I have noticed that my hair is becoming very dry. It’s not coming out yet, I know this cos I’m constantly pulling and tugging at it making sure that it is still intact. Is this dryness a sign that it is about to start falling out? Wouldn’t it be weird if it just went dryer and dryer turning me into a Worzel Gummidge look alike with the frizzy sticky out straw like hair, before it did eventually fall out? One Day your looking normal, and the next Worzel Gummidge look alike, the next stage Gary baldy and finally blossoming to a better normality.
I have read up quite a bit on losing your hair to chemotherapy, just so that I am prepared as I feel the more I read about it and talk about it, the more it appears to be a normal everyday occurrence that everyone has to go through at some time in their life. Now that’s a thought! Everyone in the whole of the world having to go through a balding period at some point in their life a little like a caterpillar changing into a butterfly but instead of the chrysalis stage we have the BALDing stage instead. How would the adverts change? As I have noticed that everywhere you look; the sides of buses, bill boards, magazines and TV are all advertising for something to do with hair. Miracle shampoos and conditioners, making false promises that our hair will be stronger and super glossy, brain washing us into thinking that we will have hair like the model promoting it. There are adverts for hair dyes, hair sprays, gels. You name it; it’s there, even down to the media dictating the good and bad Celerity Hair styles. What would these advertisements be like if we all had ‘the balding period’ would we all walk around covering our heads up or would we go around showing off that we are now going through that very important change in our life. Would we jazz our heads up and paint colourful flowers or patterns on it, and stick plastic twirley sticky out bits on making our own personal fashion statement. Or would we be boring and cover Mother Nature up with a synthetic itchy wig or bandana, doing what the population thinks that we should do today. Not that I think it is expected but because we don’t want to be stared at making us feel that we are indeed different.
Wow! I Think I got a bit side tracked there and into a fantasy world showing how my weird mind can take over, so let’s get back to me reading about losing hair through chemo. Like I said the more I read the more I felt that it to be and feel more normal. I didn’t come across anywhere that mentions that your hair starts to dry out first. I did find that some have said that your scalp becomes itchy and sore, others have said that they didn’t even realize that it had started to fall out, which leaves me wondering which category I will be in.
I don’t know if I’m disappointed or pleased that my hair hasn’t started to fall out yet. No one really wants to lose their hair, not even men, so I am pleased in that sense but at the same time I do feel slightly disappointed purely because once it does start. I will know for sure that the drugs are definitely working.
I have decided to take control of the situation once again and have my hair cut even shorter. Maureen has agreed to do the honours once again which I am pleased about, It’s a shame though as really do like this short bob, but not to worry, in time it will return. The main thing is that I get rid of these bloody squatters. I am quite calm about the whole ordeal but I must say that I am pleased that I have already had my hair cut once as I don’t think this calmness that I am feeling would be the same if I were to go from long to very short all in one swoop.
We were all pretty quiet when Maureen started to give me my new look. Maureen was busy concentrating while I was sat staring out into the garden through the French Doors and Lee as per was sat playing a game on his mobile phone; so the only sounds to be heard were the snip, snip of scissors and the bleeps of the Lee’s phone. Every now and then Lee would look up at me and give me his encouraging smile. Maureen moved around from cutting the back of my hair to my side and it was at this point that I noticed that her hands were shaking; and when I say shaking I mean full on shake, like someone who has a very serious rattle snake tail syndrome that just can’t stop. I broke the silence and burst out laughing. “Are you nervous or something Maureen” I giggled “Of course I am” she said “I can’t stop bloody shaking. “Look” she laughed. She put her hands in front of me trying hard to keep them steady. That was it; the ice was broken and opened the window for all sorts. Lee kept cringing now every time he looked at me and said things like, “should you be able to see her scalp on that bit of her head” and “Wowww, you nearly lost your ear then bird”. This made Maureen’s hands shake even more, not because she was nervous now but because she couldn’t stop laughing which in turn affected her eyesight as now she couldn’t even see what she was doing through the tears that were caused by the laughter. “Oh my God, What am I gunna look like” I laughed. All I can say is that it’s a good job I asked for a short ‘choppy’ style.
