The Thing About the Hair

Today was the day that I got my hair cut for a cranial prosthesis, aka a wig, which, by the way, isn’t covered by insurance as we learned this morning, and it’s not a small ticket item. Thank God for credit cards. This is a lot sooner than I expected to be bald, but using my own hair feels a lot better to me than a synthetic wig or someone else’s hair. I know how to care for my hair – which shampoos and conditioners work, how long it takes to dry and how to style it. When you’re getting a wig, the texture and weight of your hair matters as much as what color you want it to be, which in my case, for now at least, is the blonde I have with a few of my glitter strands showing. I’ll be fine when it finally does go all gray, but til then, it’s staying blonde.

The reason I’ve struggled so much with losing my hair, is that my hair has been part of my identity ever since I can remember.  I was that little white-blonde girl – the hair so white that you could still spot me in a crowd of blondes without looking twice. The hair my dad, still to this day, likes to stroke and play with when I’m sitting on the floor next to him on the couch. The hair so fine that when I was a baby, my grandfather would rub my head like a genie’s lamp to make it grow. Even growing up in Minnesota, I don’t remember many other blondes in my classes – sure, there were a few, but blonde wasn’t the dominating hair color as you’d maybe expect amongst a community of people of mostly Norwegian ancestry.

The biggest laugh about my hair color? Because it’s very clearly from my dad’s side of the family, I always thought it was the Irish in our blood. My dad’s great-grandparents on his father’s side came here from Ireland. His mother’s side were German/Swiss and a little English. My mom’s side is mostly Czech-Austrian/German and Irish on her dad’s side, and most of them are redheads.

I have a friend from high school who married a blond Norwegian man. His hair color didn’t tip me off at all LOL. It was when their daughter was little and her hair looked just like mine had that it clicked. It was from my very first generation Norwegian great-grandmother. Made me laugh out loud!

With all these connections and my identity wrapped into my hair like a comfortable blanket making me feel younger than I am or am starting to look, it was hard for me to face losing it. When I heard it would fall out around the 3rd week after chemo, I scheduled an appointment to have it shaved off because I knew the OCD in me would start pulling at it and I’d have a bigger mess than I was already facing. Then, I found out there is a local wig maker who makes wigs for women going through chemo using their own hair. It was a win-win. So, I went in and he cut it down to about 1/8″ all over my head. The wig will be ready tomorrow. It’s a good thing I like hats, too, for those days when a wig would be too much.

About Pink Ribbon Road

This blog is about receiving and living with a breast cancer diagnosis.
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