Before cancer, when I would go to get my hair done, I would always have one request of the stylist and that was, "Please do not cut my hair too short because then I look like my brothers."
I never appreciated my hair until I lost it all during chemo. I had hair that lived its own life. It did not behave in any way shape or form. It grew out instead of down so I could not grow it past my shoulders. When blown out straight (beaten into submission), it would go to the middle of my back.
I would go through phases of growing it out as long as it could go and then cutting it as short as possible while avoiding looking like my brothers.
I mentioned in a previous post that I opted against and hair saving technique (the cold cap) during chemo because of this hate/hate relationship I had with my hair. Do I regret it? Ah, a little. Now, though, I have this short buzz cut going on and once I have the ummph to get myself organized with my contacts, makeup and sunglasses, I think I could make it work.
For now though, with 4 days left of radiation, my skin burns like the sun and I cannot wear anything other than big t-shirts to help my skin not feel like it is falling off and to try to hide the fact that I only have one boob.
At times, I do forget all of this process the diagnosis, the surgery, the chemotherapy but then I catch sight of myself in the mirror and it's like whoa, who is that. Lately, though, I am starting to recognize this woman in the mirror. I am a fighter, a survivor, someone who did not care about anything except beating cancer. I will continue to be this way long after my crazy hair grows in.
Even though I look like my brothers more than I ever thought possible, I am still a girl. I am still someone who can be considered "beautiful" even though I am heavier than I have been while not pregnant (yeah Taxol and the required steroids will lead to weight gain) and lacking a breast.
I am almost ready to go out and about without a wig. I am almost ready to be brave enough to show people who do not know me that I was fighting something. I am proud of me - the real me, the me without hair to hide behind (especially missed with the zit that is growing on my forehead that needs hiding) and without the curves that I knew so well. Most of my wardrobe has to be redone because my well worn tank tops are too low, too small to handle the new foundation garments that hold the prosthetic boob. Not to mention that cleavage is not existent now on the right side, which makes my old clothes unsuitable for my new life, my new body.
Having experienced pregnancy, I know what it is like to not recognize your body, to not be able to see your feet but I did not know what it would be like to never get something back. After delivery of the child, you get your body back in a way (though it is never really the same as it was before kids, you still have all your parts). With cancer, my body is now modified beyond what I recognize. As someone who grew boobs at 10 years old, I now start my 4th decade with just one boob. I am ready to kick butt as the new Amazon - as someone with the rough and tumble buzz cut and the new clothes needed to wear my armor. I do not need a breast back to feel whole but I could definitely use my hair!
What I think about in the time between...
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