At last my hair is finished and straight away my hands went up to feel it. It feels very short, lighter and cooler. “It suits you” Lee piped up from behind his phone smiling with approval “it seems to have changed the shape of your face”. I didn’t really believe him and thought he was only saying it to give me encouragement as I personally didn’t have any high expectations that I was going to like it, but I was quite surprised, it definitely didn’t look nowhere near as bad as I thought it would look, especially with my blind from tears and trembling hands hairdresser being let loose on my hair. The question is; how long will I have this style for before I loose it and do the BALDing period.
Looking over at Lee, it suddenly dawned on me that for the first time his hair is longer than mine and I suppose that it will be this way for quite some time. We have talked lots between us about what I personally want to do when my hair does eventually start to fall out; and this is quite simply; the first sign of any hair coming out, I want Lee to do the honours and buzz the lot off. I want it to be a bottle of wine, Lee and his clippers followed by a big hug afterwards. No messing and trying to hold on to it. Once it starts, just be done with it and get rid. I think Lee is actually looking forward to doing this for me, not because he wants me to lose my hair but this will be the time that he can do something constructive rather than just being there emotionally for me. It’s a big thing and he alone will be the one to help me out.
When I arrived at work on Monday morning I received lots of positive comments regarding my hair and one discussion turned into a bit of a giggle as one colleague started going on how much he liked the look of Demi Moore with her skin head and said that when my hair does fall out I shouldn’t bother with a wig or bandanna. Apparently he finds something very appealing about women with short skin head hair. Demi Moore, Sinead O'Connor and Sigourney Weaver were just a few that were mention. We all had to remind him that ALL my hair would go and would probably resemble a very shiny reflective surface.
Friday 24th June 2007; Exactly 2 weeks since my first chemo, while getting ready for work, during the process of trying to style my hair. I finished up in rather a bit of a mess. As I said earlier, I need a bit of hair wax to be able to style it and unaware of why, my hair just wouldn’t go right. I reached for the jar of wax again and it was all there plain to see why I was having so much difficulty. My hands were looking a pair of woolly mittens. Every time I touched my hair more and more hair was sticking to the wax on my hands. The wax was working like a magnet and wasn’t having any effect on styling my hair apart from making more and more hair stick to my hands.
The day had finally arrived. My hair was actually falling out. It wasn’t coming out in chunks like I had expected, It was more like a dog badly shedding their winter coat; even and very fine. A smile immediately appeared on my face. The chemo was now definitely well into my system and doing what it knows best and that is Killing my Squatters. I wonder if with all the research that they do about cancer and the drugs and the chemo, that one day they will invent one that will know the difference between the good cells and the bad cells, being able to leave the hair follicles in tack. Research has come a long way over the years and will carry on until the day finally arrives that a cure for cancer has been found. Smiling like a Cheshire cat I decided to make do with what my hair looked like and set off for work. I just had to get through the day and then after work I would pour myself a glass of wine and hand Lee the clippers. On the good side; at least it started to fall out at the weekend.
I didn’t mention anything at work and tried very hard not to mess with my hair too much as I have a bad habit of messing with it. Tucking it behind my ears, pulling it from behind my ears, running my fingers through it making sure that isn’t knotty. Oh yeah I forgot! That was when it was still long, but even now with it being short I am still constantly touching, messing with it, whether it is to tug it to see if it had started to fall out and was still intact or just feeling it because it felt weird from being short. I defiantly didn’t need to tug it today though. I knew it wasn’t intact and was coming out. I had visions of getting home after work looking like Bozo the Clown on a bad hair day with clumps of hair sticking out all fuzzy around the bald patches that had appeared. Would anyone say anything to me or would they be too polite or embarrassed to do so. Would I say something if the tables were turned and it were me seeing someone else’s hair falling out. ‘Oh by the way I just thought you should know but your hairs falling out and you look like Bozo the Clown’. Well may be not in those words.
Late morning, Julie and I, a work colleague were as you do, nattering about other things, everything but work stuff, when all of a sudden Julie’s face suddenly changed to the look of sheer horror, the type of look you see in a good horror movie. This quickly changed to a look of sympathy. “Ooh Karen! You’re Hair” she shrieked. Knowing what she was talking about I started to laugh and looked down to my hands where she was looking. Yes! She was witnessing my hair falling out; falling like it was snowing a blizzard. There seemed to be more than there was first this morning and to top that the further down I looked I could see that my desk was covered. My stomach did the usual summersault. ‘What if’ it didn’t last the day? Nobody tells you how quickly or slowly it completely goes from the first sign of it starting to fall out? I looked up at Julie at which point I thought the she was actually going to cry. I couldn’t have that as I think I would have joined her, which would have shown my weak side, which was a definite ‘not going there’ time. So I started to laugh some more and joked “Well that’s it then! Gary Baldy here I come”.
