I’m Very Positive…. that I am Uncertain

I am reacting differently to my hair loss than I thought I would.  Hair, after-all, has never really been of great concern to me.  I have never really worn make-up nor really concerned myself about my nails.  This, by the way, was all much to my mother’s chagrin.

My mom was a Russian beauty.  Although she did not need to wear make-up or worry about her appearance, she always did.  I remember when she was in her 80’s she talked to me about the possibility of getting the space in her teeth fixed.  She was always very conscious of her teeth – and she was conscious of mine.  As much as she tried, my mom could not get me interested in cosmetics.  She sold cosmetics for years and years through a home-based company called, “Beauty Counselor”. She was good and she had regular customers.  This gave her a little extra spending money and cheap access to what she considered to be excellent product.  My poor mother tried so hard to “feminize” me and all I wanted to do was climb trees and collect brush for the bonfires.

So, that I am reacting to my hair-loss is a bit of a mystery to me that I have spent quite some time trying to analyse.  The only thing I can think of in terms of the meaning is that it represents “loss”.

As much as I try to think positively – doubt and uncertainty creep in and rear their ugly heads.

Action:  my hair falls out.      Reaction 1:  I am sick.       Reaction 2:  I am killing the bad cells!

Action:  I am tired                 Reaction 1:  I will always be tired.   Reaction 2:  I will rest to get better!

Action:  I have a head-ache   Reaction 1:  I have brain cancer    Reaction 2:  Tylenol will take the pain away.

Action:  I want to go out in public    Reaction 1:  I am fine.        Reaction 2:  Remember your immune system, Stacey!

Action:  I lay down in bed and look at the Einstein poster about life.  Reaction 1:  I wonder if I will survive this thing?  Reaction 2:  Damn it!  I will fight!

I wonder if we are programmed to think negatively?  It is so much easier and so much more natural to think the worst first – to indulge the child voice in me.  I can’t… I won’t… this is too hard… it doesn’t matter what I do, I will fail.  It is almost decadent to allow the easier defeatist voice to speak on my behalf.  It takes energy to stifle the child and allow the adult to emerge.  I don’t always have the energy.

This morning, while walking with my husband, I had a break-down in the middle of Patterson Road.  I was not prepared for tears.  I had no idea they were lurking.  It’s like I was an innocent victim robbed of my happy mood by a stalker.  But there we were – en route – and I couldn’t contain myself.  My husband “gave me permission” to cry – and so I did.  I didn’t know why I was so upset until I told him that losing my hair was upsetting me.  There it was – my confession of sin.  My confession of vanity.  My confession that I didn’t want to look “sick”.  I held onto my husband’s arm and we walked in silence for the next while.  I had  a hard time processing what I just heard myself say.  Had I pretended to not care about my appearance all my life to spite my mom?  Had I ignored her pleas for me to take care of my skin because I was too stubborn to take her advice? What the hell was going on with me now?  I was filled with uncertainty – again.

By the end of the walk, I had decided that I would take a friend’s advice and get a short, short hair cut.  At least that way the loss would be less obvious.  I flashed back to the night my daughter was massaging my head to try to relieve my head-ache pain. She has always given me such great head-rubs.  She invited my youngest son to rub my head and he hesitated between not wanting to hurt my feelings and his aversion to pulling out strands of hair.  He witnessed my daughter calmly brushing the hair off her pants and my back so that I would not see the loss.  He didn’t know what to do.  It was one of those life moments when you are forced to make a decision and neither decision is the right one – but then, neither is wrong.  In any case, short hair is harder to see – so I concluded that was important to me.  The less evidence of the loss, the better.

“I used to wear a wig everyday, Stacey.” confessed one of my friends.  “I took a photo in to the wig-maker and she styled a wig with a hair-style similar to my own.”

Heading into winter, maybe that would be a good idea?  At least my head would be warm.  What does a wig feel like anyhow?  One of my other friends who has curly locks to die for offered me her hair.  Has that ever happened to you?  Has anyone ever offered you their hair – for real??  The offer was so generous as her hair was part of her personality.  I just couldn’t accept.  I don’t even like the idea that wigs are made from someone else’s hair.  How is that possible even?

Another friend of mine stopped by with a beautiful scarf yesterday.  I was so impressed, I cried as I opened it.  The colours were so warm – the colours of autumn.  I wrapped the scarf immediately around my head and it felt wonderful.  It was like having a security blanket to cling to.  It secured my hair in place and reassured me that everything was going to be okay.  Could I get used to having this on my head?  How would people react?  Would it be an eye magnet?  On my neck, it would be complimented and crooned about.  On my head… would it be a different story. Weird how the placement of a scarf can change the entire “look” of a person.  Head scarves mean “cancer patient” don’t they?

So, here I sit.  Conscious that strand by strand, I am losing my hair.  It is particularly noticeable after a shower.  I hesitate to shower as a result.  I don’t brush it.  I don’t blow dry it.  I don’t straighten it.  I am uncertain how I will react if the loss speeds up.

