In late March, before the world shut down, I went to the salon for my last professional haircut. The big haircut was a milestone in my cancer journey. There are so many steps during this journey. I'm a person who hates blood draws, injections for vaccinations, and surgery. I would never have made a good health professional. Here I am with getting poked and prodded on a weekly basis and sometimes multiple times a week.
Getting the first big haircut during my cancer journey didn't physically hurt. But it definitely affected me. My oncologist strongly suggested I cut my hair because the treatment he recommended would make me lose my hair. I hate to admit that I cried my stylist cut my hair. It really wasn't so much about the hair as it that it was one more step. One more thing I had to do.
When I started this journey I was so overwhelmed with the number of appointments and the barrage of information I received from various sources. For many weeks, I was in a state of shock trying to absorb the details. I was also trying to keep up a brave front for my kids. I think that's been the hardest part. I never want to scare them. But truth be told, my husband and I were scared. We didn't always have the answers for them. I still feel like we don't.
I wrote an essay about what it was like getting my first "big" haircut in preparation for possibly losing most of my hair, if not all of it, due to chemotherapy. You can find it here: Cancer in Quarantine Diaries: The Haircut. This was one time in the previous six weeks where I did not have an immediate family member nearby and I could be vulnerable. I did not have to put on brave face for my children, or even my husband. My husband has walked alongside me during this entire journey, but I still want to protect him from my own uncertainty and grief. It's hard to watch my husband suffer with me. During the haircut I was able to cry freely. When Julina started crying with me as she cut my hair, I knew she felt my fear and uncertainty. She also gave me a haircut to move confidently into the next stage.
One of the blessings about the journey is that friends and family have reached out with love and support. I didn't expect to get so much support from the salon I frequent. I knew that my stylist, Julina, would approach the situation with compassion. But I didn't expect all the love and support I received form the other stylists and their clients. Truly.I know we were headed into a lockdown soon and that in some ways this journey was going to be more solo than I would have anticipated or preferred. It's still weird that when I finish the majority of my treatment, her will be people who I haven't seen because of the pandemic who won't even know that I have been going through cancer treatment. It's not something I have felt comfortable sharing on all of my social media platforms, because I don't want the sad eyes and I'm still processing. Can you still process something if it's been going on for two and half months. If you've been following the blog for the last few weeks and have been reading my stories. I'd still appreciate the prayers.