Lunch time I went to meet Lee and while sat in the car talking; Lee spotted some hair that looked to be a bit out of place and as he reached up to adjust it, it fell out between his fingers. “Darling, Your hairs coming out” he said with a very concerned sincere voice. “I know” I said “I’m shedding like a dog aren’t I”. His eyes grew big “No!” he replied “It’s coming out in chunks” He took a whole chunk of my hair between his fingers and slowly moved them round in front of me so I could see. In between his fingers there was a whole chunk of my hair. The weird thing is that I didn’t even feel it come out. I pulled at some myself to make sure. Lee was right, my hair had now escalated from shedding like a dog to full blown chunks coming out. Even though I didn’t feel anything when Lee pulled it out, when I did, it felt weird; it felt relaxing as it come away from the root follicle of my scalp. Lee was pretty concerned now. “Are you ok to go back into work or do you want me to take you home” he asked. I told him I was not upset about it but felt quite giddy that it had actually started. I must be a weirdo, being giddy and excited that my hair was falling out. No one in their right mind would want this. “Work will understand if you go home” Lee said. I wonder! Would they understand or would it be an inconvenience. That is something that I will never know as I opted to go back and finish my day at work.
I got through the rest of the day with no-one else suspecting and after a nice coffee back at home I handed Lee the clippers.
After, God I lost count how many times he asked me if I was sure about this and if it was what I really wanted, He pulled the chair out for me to sit in. I got myself sat in the chair and took a big sip of my wine shaking a little as I did so. Lee knelt down in front of me. “Are you Ok” he said. The way he looked at me and the way he asked me; Wow! I felt my throat tighten and could feel myself welling up and getting all emotional. Was this feeling because of the way he said it, or looked at me or because I was actually sat in the chair ready to have all my hair buzzed off? I tried to smile but just nodded “Are you sure Angel because I can’t do this unless you’re absolutely sure” “Lee!” I said with a croaky stern voice then started to laugh “just get on with it will you, give me my skinhead”. With that we gave each other a kiss and Lee stood up to start on my hair.
I was shaking from head to toe and my heart was pounding. What on earth would I look like? My hands were shaking, that much the wine was swashing around in the glass. Making sure I didn’t spill any I started to drink it faster as for those who know me I don’t like to waste any of this precious drink. Lee started chopping away with the scissors before switching on the clippers saying that he wanted to see what I would look like with different looks and to make it more light hearted by having a bit of a laugh. We were both so very quiet and after what didn’t seem that long, he knelt down in front of me once again this time smiling and looking straight into my eyes “I can’t believe how much you suit it” he said to me. Did I? or was he just saying it. I took another gulp of my wine and stood up to have a look at my reflection in the mirror. “It makes your eyes really stand out they look so blue” he carried on saying. I stood there for a while taking in my new reflection. I don’t think it looked too bad and my head didn’t appear to be miss-shaped but I can tell you I was so relieved that it was over and done with. I had taken charge and that feeling felt so bloody good.
I thanked Lee as we put our arms around each other for that long awaited hug, he needed the hug just as much as I did as I knew he was just as nervous about doing it as I was having it done, but I couldn’t have let anyone else do it. This was a job for him and him only.
Lee was quite excited of how it turned out and got the camera out to take my photo. “You have to send your mum a picture” he said as he took the photo. I rang my mum to tell her that her daughter was now a skinhead and to check her email for the picture. She seemed to be ok with it and laughed with me on the phone but that will be something that I will have to learn from her at a later date.
For the rest of the evening it seemed that my head was getting quite a bit of attention, I couldn’t stop touching it and every so often Lee would keep rubbing it. As the night progressed more Shiny White bald patches appeared and got more and more noticeable.
The question is; how do I feel now that I am a skinhead? Well to put it in perspective I don’t think I will have this look for long as I still keep tugging at bits even though it measures a staggering 1mm in length, but I wouldn’t mind going out to buy a buy a pair of doc martin boots and a bomber jacket just to complete the look.
I have asked Lee since that night, whether he was nervous about buzzing my hair off and he has answered truthfully, saying that he wasn’t as he knew that my hair was going to go anyway, and he was happy to do the honours for me. Wow I love this man so much.