Baring it All! - Going Bald for Cancer Research UK

What would you give to see me lose all my long hair?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

59 going on 58 days - "Ugly!"

On a journey to London this morning, I caught a glimpse of myself in the driving mirror, and (again!) tried to imagine a hairless scalp. I said this to my two youngest, who were busy reading and talking. The conversation that followed was not meant to be offensive - it's a conversation with children, who don't always understand (though, when you think they won't, that's when they do - better than you want them to! :-))

"I'm going to look very different without hair. I just can't imagine it." (...imagining it only too well!)

"Oh, I can. You'll look wierd" laughed my generous daughter.

"I can imagine it mum! You'll be ugly!" said my understanding son.

They both thought it a great laugh.

They know why I'm doing it, and I thought they would get the ideas behind it. But, I must say, there was a distinct lack of empathy (and of civility! ) filling the car at that moment. And I didn't very much feel like going through all the explanations again (that people going through chemo don't have the choice; my efforts at fundraising using a symbolic gesture of both the positive and negative aspects of the treatment...) At that point, it seemed to me I might as well have been doing a Simpsons' "Blah blah blah!"

...and actually, it also upset me a little that they might think I'll be ugly to them (I don't mind them thinking me wierd - that comes with the territory! :-D ). I guess some of these thoughts might go through the mind of someone about to lose their hair...

"Will I look ugly? - Will my partner think I'm ugly? - Will people stop and stare at me in the street? - They'll (think) know I've got Cancer, and I don't want everyone knowing everything that goes on in my life - I'll have to cover my head, so they don't stare - I'll stand out - I'll look like a man! - Better wear more feminine clothes to counteract that... - All the lumps on my head will show - And it's going to be white, because the sun never touches it! - Why me?"

And, of course, cancer isn't limited to women, and (apart from the wearing of feminine clothes bit) the thoughts are just as likely to cross the mind of a man. The loss of hair is just as important an apparent 'loss of personality'. Many men have to face it anyhow (we can all think of at least one guy with 'premature hair loss'! ) and equally don't get the choice of whether to keep it or not. But, I suppose the difference is that, with chemotherapy, there's no gradual getting used to it. It's all, then it's nothing.

My friend's hair is still there at the moment. And, maybe it won't fall out. But, in a way, the hair loss is a sign the chemo injections are targeting the cells, and it's working. So, there's a bit of a dichotomy on whether you want it to fall out. Either way it can be positive:
hair=keep image
no hair = proof chemo working


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