Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Good to Laugh About It. And I'm Still a Girlie Girl.

Ok, so this is not my best look, 12am, exhausted, no make-up, wearing my favorite kitty clawed to bits T-shirt.  Even my lumpy little port is showing.  I actually can't even believe I am about to post this dreadful picture to the public, but hear it is.  It, like a thousand words, tells me a story when I look at it...although not the best photo (so I'll make it bubblegum pink to distract us all from that). 

My husband (he is the creepy looking guy behind me) (haha just kidding, he's so cute, i love him), is about to shave my head in this picture which was an extremely dreaded moment for me in this whole experience.  I was home alone a few weeks earlier when the first clumps of hair started coming out exactly 14 days in to my chemo.  I called my husband and tearfully said "it's time."  Busy at work, he stayed on the phone with me, until my tears were gone.  A few days later, he took me to the wig shop where the amazing woman who owns it helped me cut my braid off.  I cried, but by the time it was done I was laughing.  I was fine.   The buzz cut was even more difficult.  However, I was so blessed to have someone there, for both of these experiences,  to make me laugh, to tell me how beautiful I still am, and to help me to just do it with all the dignity in the world.  ooooh... i'm telling you, i did not want to do this.  I've had a major life-long love/hate relationship with my "unique", not straight, hair, and I had only recently learned to simply LOVE it... I knew I was lucky to have it,  it made me feel girlie, even on the rainiest, drizzle frizz days (not the gray though... did not love the gray).  Cutting it sucked, but not nearly as much as it would have sucked without my husband powering me through.

This person for me happened to be my husband (we look better in orange, yeah?), but it could have been a parent, a sister, a friend, a great hairdresser, an awesome wig lady, etc.... and it made all the difference.  I look at these photos, and find it hard to believe I could look so smiley, so at peace (although very tired), moments before doing what I was about to do.  'Will I still feel like me?  What if my head is shaped weird? Will I still feel feminine, at all?  I'm a delicate flower!  I need my hair!'

Most importantly, what I will always remember about my hair farewell, and many other dreaded moments, are the wonderful friends and family, doctors, nurses, volunteer workers, and some total strangers, that were there for me in those moments, making me laugh... deep belly laughs, giving me strength, and making me feel like myself during each step of this crazy head to toe body-transformation.  (I hope you find these lovely people surrounding you, in the moments when you need them.)

Many people like to tell you, "it will grow back".   Yup, it will.   In addition, I would like to think, "I will grow back."  "I will grow better".  "I already am"... with a little help from my friends... and a magical prince.  Rapunzel lives.

oh, and I will always be a Girlie Girl. 

love, e


  1. What a bittersweet story. I'm so glad you captured it in words. It really is a defining(?) memorable(?) moment. I'm grasping for the correct word but the moment is - without a doubt- something BIG.


  2. You are so brave! I have had long hair my whole life and I think it would be hard to lose. How long have you been battling breast cancer? Stay strong and keep making art! You're in my thoughts and prayers! Elisabeth

  3. Hi Jayne, I often find it hard to put an experience into words, especially with emotions ranging from from despair in one moment, to complete joy and love in another. Sometimes it's not easy to choose laughter over tears, but a good mixture can be very soul cleansing! Thank you for your comments, and for the very inspiring, helpful blog you write. I very much appreciated the interview with Karla Morton and look forward to reading her book.

  4. Hi Elisabeth, Thank you so much! I miss my long hair every day, but it's been much more bearable to deal with than i imagined...

    i was diagnosed Oct 2009, and i'm more than half way done with chemo, one more minor surgery this summer! All going well, and blogging, art, family, friends, dancing - they all contribute intensely to the healing!

    Thank you again for visiting and your kind words!
    Erica (-:

  5. Dear friend,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a five year ovarian cancer survivor, I can tell you that it does get better. You will heal, in body, mind and spirit...and your entire outlook will be changed. The hair does grow back...though often comes in completely differently.The weight comes back. Now, when I look at those gray streaks that my hairdresser is adept at covering, or my pudgy cheeks, I'm so thankful to see them.
    (((((HUGS)))) and best wishes to you,
    Ellen (aka Preppy Yogini)

  6. So uplifting, Ellen! Hugs right back (-: ...and I can't say enough how much I enjoy, and am touched by your writing. I will visit you often friend!