Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Coping with Cancer, expander, Lymphovascular Invasion, mastectomy, Oncotype, reconstructive surgery, Tamoxifen, Uncategorized

The Long and Short of it

Yesterday, a friend of mine asked, “Do you regret cutting your hair?” Keep in mind that she has stage 4 breast cancer. She has grown and lost her hair multiple times. She is currently has enough hair, where when she puts on a cap, thinks she looks like (in her words) a hip barista. I’m trying to convince her to dye, what little is left, hot pink. She’s not there yet, but I know with a little more encouragement (read between the lines- nagging), she’ll get there.

But back to the story… I try to never have any regrets in life. Everything is an experience. A lesson.

exit and enterance

My hair and I had a deal: I loved it and it loved me. So much so that I didn’t cut it for almost 10 years. I mean a little snip here and there, and once to dislodge a Hot Wheels, but other than that we had a symbiotic relationship.

While I know the fashion industry dictates that women over 40 shouldn’t have long hair,  it was my security blanket. We had been together for such a long time. My hair was my identity… well that and being Nathan’s mom.

But things change.

Not the “Nathan’s mom” part… although some days…

well anyway…

After hearing “Aggressive, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma” I immediately made up my mind that I would donate my hair before watching it get swept off the floor, clog the shower drain, and stay on my pillow long after my head had left it. Even when the doctor said that many people with breast cancer don’t need chemo anymore, I still heard the words Aggressive. Invasive. Carcinoma echo in my head (where brain cells used to be before becoming Nathan’s mom).

So off I went and off it went.

Not a little at a time, to get used to the idea, but the whole kit & kaboodle.

Snip. Snip. Snip.

I immediately looked and felt like a different person.

Since “After”, it’s been cut again (and again), bleached and dyed. Things I never would have done “Before”. So to answer her question:

Do I miss my hair? Yes, actually, I miss it a lot.

Will I grow it long? Yes, at 6” a year it’ll take about 4 years.

Do I regret cutting it? No. Because when you get rid of your security blanket, you have nowhere to hide. So here I am world: dyed hair (currently purple), tattooed (7 and counting!), and pierced (ears and nose).

My type of cancer has a fairly reasonable chance of recurrence, and I won’t have the option of ‘opting out’ again. So if I lose all my hair I know I can handle it. I’ll dye something, pierce something,  and tattoo something. Who’s with me? Who’s in?

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