Sunday, May 9, 2010

Last Day of Hair

My last day of long hair was yesterday. I think I told you guys in the middle of last week that it had started to shed a little, and that accelerated until on Saturday I could brush it out and brush it out and never stop getting hair. Not just a few strands either, but a lot of hair. Also, my scalp at the back of my neck was a little tingly and sore. The doctor had told me to expect that.

Friday and Saturday I wore my hair in a bun to keep me from fiddling with it all day, and to stop it from getting absolutely everywhere. I wasn't sure what to do. It looked totally normal. You would never have thought my hair was falling out. I had so, so much of it, and it wasn't coming out in clumps. I thought, "I could probably go a few more days like this before it even looks thin," but I also went to the wig store and picked up the wig I'd ordered.

This shedding process was getting a little creepy and depressing. I'd stand at the mirror, brush my hair, hold up a handful of it, and say, "Wow, look at that." Lather, rinse, and repeat this all day. Matt took to standing next to me when I would take it down and brush it, just to provide moral support. Not that I was freaking out--not at all--but the whole scene was a bit grim.

Finally, sometime Saturday evening, I thought, "Okay, this needs to be over." I didn't want to mourn every handful as it went, for days. Did I mention we are talking about a lot of hair? Like a metric ton. I didn't want to spend another day with hair loss as the top story, I wanted to get out in front of it. Somehow it started to seem like not such a big deal. I climbed the mountain of Whatever and reached the peak of To Hell With It.

On the way to see Iron Man 2 (it was okay), Matt and I stopped at Target and bought some hair clippers. We also bought some tiny candy bars, but they aren't part of this story. When we got back home, our resolve wavered. Matt said, "I mean, it still looks so pretty." And it did. It looked normally-thick too. But I knew all that hair was a dead man walking. Shedding like crazy. And that tingly feeling was spreading. The hair was strong, but Cytoxan is stronger. As Matt said, holding a handful of hair, "Well, I bet it's kicking the ass of any cancer cells in there."

Then we took iPhone pictures of ourselves in the mirror--like, hey! here we are with some hair!--then we agreed it was time to get her done. I said, "It's late and this is going to take an hour." Matt said, "It's going to take ten minutes." And he was right. I sat in a chair in front of the mirror up in the Golden Palace, and he buzzed my head all over with the #7 guard, and left it a little longer on top. I also drank a teensy cocktail, but that isn't part of this story.


We joked about the scene in The Bourne Identity where dude gives the girl an adorably chic bob just by hacking at it with nail scissors, and Matt promised to wipe the whole place down for fingerprints when we were done. You want him on your team, people. It wasn't supposed to be perfect--I just wanted to be able to put my wig on, and for the rest of it to go ahead and fall out without clogging all the drains of the world. The result is a sort of cross between a Riot Grrl and Dennis the Menace. I had thought watching might be a downer, but it was kind of fascinating seeing it all get cut off, and we were pretty jolly. The pile of hair on the tile was just enormous, wow. Matt said, "We will never forget this day."

Anyway, what I am getting to with this endless story is this: All this has turned out to be Not That Bad. Like, I am sorry that I ever spent a minute worrying about my hair falling out. Granted, I am not bald yet, but it's such a drastic change that I feel like I can imagine baldness, and it doesn't bother me. Turns out, I still look like myself. It seems that hair loss doesn't make your face fall off. How about that?

This morning I came downstairs in my wig, and Hank and Laura were excited to see it. (We had talked to Hank about the whole issue last week, and when I overheard him tell Laura that my medicine was making my hair fall out, I knew he had successfully processed it.) Right away Hank said, "Show me your regular hair." So I pulled off the wig. Laura laughed and said, "You look like a man!" Hank squealed and said, "You look like a man! A mailman!" Then I put the wig back on and they were like, are we still talking about this?

So I spent some time in the wig today--I went shopping with Pretty Neighbor--and I think it is going to work great. In it I look like the naughtiest flight attendant you ever saw. I'll have pictures soon. Goodnight sweethearts and Happy Mother's Day to those of you for whom that applies. xoxo-B

30 comments:

Viki said...

I remember before I started my chemo I had my hair cut short. Finally, when it was really falling out, we bought the clippers and my husband shaved my head. I did have a couple moments of crying but quickly I got pretty used to it. There's no right way or wrong way to act when this happens. Just keep hanging in there. Hope you had a good Mother's Day.

Amy said...

Wow, Becky--well done! I know Viki is right in that there is no "right" way to handle it: you will feel how you feel. But it's been amazing to see the progression of your emotions regarding this. From not even wanting to think about it, to rocking that cute wig.

And Pretty Neighbor has such a cute bob, I bet the two of you looked like the hottest flight attendants EVER out and about.

abdpbt said...

Good call you made here. No, great call, and so much a Becky way to deal with it, too, because as you were describing the handfuls of hair coming out, I was feeling myself tear up. And if it were me I would have totally gone with that and savored that, milked it dry, but you are Becky, not me -- so you're like, "Enough of this nonsense!"

Which is why I always am left thinking cancer doesn't stand a chance here.

Happy Mothers Day

Elle said...

