Cancer takes its toll on all parts of the body, mind and soul. It is physically, emotionally and mentally draining. However, probably the hardest one for me to deal with has been the physical changes that I have had to accept since my diagnosis. I have always had body issues, since I was the chubby kid in school. I have always been extremely weight conscious and have done my best to get my body to a point where I feel comfortable and proud of who I am. Well, it is fair to say that all of that went out the window when I began my chemotherapy treatments in October.
The first time I ran my fingers thru my hair, only to pull out a large handful, was one of the hardest times of my life. And my first bald spot, well that was a rough night. But, I hid my emotions and my pain from everyone around me. I acted like I was taking it in stride, and that I was doing all of this in the name of being “cancer free.” When in reality, I cried myself to sleep every night. Women are feminine, they are supposed to have hair, and soon, I would not. It got to the point where I would wake up covered in my own hair, and it was miserable. It had to go. I had planned a night where all of my family and friends would come and support me while I shaved my head, and they would do the same to show their love and support. Two days before the event, I realized that shaving my head was something that I needed to do in private. I could not imagine looking in the mirror at my newly shaven head for the first time in front of 30 of my closest family and friends. I choose to shave my head with my immediate family and a few girlfriends. I needed to do this so that I could breakdown and accept my new look before being in front of people. It was difficult. It took me about 20 minutes to finally allow my friend to even touch the razor to my head. And ten minutes later, I had a shaved head. It was the strangest feeling that I have ever experienced. That night, I felt liberated and free. The next morning, I felt ugly and not like myself. This was the new me, and I hated it.Wearing a wig every single day is extremely obnoxious, but I do it. I am not afraid to be without it, but I chose to wear it and continue to feel feminine and pretty. That is until the day is over, and I am in my room, alone and hairless. This is when I lose it. I do not like what I see in the mirror. Not only am I bald, but I am heavier that I was when I started the treatment. My weight fluctuates on a weekly basis, and I cannot control it. I retain so much water that at times, my feet are so swollen that I cannot get them in my shoes. Feminine? I think not. My eyebrows fell out and now I have to draw them in. Feminine? I think not. I throw up constantly, and have been so weak at times that I needed assistance showering and changing clothes. Feminine? I think not. I have so many scars on my stomach from numerous surgeries that it looks disfigured. Feminine? I think not. I struggle each and every day with the new me. I feel sorry for myself. I cry. I get angry. But, at the end of the day, this is what I have to do to live. I like to think that I have done this all with a smile on my face, but that would be a lie. The last seven months have been some of the hardest of my life, aside from losing my wonderful Husband. I cannot wait for the day where I have my long hair back; where I can feel feminine and beautiful yet again. Because this new life isn’t quite working for me.
You know what would make all of this worth it? Having my Husband here with me through it all. I know that he would love my bald head, and would kiss it every single night before bed. I need this. I need Dan here to help me through this life changing experience, and to remind me that I am still as beautiful as the day he married me. There are times when I am ready to quit and give up, and to let the cancer take me. But I know that there are too many people who love me and need me to survive. So, I will try my best to fight this cancer. I have given up my hair, and that is all I am willing to lose to this disease. I can beat this, and I will.