Losing my hair was honestly the darkest day of my post-cancer life. I know that sounds crazy because you’re probably thinking the darkest day was when the doctor told me I had this horrible disease and that I could never bear my own children.
They both rank right up there, but for some reason, for me, the day my hair really started to fall out was horrifying. Calling my hairdresser CJ to come to my house to shave my head was so hard. I had long blonde hair my whole life. I’ve never had short hair since kindergarten and, honestly, I felt not only defined by my long blonde hair but that it was such an important part of who I was.
I quickly learned that wasn’t true but on that day, it was horrible. I sat out on the deck of our house and cried for hours. My mom tried to console me, but nobody could make me feel like myself again in that moment.
It took some time, but eventually I started researching wigs online and decided I wanted to wear something that made me feel like myself again. This is such a personal choice. Some women want to embrace their bald/shaved head, some wear hats/scarves and some go the wig route.
Maybe being in the public eye so much played into my decision, I don’t know, but once I got used to my wigs and how to style them, I started to feel more confident and like my old self again. I didn’t look “sick,” which was so important to me. I didn’t want people to look at me with pity because I “looked” like I had cancer. I just wanted to be “normal” like everyone else.
I want you to say these words out loud: I will not feel guilty because the idea of losing my hair horrifies me slightly more than cancer itself.
I get it. I felt it, too. Let’s face it: for a woman, the idea of going bald can be heartbreaking. Does any woman ever really long to hear those words or embrace that realization? We’re so often defined by our hair, from Jennifer Aniston to Marge Simpson. We notice hair first, we love hair, we covet other women’s hair, and we’re never, ever happy with what we have… until it’s gone.
Cancer shoves so much in our faces – does it have to take our hair, too? I mean, really? Eyebrows… eyelashes… are you kidding me? I looked like an alien in the mirror after I lost my hair, eyebrows and eyelashes! It is our right to rant about this!
But while ranting can be a tremendous release, I’m all about pushing forward. So let’s tackle this together. You have some control over how this is going to play out, whether you want to shave your head during a party with girlfriends or you’d rather let the toxins do the work for you.
Either way, don’t be surprised if you change your mind on how to proceed, and don’t be hard on yourself if that happens.