I have a buzz cut. The end.
My hair started falling out about 6 days ago on Monday. I was brushing my hair before work and the hair just…stayed in the brush. My hair has gotten pretty long lately (I’ve been growing it out for about 2 years) so I was pulling out entire handfuls every time I needed to brush my hair. The worst was in the shower. While rinsing out the conditioner on Tuesday, I pulled out so much hair that I started sobbing loudly enough that my partner Deejay could hear me from the other room. Shower crying sucks, and I’ve done a lot of it since I got diagnosed in June.
This was what I was afraid of. After finding out that I would be going through chemo, I would lay awake at night imagining my hair falling out. I knew this would be what really got to me. Hair is part of your identity…sometimes it’s the first thing people notice. I went to cosmetology school and cut and dyed a lot of hair. I know how important hair is to people, and it’s important to me. I dyed my hair purple on and off for 6 years, and had a lot of different hairstyles during that time. I recently dyed my hair brown, and I have to admit that due to all that dying and bleaching and whatnot my hair was pretty badly damaged. But it was still my hair, and it was still attached to my head where it belonged. And I had the choice to do with it what I wanted.
Chemo took away my choice. Chemo is kind of an asshole like that. It just forces you to feel ways you’d really really really rather not feel. For the first week after my second infusion, my mouth felt like it was entirely made of canker sores. Drinking water hurt. That’s over, thank goodness, but I’m sure it’s gonna happen again after my next infusion.
Anyway, the point is, I just had to deal with my hair falling out and face the inevitable truth that it would soon be gone altogether.
Enter Friday Night. I hadn’t brushed my hair that morning for fear of pulling out half my head with some brain attached, but I forgot to brush it before the shower to make shampooing easier. In the shower already, I decided to just roll with it and hope the conditioner could do its job of untangling it. BOY WAS I WRONG. I didn’t realize that all the hair that was falling out had tangled up with the hair that was still there, and shampooing and conditioning my hair just turned it into one gigantic dread. I cannot begin to tell you how panicked I felt (hint: very panicked). I tried combing it out with three different combs and two different brushes, but to no avail. It was a disaster of an evening. I decided to let my hair dry and try to brush it out in the morning.
Morning came and my hair was more terrifying dry than it had been wet. I texted my friend Will and asked if he had clippers that he could buzz my hair with. Will’s a champ and the best friend I could ask for, and he was totally down to turn me into a little boy. With my hair in a bun (almost masking how ugly it looked), I turned up at Will’s with Deejay by my side and said, “Let’s do this.”
It took a while because my hair grows in nine hundred directions and Will essentially had to mow the hair off my head, but it was finally done. Initially, I felt relieved. I wouldn’t have to pull out long strands of hair every day. Now, the hair will just fall out on its own without me noticing (until I have bald spots that require me to shave the rest off and look like a little egg). And it doesn’t look bad. It looks very different, and I feel a little bit like I have my grandfather’s flat top, but it isn’t bad. I’ll just wear a smoky eye every day forever and it’ll look like a style choice. Plus, I live in Portland. Tons of girls shave their heads.
But of course there’s a part of me that’s still really upset. This is all just a bunch of bullshit. I finally cried for like 30 seconds last night about it because I feel like everything is being stolen from me. The physical and emotional toll chemo is taking on me has been pretty hard to deal with, and I’m mad. Mad at the universe for doing this to me, mad at my body for trying to eat itself alive. It’s all. A bunch. Of bullshit. I stay pretty positive for the most part, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because it absolutely is. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t even know how to end this post, really…
So I guess I can take comfort in knowing that hair always grows back, right? Yeah. It’ll grow back. Until then, your favorite 10-year-old son will just try to stay positive about all this.