My mother has a bunch of expressions that she uses probably more often than she realizes. Now that she is in her 90’s, she uses them … well, let’s just say “a lot.” One of her oldie-goldies, used when someone apologizes for a slight misunderstanding or something fairly insignificant is, “Don’t worry your old, bald head about it.” I’ve never asked her its origin. I need to and will do so — soon.
What got me to thinking about this particular expression is my current state of hairlessness. Yup. I did it. Three days ago, to be exact. I am now, officially, balder than … a cueball <or insert any other equivalent you like>.
You see, I”m learning that chemo and its side-effects are weird and sneaky. My darling Oncologist had already warned me that “hair loss” would be a side effect. So, I was not unprepared for the thinning of my hair. My hair never has been my best feature anyway, so no biggie.
But when after almost 3 weeks post-chemo #1 and in preparation for chemo #2 I began losing big chunks of hair, I said to myself, “Self, it’s time to take matter into our own hands.”
On the way back from Church on falling-chunks day, I stopped at my friendly neighborhood Walgreen’s and made a purchase. Two days later, the day before chemo, I went to see my hairdresser Cindy and handed her the Walgreen’s bag. As she peered inside I saw a look of puzzlement on her face, then she looked at me with a grin of understanding. “You want me to do the deed, huh?”
“Yup,” I nodded. “Shave me bald, then do your thing.”
So, Cindy grabbed her best clippers and did exactly as I had asked. She took off what remained of my hair in a matter of minutes. It was no great loss, believe me, for it was several weeks past needing coloring and was multiple ugly shades of various colors, not to mention raggedy looking along the edges from the chunk loss.
We then proceeded to the wash bowl where she wet my head — and applied two beautiful tattoos, one on each side, from the package of stick-on tattoos I had purchased at Walgreen’s. I now had a lovely flower on one side and a beautiful butterfly on the other. The application process took awhile. Those durn tats are difficult to adhere ! But while Cindy was working on my head, 3 other of her colleagues rallied ’round and all aided in the process !
It was like a coming of age, an acceptance of what is and what is to be, an affirmation of everything positive that I feel about this Journey as well as the love that surrounds me, no matter the locale or the company I keep.
So, if you don’t yet know me, when you meet me you may be a bit startled. It’s ok ! I understand. If you do know me, you still may be a bit startled. And I still will understand. If you wanna stare, go ahead. I realize that bald women aren’t who you are used to seeing around town. It’s ok ! And if you don’t care for my look, well, then don’t look ! ’cause I love it 🙂
I’ve had a blast this week showing off my new “do!” First, next door, I showed it to my dear neighbor and babysitter to my granddaughter Maleeyah. Jeanette and her hubby Rey said they really liked it ! Maleeyah, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure (she is but 2-1/2 years old) and she didn’t want to come touch it, even with encouragement. LOL !
My daughter Jennifer’s reaction, that evening, was less than positive. All she could say was, “Why did you do that ????” <shrug> Can’t win ’em all 😉 Especially not with a 27-year-old. She still loves me and will, I”m sure, get over it in time.
The next morning, it was Chemo Day. I got to show it off at my Doctor’s office, where Finance Manager Vicky, who has become a friend, just had to call 2 nurses to see it 😉 Other Nursing staff admired my bald head and tats, too — Kathleen, and Jackie, for sure !
One of the Nurses told me about a friend who had had her bald head henna’d, using the Indian mendhi process practiced, usually just before a marriage, with the application of beautiful designs to the hands and feet of the bride. (I have to look into that !!!)
Then, I was seated to wait for Doc Swanson who took one look and asked, “Are those tattoos ??” I relied, “Yup, they are !” “Are they real tattoos ??” he persisted, with which I had to laugh and reply, “No ! they’re stick-ons. You know I hate needles !”
After being given the go-ahead for chemo by Doc, I proceeded to the Infusion Suite where Nurse Carrie and her co-Infusion-Suite-Nurses all admired me. My assigned suite seat for the day was, wouldn’t you know it ?, right next to a bald guy. I think, perhaps, Carrie got a little perverse giggle out of the seating arrangement. And the bald guy, well, he just looked without comment, but did have kind of a grin on his face 😉
The fun continued Tuesday evening at dinner with Cathy, Lisa and Marcia; then at Publix to my favorite bagger and former Radiologist Dave (who is, himself, balder than the same cueball, but without any cute tats); then at dinner tonight with Gayle and Victoria, and finally at my beloved Palm City Word Weavers meeting !
So, sincerely, please don’t feel sorry either for me or the process through which I’m going. Remember, I have cancer, it doesn’t (and won’t !) have me. Besides, as my Mom would say, “Just don’t worry your old, bald head about it !!” because I’m just a …