“There, there, Stacey” changes to “Hair, hair, Stacey”.  It is really neither here nor hair.  The idea of baldness, after-all, must surely grow on me.  The wig, at least, won’t leave me stranded!  Hair today, gone tomorrow.  (And so on…)

I am very positive that I am reacting differently to my hair loss than I thought I would.   I wonder what my mother would have said to me?  I wonder what my family and friends will think of me?  Will I still be strong without my hair – or is the Sampson and Delilah thing kick in?  I am so uncertain what hair-loss will mean to me, however, there is one thing I am positive about -I’m about to find out!

About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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8 Responses to I’m Very Positive…. that I am Uncertain

  1. hopebringsstrength says:

    You are so right with your realization that part of the struggle you are feeling is “loss”. Your hair is a part of you and as it falls out, you feel it’s loss. Fortunately it is a very small part of YOU. I hope you are able to work your way through this feeling of loss and come to a place where you know that it does not define you. It is not why you are loved and cherished by so many. It is not where you derive joy from. You are being forcibly guided to a place that we should all strive to go. A place that makes us look at who we really are. Buddhist monks and nuns shave their heads to remind themselves that attachment to things in this life – like vanity about one’s personal appearance – is the source of suffering. Once we learn to live and love without “attachment” we are free of suffering. I hope with all my heart that you find peace along the way. Much Love

  2. Wilma says:

    Head scarves really only mean “Thelma and Louise” .. I got the car .. you got the scarf .. let’s go! Kevin can be our “Brad Pitt'” LOL Love and hugs to you Stacey .. hair or no hair, YOU are still YOU!!

  3. 409 525 peguis street says:

    when you take the time to look at yourself in the mirror, you will see how beautiful you are with or without hair. hair is not what defines us as women that is for sure. when the time comes you have to wear something over your head, just remember the people women that always wore a scarf on their head, is shows beautify and grace, which you have lots of.

  4. I have lived my entire life not needing makeup or fancy hair stuff. Much to my own mother, sisters and daughters frustration. I just don’t need it. So I can relate to that part of your life. I’m comfortable with me. For whatever reason I didn’t need those things. I doubt seriously that you lived this long in your life not needing those things and being comfortable without needing those things, to suddenly doubt that part of your life. I know I don’t “know” you but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion you were not being stubborn or pretending those things didn’t matter. They likely, just did not matter. And imagine the amount of stress we did NOT have in our lives because of that. 😉

    I am no expert on cancer or loss. So I apologize. I just want to support you. If I had a guess, I suspect the loss of your hair and other body changes would be associated with loss. And maybe that includes loss of control of your body.

    Cancer is a wicked monster and it only makes sense to me that you feel these things. I think your mom would tell you a lot of wise, but most importantly, loving and supporting things.

    Just remember your beauty – because it’s not going any where.

    • inmycorner says:

      Funny – you do know me. And I think you are right. I appreciate your words of wisdom, Colleen. Yes – it is the loss – so today I am not going to lose anything. I am going to be pro-active and shave my hair off! I’ll beat the chemicals to it! I AM in control of my hair — for now. It is a game – who is in control anyhow! grin. They would support me — you are right again. I will try to find my beauty –

      • “TRY” to find your beauty. You don’t need to try. It’s there.

        Did you ever see the Dove commercial where they had artists draw a woman the way they saw themselves, and then have an artist draw that same woman the way others saw her? If you haven’t seen it….you should google it. It’s amazing.

        Your beauty isn’t in your hair. Or your mirror. It’s in the eyes and hearts of those looking at you and loving you.

        AND WAY TO BEAT THAT CANCER DOWN! Congrats on taking control away from it! Interesting thing….I’ve heard that those who lose hair due to chemo, often when it grows back it will be completely different! Maybe you will have a flowing mane of black tresses! 🙂

      • inmycorner says:

        Black tesses, eh? Who knows… Maybe it will be curly and red. In any case, I appreciate your support for a new definition of beauty. I HEAR you and will work hard to change my mental model. I have always been able to see through people’s outer beauty to their inner beauty. I have always felt what I lost in beauty I made up for in personality. Funny – hair just seems to be a sticking point. ANyhow – onward and towards Telly Savalas look – I don’t think it ever became outdated!

      • Who loves ya baby????

        That’s a great quote for Telly! I loved him! And no, that look NEVER goes out of style. 🙂

        You should write a piece called “It’s Not About The Hair” where you write all of the feelings, thoughts and frustrations of losing your hair, and then BAM, take the other side and make the very strong case for understanding it’s not about the hair. It’s about what the hair represents.

        Red and curly! Good old Irish or Scottish look!!!! Yes, that would be lovely.

        Don’t let me get all pushy and positivity thumping on you. You feel exactly how you need to feel and I will babble on from this end without a real clue of your reality. But, with a very strong desire to “make” you feel better. Like I have that kind of super power. But, I will pretend I do.


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