I feel an overwhelming urge to write about the elephant in the room: my hair. I've been getting an influx of messages pertaining to my hair, so I am here to put your curiosity to rest.
To begin, I need to go back in time to when I was first diagnosed. I can vividly recall twiddling my fingers anxiously as I awaited the news from my oncologist. She highlighted three guaranteed symptoms:
Left = before haircut. Right = after haircut.
I was then faced with a decision: to buzz or not to buzz. There was no way in hell that I was going to watch my hair fall out. Cancer had taken enough from me already, and I was certainly not going to let cancer be in control of my hair too. If it was inevitable that my hair was coming out, I wanted it to be on my terms.
I marched directly to my parents' room. "Mom. It's time." In order to prevent myself from chickening out, I snagged a dull pair of scissors and gave myself a horrendously hilarious haircut. The objective was to make my hair look so unappealing that I'd have no other choice but to buzz it off. I then passed the baton over to my mom and Brian, and they did the deed. Nervous for the big reveal, I crept over to the mirror. I expected to be flooded with emotions, but instead I felt nothing. Not sadness nor anger. Not fear nor contentment.
Fast forward to three weeks into my chemo treatments. My hair had not fallen out yet. I remember thinking to myself, "This is odd." Fast forward to 6 weeks into treatment. Not only had my hair not fallen out, but it was growing. What the f***? Worried that this meant that my chemo was not working, I cautiously inquired. To my relief, my oncologist assured me that my lack of hair loss had nothing to do with the effectiveness of chemo. Fast forward to today. I still have my hair. I might just be the 0.001% of Hodgkin's patients whose hair fails to fall out.
You might be surprised to learn that I still have hair, and therefore, you might be curious as to why I frequently wear head wraps. The answer is simple. I often feel prettier in head wraps. Honestly, I don't feel bad-ass with my new haircut. I wish I could say otherwise. I miss my old hair tremendously. I miss brushing it. I miss being able to "do my hair" before going out. I impatiently look forward to the day when I will be able to run my fingers through my hair again. Until that glorious day arrives, I will have to live with the buzz.
Before I end this post, it's imperative I make it clear that my experience with my hair is unique to me. Everyone's experience with chemo hair-loss is different. Some people let their hair fall out naturally. Some people purchase wigs. Some people choose to embrace their beautiful, bald head. Some people are absolutely devastated by their hair loss, while some people could not care less. If there is one take-away from this post, I hope it's that everyone's cancer journey is one-of-a-kind. It's not always beautiful, but it's one-of-a-kind.
All my love,
Hi, I'm Lia. I have Hodgkin's lymphoma, but Hodgkin's lymphoma does not have me.