"There are studies that show that for many women, losing their hair is worse than losing a breast. That's because you can conceal the loss of a breast, but hair loss is so obvious and apparent."
-- Marisa Weiss, M.D., president and founder, Breastcancer.org
I was taught as a child that dandelions that had matured into those spherical seed heads, or “blow balls” as I remembered calling them, were little wishes just waiting to be made. I would pluck them by the stem out of the grass, close my eyes, make a wish, blow on them, and then watch the seed heads softly float off in the air. I was reminded yesterday of blowballs because as I moved about my day, I began to notice little strands of blonde hair softly floating off in the air (and landing on my shoulder, or my arm, or the table, or the bathroom floor….). I noticed them floating down to the ground more frequency as the day progressed. To help counter the onset of tears that welled up in my eyes and the lump that formed in my throat when seeing the floating strands of hair, I found that often yesterday I paused, closed my eyes, and wished for strength.
My blowball wish.
It is not like I did not realize that this day was impending. In fact, my shedding is beginning nearly to the day that I was told it would begin. I was told, ‘about 14 days after your first chemo treatment your hair will begin to fall out. By three weeks after that treatment, you will probably want to just shave the rest off.’
Today is day 14.
So it begins. Over the course of the next week my hair will fall out.
When I was a child, my grandpa used to sneak up behind me and pluck out a single random stray hair on the top, middle of my head. “YOUCH!” I would holler while involuntarily scratching my head in attempt to relieve the twang from the pluck. He thought that was great fun. With an ornery smile he would place the plucked hair back on my head and say, “don’t worry, it will grow back”.
I know, “don’t worry, it will grow back.”
But the thing is, knowing that does not take away the pang in my chest from the feeling of being unfairly violated, again. My heart hurts. In perspective, the loss will be easier to mourn and heal from than forever losing my nipples. That loss was rough and one of the very first ones I had to deal with emotionally. I have spent lots of time staring at my chest in the mirror getting comfortable with my ‘new look’, because it is not normal. I believe I have gotten to a place where I am at peace with that loss. Losing my hair is just another loss to mourn and heal from. It is just another hurdle to overcome in my race for my cure. This next week will probably be the worst emotionally with regards to losing my hair. Dealing with the annoying hair-wrapped around the soap bar, clogged up shower drain, back of the elbow itch from a strand of fallen hair stuck on my arm...I know when it is all gone, I will pull out those wigs, hats, and scarfs I have compiled and have fun with my cue ball.
As was the case in each physical and emotional struggle I faced leading up to this point in my treatment and recovery, I know that I will be given exactly the right amount of strength to see me through this struggle too. God is faithful. But until then, I will pause, close my eyes, and wish for strength.
My blowball wish.