Zomg, can't wait to see photos, I was thinking about yr hair this morning. (Is that weird?) Shopping sounds like a great mothers' day. Eyes up! See you.

Veronica said...

You continually astound me with your positive attitude about all this! Way to get it over with. You look awesome in your white jeans and with your buzz cut, can't wait to see pics of the wig. Happy Mama's Day!

Jane said...

The bob looks great. Matt did a wonderful job with those clippers!

Frau said...

You look pretty...my mailman is a hippy and you look nothing like him! Plus he has a mustache! I can't wait to see pictures of your naughty wig! Have a wonderful week. Happy belated mother's day!

The Dental Maven said...

You look adorable! Then again, I'm surprised your amazing attitude hasn't already caused world peace.

Maggie said...

Becky, you look beautiful with that short hair! I know you will look adorable in the wig. With your usual grace you have written a lovely post that touches the heart and puts your usual positive spin on all of the facets of this journey. You and Matt are such a perfect couple! PLus, he totally kicks it on the hair styling. If his current gig doesn't work out, he has a future in the hair biz.

Jenni said...

I think it's good that you "owned" the hair loss instead of just waiting for it to all fall out gradually.

And, I've gotta agree - you'r still gorge. I think Matt may have a future in hair dressing.

Can't wait to see the wig!

Kelly said...

You look so much like your sister in that first picture. So beautiful! I have to admit, I cried reading this post because you have been so brave and confident during this process. I have been praying for your hair (it wasn't too frivolous) but am excited to see you rockin' the new wig. And after all is said and done, it will grow back. xoxoooo

A Day That is Dessert said...

I did the same thing - it's just too awful seeing it fall out everywhere. So sorry you're having to go through this.

Juliet Grossman said...

Love to start out my Monday morning crying...thanks a lot. What a great post. It is so rare to find someone posting on interesting topics who also happens to be a good writer. Thank you for sharing.

Michele R said...

You have such a great team under that roof of yours.
Demi Moore has nothing on you! You too look great in all lengths of hair status'.
Becky, this post must get published in a magazine of some sort, stat.

Amy said...

Ahhhh, Becky. You are some kind of something. And Matt... well, along with everything else about him, he's right: You'll never forget that day. And that it was you, and him, and a growing pile of what was a part of you and dammit now I'm crying again.

And climbing the mountain of Whatever to reach the peak of To Hell With It? You've done it again, that soul-stirring phrase thing. xoxo

David said...

"Cross between a Riot Grrl and Dennis the Menace"!!! I think the cut looks great, dude, and, like everyone else, I'm amazed by your grace and strength through all of this.

Beth said...

I agree with everyone else that the cut is CUTE! How did Matt know how to do that? I mean, it looks totally normal. Also, it wasn't your last day of long hair EVER... just for a little while. A nice change of pace, right? ;-)

Now, when do we get to hear about the candy bars and teensy cocktails?

Stephanie said...

That's the cutest mailman haircut I've ever seen. Matt did a great job.

Kate said...

you are beautiful, hair, no hair, whatevs

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Sorry I've not much to say. I'm just boo-hooing. My private beatitudes I've sent to you under separate cover.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

gretchen said...

You look HOT! You totally "have the face" for short hair, as they say. I am incredibly impressed that Matt managed to give you the chic bob. This is a very talented man. I can't wait to see the fab new wig!

Kim Tracy Prince said...

I can't wait to see your wig. I hope it's bright pink!

Bren said...

Juliet said what I was thinking.

Can't wait to see naughty flight attendant pictures.

Sara said...

You still look totally pert, of course. Matt did a ridiculously great job on the hair cut.

I love you guys as a married couple (and as a family.) You and Matt (and the whole big fam, really) have big time Wonder Twin powers, and it does my heart good to see you in action. Thanks for sharing with all of us :)

Julie at ModernDayMiddleAge said...

Wow! That is one talented man! The cut is fantastic ... I have long hair, too, and it seems impossible that you can look pretty without it and now, well, you've done it! You are both awesomely courageous folks. Makes me want to hug you through the internet ...

And, by the way, my mailman's name is Bob and you are so WAYWAYWAY cuter than Bob.

Post pics of the wig!

Keely said...

I will have a moment of silence for your hair, which I've kind of always coveted, and then move forward into badgering you for pics of the cute wig.

You're fantastic, and I'm sure if Matt ever needed to give you a stylish cut with nail scissors he'd rock it.

kathy said...

You've been on my heart a lot! I know you'll be undergoing another treatment tomorrow. You have handled this terrible situation with such grace! I know you are helping others cope with the same issues. Thanks for being willing to share so openly. I can't wait to see your wig. Wig or not, you're beautiful inside and out. As always, we continue to pray for you and your family.

Marie said...

You look GREAT! Would Matt consider cutting MY hair?? Problem is that I don't have your gorgeous
face!
More pictures, please! XOXO

Cassie said...

Hottest. Mailman. EVER.

Meghan said...

Yeah, I cried when I read this. Even though you really do look awesome and your Matt has WAY more skill that Matt Damon. Substantially so.

Now you should be a rebel and dye it some fun color or something ridiculous that you'd never do if it weren't on its way out. It's a great chance for experimentation! :)