Monday, February 09, 2015

Taking Off The Hat

Being bald is still a bit of a challenge for me.

I used to walk by the mirror and didn't recognize the person there.
Now, I walk by a photo of me with hair and I don't remember being "her."

I want to be "her" again.
I don't know if I will ever be.

I mean look at her.

Yeah she's pregnant and fat, but whatever. She seems confident--even though she needs her roots done.

Pregnant with Cancer | Sharing my bald head with the world

I'm not her any more. I'm not that girl with that giant smile and long blonde hair.

I feel like in so many ways that defined me; it was who I was--the blonde girl. Now, I don't have that security blanket to hide under.

I'm bald. Like bald bald.

Everyone who has seen the hairless version of me says "at least you have a nice shaped head." But I'm pretty sure people say that to anyone who has cancer and has to shave their head. At least, I feel like it's that way.

And not that people saying that upsets me; it doesn't. It just feels like they need something to say when they see my bare head.

But what are you supposed to say to someone who lost their hair from chemo?

I suppose there is no right or great thing to say. Whatever anyone says, I won't believe them.

And it's not just that. I look at this guy down here and he's freaking handsome.

I know he loves me no matter what.
He's loved me when I've been fat, skinny, had acne, cellulite, stretch marks, double chins and now with no hair. But being bald does something to a woman's confidence. I feel ugly. And way too ugly for him.

Fighting AML | My feelings on cancer hairloss

And I've debated on how/if/when I wanted to share my hairless head with the world. I don't know when I'll be ready. I don't know if I'll ever be ready. I don't know what I'm scared of or why I've hesitated showing my head to people. But I'm tired of hiding it.

However, when I take a picture or see a photo with my bald head in the background it's depressing. It's shocking. It's not me.

It was so difficult those first few weeks. It was especially tough when I came home from my 34-day stint in the hospital.

I'll never forget my first night home.

Bex was still in the hospital. I was obviously upset about that, but being at home--where I haven't been since my diagnosis--was strange.

I was so happy to leave the hospital and finally enjoy home-life again but I didn't expect to be so down and depressed once I got there.

Walking in MY bathroom, in MY house, with MY things, and looking in MY mirror was one of the hardest things I've had to do.

I guess it was because I hadn't been in the one place that is OURS and that is familiar since my life was turned upside down. And now I've come home looking pale, frail, skinny, hairless, and sick and it's all more real.

As odd as this sounds, it still seems like a shock, almost dreamlike, but it also feels more real... if that makes any sense. I guess it all sunk in more when I was home.

I wasn't living in the hospital fighting this disease any more.

I was at my home, in my environment, with this disease--with cancer--trying to get back to a normal routine. And now, I'm going to feel all of the emotions that really come with it.

I deeply felt the depression that accompanies cancer.

I was coming to the realization that it's going to be a long road before it's "over" and knowing that it's never really going to go away. For the rest of my life, I will have to have check ups, check the box for "cancer" on medical forms, inform doctors I've had chemo and worry about the effects it may have on body longterm. It's possible I can develop more cancers, especially now that I've had chemo.

All of these things were weighing on my mind daily. Plus I would cry every time I looked in the mirror at the bald girl who stared back at me.

Knowing that this won't go away and knowing that I had to go back in the hospital eventually, I sat in my bathtub for the first time in almost 40 days, I just stared at the faucet with tears streaming down my face.

I'm home.
I don't want to go back and deal with this.
I just want to be home.
I don't want to go to the doctor.
I don't want to know when my next round of chemo is.
I don't want any of it.
I want to hide from it.
I want to avoid it all.

For days after coming home from the hospital, I couldn't snap out of it. I cried every day, at different times of the day.

You'd think I'd be ecstatic to be home, and in a way I was, but I could never get away from thinking about the fact that I was going to have to go back to the hospital.
I was going to have to get more chemo.
I was going to have to do it all again and again and again.
I was going to have to fight to get through this.

And I was still getting used the hairless version of me.

Now, with Christmas around the corner, I was going to see more people I knew. And, eventually I would want to take off my hat to scratch my head.

But once I got comfortable enough, I'd take my hat off and watch people's faces react to the shock of seeing "bald Cass."

I mean it's shocking, of course, to see me bald, especially to those who knew me pre-cancer.

Seeing someone without hair for the first time is going to be strange. But everyone who has seen me with no hair has been great about it.

I just worry about kids who I may be around eventually. That worries me.

And I do feel like if I go somewhere people stare like they know I have cancer... maybe it's just me thinking they stare.

I don't know why I care so much about something so dumb. I'm alive right? So who cares if I have hair or not?

I feel like that's how I should feel.

I feel like I'll never feel like I look good again. Now, I think my eyelashes are starting to fall out and it's getting harder to put on mascara. They all just clump together and I have to work with my lashes for a long time to get them decent.

Thank God I have blonde eyebrows. Klay and I have always made fun of each other's eyebrows. His are huge, dark and bushy and he says I don't have any cause you can't see them. Good thing is, if they go away I won't look much different.

I guess there are good things and bad things that come with losing your hair.

BAD: One of the tough things to figure out is where to stop your makeup with no "official" hairline. Should I bronze my head because it's pale? Ehh... maybe that's too much.

GOOD: But it's great to not have to dry, straighten or fix my hair. It's cut down my time to get ready by 40 minutes or more.

BAD: - My head gets cold if it's too windy or even cool in the house with the fan on.

GOOD: I'll save money on shampoo and hair products.

BAD: It sucks having a hat on all day, especially when I'm in public, cause it gets hot and itchy.

GOOD: I'm not necessarily worried about it raining and having a bad hair day due to weather. SCORE!

BAD: I'd get people staring if I went without a hat.

GOOD: I take much quicker showers. I'm more like a man in that way now.

BAD: I have a huge mole on the back of my head that I just learned about two weeks ago. Apparently no one told me about it. Klay said "he thought I knew." I guess he thought I had eyes in the back of my head. Who knows?

GOOD: Maybe when it grows back I'll have hair like Jennifer Aniston or a Victoria's Secret model. That'd be sweet.

BAD: Or it could grow back frizzy, crazy or look like Don King.

GOOD: Oh! And maybe I won't have a cow lick in the front of my head where I can do a center hair-part. That'd be amaze!

In a lot of ways, I don't want to mess with hair again. It takes up a lot of time. But I see cute hairstyles and stuff on Pinterest and think "oh I'd love to try that..." and then I remember I'm bald.

Unfortunately, I still grow leg hair.

Seriously, chemo? You suck.

So I guess it's time for me to not give a shit.

I have leukemia.

I don't have any hair.


I'm bald.

I'm different.

It's life and it's part of my journey.

Now, I just look more like my boys.

AML Fighter | Pregnant with AML

No hair... don't care,