This is a strange story for me to write. It will at times be a sad story, in many ways it will be happy and perhaps even funny. It will be an adventure that entails anxiety, flirting with danger, fortitude in the face of adversity and many attempts to look on the bright side. There will also no doubt be moments of anguish and despair, and a lot of uncertainty. It's a story that will hopefully be cathartic for me, but also interesting and perhaps informative or even entertaining for others.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I want my hair back.

With my wedding coming up in a few months, I am so ridiculously obsessed with my hair (or lack thereof). I desperately want it to grow faster, but in reality there is no way it can grow fast enough. I’m at the point where I’m obsessively checking the growth nearly everyday. I’m being totally irrational about it.

I’ve been investigating hair extensions, but the problem is that the front, top and sides aren’t long enough to cover the joins. I found a place in Sydney that fuses on the hair strand by strand, so there are no visible joins. However it costs $5000. I might be totally obsessed and quite irrational, but I’m still sane enough to know that is ridiculous!

During my treatment, I felt nausea, pain and extreme exhaustion. I now face a constant anxiety that the cancer will come back. Yet, I am stupidly so concerned about my hair. It feels like such a shallow thing to be worried about. While I was having treatment, hair loss was a tangible sign that I was sick. For me, it was a constant reminder that I was having chemo, that it all really was happening to me. Walking around bald in public wearing a headscarf was like wearing a flashing neon sign declaring, “I have cancer, please stare at me”.

Now that my treatment is over, I’m supposed to be getting back to ‘normal’. However, my hair is a constant reminder of what I’ve been through. To me, my short hair is symbolic of my cancer. I hate the thought of looking at wedding photos for the rest of my life knowing that the first thing I will see is cancer.

I know that I am not my hair. I know that I will still look great on my wedding day with short hair. I know that it is incredibly vain of me to care about such a superficial thing. Yet none of this knowledge stops me from wanting to cry every time I think about my hair.

Furthermore, I feel so incredibly guilty for feeling this way. I’m healthy, I beat cancer. Why do I care about my hair? When I first lost my hair I said that I’d chop my arms off if it meant I’d be rid of the cancer, and lots of people actually do lose organs or limbs due to their cancer. Many people lose their lives. I’m so angry at myself for caring so much about this.

I know I have to just deal with it. I know there is nothing I can do to change it, but really it’s just another reason why cancer is so shit.