Last Saturday morning I took a shower, and I was like, “Oh boy. There it goes.” Lots of hair was coming out in my hands.
In my moments of daydreaming over the past couple of weeks I’d contemplated writing an open letter to the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. The letter would wish them well in the Olympics and recognize something particular I liked about each one of them. It would go something like this:
Alex Morgan: You’ve helped me get my husband to watch soccer, and for that I am grateful.
Meghan Klingenberg: Right now we’re hair twins! I recently got a pixie cut like yours because, you see, well…
I realized the open letter was eventually going to be all about me going through chemotherapy–about how I like to watch the U.S. Women’s Team while I walk on the treadmill. How a really great soccer game takes my mind off feeling bad.
Maybe I should have written the letter, because if you were following you know we narrowly defeated France, tied Columbia, and then lost to Sweden. Ugh. Very disappointing. Perhaps our team needed more fan mail and “Go get ’em!” tweets? Should I have told them, “Do it for me! When you play well, I feel better!”
No unfair expectations there at all, right?
I’ve heard it’s hard to win a World Cup and then come back for Olympic gold.
Point being, last Saturday morning Meghan Klingenberg and I were still hair twins, but time was fleeting.
When my hair started falling out, I had a bunch of people at my house: Bryce, my mom, my friend Christy, and the boys. I alerted the grown-ups about the situation. I was glad it was falling out on a Saturday when I had supportive people around.
I called Planet Hair, the salon where I’d ordered a wig, to see if the wig was in. I asked if I could come in that day to get it fitted and styled. Thankfully, they had a cancellation and could get me in.
My mom and Christy joined me for a fun (using the term generously here) appointment where we buzzed my hair and talked about important hairstyle issues like man buns. (All three of us are in favor.) I didn’t cry, but in a few of the pictures I kind of look like a deer in the headlights. Also, I’d just had chemotherapy on Thursday, so I had that fatigue/parallel universe thing going on. Good times.
So, why a wig? Two reasons. First, I like having hair. If I had to choose between having hair and not having hair, I would choose having hair. I miss my ponytail, y’all. This is a personal preference. Bald is beautiful too!
Second reason for a wig: I like variety. I think it’s fun to wake up in the morning and say, “Hmmmm, do I want to wear a cute hat or the wig or a scarf?” (I’m really liking scarves a lot.)
On the Monday after my hair started falling out I had to decide what to do for work. I tried to go with the wig, but I couldn’t get it styled how I wanted it. So, I went with the head scarf. Everything was fine. No tears. My co-workers were so sweet and supportive.
By Friday, the wig and I started figuring each other out.
Bwah! I’m re-titling this post “Selfie Central.”
Anyways, this past week my hair follicles have been super-sensitive because the chemotherapy is attacking them. The downside of the buzz cut is that all of the short hair remaining has felt like tiny darts pointing into my head. When I put my head on the pillow at night, it’s like “OWWW!”
So, thankfully last night a second round of hair-falling-out began. I’m ready for my hair to be gone. I think it will be easier to manage, and I will not miss the tiny darts. Ouch.
In other news
The second round of chemotherapy went well. I think I had a better sense of how to use my medications to prevent nausea, so I was a lot less nauseous this time. However, I was more fatigued. The fatigue is cumulative. And my boys kept digging their elbows into me and tackling me. So I should probably have a little talk with them and take more Tylenol next time.
God is working on my heart, and I am learning a lot about how to pace myself. A month ago when I was feeling overwhelmed, my friend Jessi recommended I think about “manna for today.” That has stuck with me. I’ve been able to give myself more grace and not feel like I have to accomplish so much in a day. It’s also helped me to be more in the moment and enjoy the day.
Exodus 16: 13-16
So in the evening the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a blanket of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew evaporated, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine, flake-like thing, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather as much of it as he needs. Take an omer for each person, according to the number of people each of you has in his tent.’”
If you’ve prayed, said something to us that was kind or encouraging, made a meal, sent a note, or given a gift, thank you. It matters.
Planet Hair, you guys are awesome. Thanks for your empathy and great customer service.
Caleb, thanks for the sweet family photos. You were so good with the boys!
A lot of my focus has been getting through chemo. I take the effectiveness of the treatment for granted. (I still think I’m invincible–aren’t humans funny? My invincibility complex gets in the way of my prayers. )
Really, the goal is not to get through chemo. It’s not to check off treatments 1-16. The goal is to be cured. Would you pray the treatment would indeed be successful? And that I would have a humble appreciation for my own vulnerability?
Barring any changes, next round of chemo is August 18.