Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cancer- What About Hair

One thing that Danny said attracted him to me was 1. When he would whistle at me as I was walking down the street, I would ignore him, and 2.  My hair.  Back in those times ( a long, long time ago) my hair came down between my shoulders.  It wasn't exceptionally long, but considering the style of the times, it was. After we married, I kept it long because he liked it.  At the time we moved to Alaska in 2009, my hair fell to my knees.  I kept it rolled in a french-twist during the day because in the work field I felt it was more business-like having it up, but he loved it when I wore it down.

When we moved to Alaska, we were surprised at how awful the water was.  When we thought of Alaska, we pictured pristeen streams with clear blue water finding its way over cobblestones.  In Salcha where we lived, the water coming out of the taps was yellow.  It smelled of rotten eggs.  The bathtub and toilets needed cleaned everyday or else they would coat with an orangish/yellow film.  This was normal for the area.  After a few weeks of washing my hair with that water, it felt more like straw than hair.  When I came to Utah back for a few weeks in 2010 to take care of some business, I made a rash decision.  I cut my hair off.  I had called Danny prior and explained that if I was going to live in Alaska, it and long hair just wouldn't work.  He agreed with me.  When he met me at the airport, he was sitting at the base of the escalator when I came down.  He didn't even recognize me until I walked up and kissed him.  He didn't like it like he did my long hair, but he loved me anyway. When Danny died and I moved back to Utah, I let my hair grow out again...for him.

I was destined for chemotherapy and felt it was time to do something about the hair I was most likely to lose. Susan and I made a trip to Orem to Diane's Wig shop and I tried on about every wig in the store.  We settled on one that was pretty much my natural hair color.  I also tried on one that was gray.  If my hair came back in gray, perhaps instead of trying to keep it colored, I would just let it be.  I didn't look as bad in gray hair as I thought I would.  Next, I decided I would cut my hair while I still could and give it to Locks of Love.  As long as I had to go through this, I figured I might as well try to make something positive come out of it.  With Shannon and Haley here with me, I decided I had the moral support I needed to go make the first step of the change that was coming.  Haley called and got an appointment with a stylist at the Orem Mall and we set of to complete step one.  As I was getting ready to leave the house, my daughter-in-law hugged me, kissed me on the cheek and told me she was sorry I had to get my hair cut.  Taking a deep breath, I told her it was okay.  My hair didn't define who I was as a person.  She hugged me again and told me no it didn't.  I also knew that wherever it was Danny was at, waiting for me, he would love me with long hair, short hair or no hair.

I had decided to take this hair deal in steps.  First, I would cut it short and then when the time came for chemotherapy I would have my head shaved.  Having my head shaved seemed harsh to me.  I have had short hair and knew I could deal with it, but having no hair was something I was going to need to adjust too.  Even with a wig, that I decided no one would see me without, I would still be the one looking in the mirror.  As I sit here writing this today, and with chemo looming in the near future, I know it is something I will need to "Sophia Up" and deal with.  Sophia is my little mom who raised and supported nine children, some during the depression era.  It has been her strength I have drawn upon so many times throughout my life.

Tomorrow is my appointment with my oncologist.  Mom will be with me.    

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