was more comfortable with my bald head. I took a breath, let my friends and family rub my head and accepted it as it is-beautiful.
I thanked Michael and all of the fabulous friends and family who were kind enough to accompany me on this part of my journey and walked out the door-very bald but comfortable in my skin and ok. Not just ok, but really, truly OK.
I hope you like our new family portrait.