Yes, we have reached that point in chemo where the hair falls out. And not just the hair on my head. I hear I will probably lose my eyebrows and eyelashes as well.
I am not depressed about this. As has already been made clear by a previous post, I will do whatever I have to do to stay alive. Losing my hair is an easy one. I mean, it’s not like I actually have to do anything. It falls out by itself with no effort on my part.
Of course, I may feel differently when I see what I look like. I don’t think I have a very aesthetically-shaped head, at least from what I can feel of it. Although I’d like to see what that scar on the back of my head from the police billy-club looks like now (that’s a story for another time; don’t worry, I’ll tell it). I’ll have to have Chris take a photo.
But I am prepared for my hair loss. As soon as I knew it was going to happen, I started buying wigs. I also visited my hairdresser, Daniel, at the Covent Garden Salon (he’s the best stylist in London, with a genius for colour; look him up if you want a hairdresser who understands your needs). I wanted to explain why I wouldn’t be getting my hair done for a while. I’ve been with Daniel for over ten years and as long as he’s doing hair in London, I’m his loyal client. Daniel, bless his genius, darling heart, has said he’s going to take me to the best wig shop in Brixton. And yes, indeed, I’m going. This man is a treasure and I am touched more than I can say by his desire to help me out.
Daniel isn’t the only good friend helping me out in this way. My friend Eileen went to another friend, Kate, who was in the first Clarion West writing workshop I ever taught in 1992, and asked her to make a hat for me. Kate, bless her talented, skilled heart, made three hats and Eileen posted them to me in a hatbox (wrapped in padding within a larger box). The hatbox arrived in London from Seattle in pristine condition and the hats are incredible. I will not attempt to describe them; instead, I will post photos. But later, when I am dressed in my kicking-cancer’s-arse finest, including my kicking-cancer’s-arse boots. They are sensational boots: Irregular Choice pedigree. Irregular Choice is the best footwear company in the world. (I get no money or reward for saying this.)
My friend Sherry in California also sent me two wigs: one brilliant purple, one red and black, which is also very long. I’ll wear them. I’ll wear them all. If I can’t have some fun with chemo side effects, the terrorists win.
Meanwhile, my hair is falling out. I run my fingers through it and strands come away. That’s okay. If I were going to turn puce, if thick orange fur was going to grow all over the rest of my body, if I were going to grow a tail, if my ears turned into long, floppy, cocker-spaniel-esque things, if horns grew out of my forehead a la Hellboy, if all these things happened at once––whatever I had to endure, I’d put on my big girl pants, suck it up, and deal.
I want to live.