Monday, May 15, 2017

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow and Back Again!

The last week of 2016, I found out that I was no longer responding to the oral chemo I had started in October, and that my cancer had spread. My body had puffed up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and I got to welcome in the New Year with yet another hospital stay. Treatment Plan A had been a bust. Plan B was a failure. Now we were onto Plan C. We immediately started IV chemo (Gem/Carbo)...

With IV chemo, we knew there was a pretty good chance that I'd end up losing my hair... again. Since I had been down that road before, I knew I could totally handle it.  It still sucked, because my hair had grown out so long and healthy from the last go-around and I was loving it. I knew it would come back, eventually. So, 3 weeks in, it started falling out and a month later I had a pretty good balding stripe right down the top of my head. It was time to shave it.

I decided that I wanted to share the experience with My Tribe (my friends and family). I wanted people to see that it really wasn't such a scary thing.  If I could do it, so could they.  I grabbed two of my besties, my wigs, and headed over to my friend's salon for the "big event".  I shared the whole thing live on Facebook (you can watch it HERE), and was overwhelmed by the amount of support I got from all of my people.

Notice the bald stripe leading to my bald patch?

Almost gone!

Celebrating with my besties the day after and sporting my pink wig.

And then... about three weeks later, my hair stopped falling out and started growing back!

Now I know what some of you might be saying, "What a waste! You made such a big deal about sharing getting your head shaved and it came right back! Why'd you even bother?"
Well, here's the thing, you never know how your body is going to react to chemo. Last time, I was Mr. Clean-bald just a few months in.  This time, my hair was thinning. I'd lose a handful of hair each time I ran a brush through it. I had a bald spot. Everything pointed to me being a chrome dome again soon.

Here's the other thing, I have very little control over what happens to my body anymore. Sometimes I don't even recognize myself.  Deciding WHEN to shave my head was me taking control of something. It was me showing that I was stronger than my circumstances (even if it was just hair). Not just that, but every time I would brush my hair and pull a fist full of hair out, it was a reminded that I was sick. Enough was enough.

Badass is BACK!!

Know what else? A kind of transformation took place.  I got my badassedness back! As she shaved my head and that thinning hair fell to the floor, I was becoming fierce. It was empowering.  It still is. I feel stronger.  Maybe not always physically or emotionally, but mentally, I'm stronger. I even go out now without a wig (something that I NEVER did the first time), and I'm owning my battle. Don't get me wrong, I still have lots of wigs, but they're just for fun! Accessories.

I'm not going to get too attached to my hair yet, because like I said, you never know... I've still got 4 months of chemo left. It's just all part of the adventure and I'm learning you've just gotta roll with it! It's totally worth it to me to step out of my comfort zone from time to time, if it means showing cancer who's boss!

Oh, and that Plan C chemo... it's doing the job! It's wreaking havoc on my body, but I'll take it because the tumors are shrinking and the cancer is being controlled!!

One more thing... I need to take a minute to thank my friend, Nona Pitts.  She's my stylist and owner of Salon 5150 in Brea, CA.  She has made her salon a safe place for me to feel beautiful and encouraged to try out hairstyles and crazy wigs. She works miracles on those wigs I bring in! Nona is so dear to me and I am grateful for her and her staff.  Thanks, Babe!

My Girl, Nona!