Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Who Loves You, Baby?
I grew up hearing that phrase over and over. Even now as I type it I can hear my Uncle D saying it and chuckling. I was a bald, bald, bald baby and my nickname was Kojack. I didn't stay bald forever; by the time I was three I had a goodly amount of hair but the Kojack taunts haunted me through my adolescence and adult years.
Now 36 years later Kojack has returned.
Last Tuesday I was standing outside when I noticed my hair blowing in the wind. The thing was, it was no longer attached to my head! My hair, which had been falling out strand by strand for a couple of days, was launching a full scale evacuation, right there in the parking lot. That evening when we got home, and before I went out with a couple of girlfriends, Mr. Awesome shaved my head.
I was unsure of how I was going to feel when the moment came, when reality hit. I thought that I was going to be okay with losing my hair but I was also prepared to not be okay. The idea of being bald was not bothering me but the process of getting bald had me a little freaked out. I was worried that I was going to look like some kind of ogre, that I would be less feminine, that I would be embarrassed or humiliated by my hairlessness.
Mr. Awesome saw the uncertainty in my eyes as I nervously joked about my hair taking flight. He took my by the hand and instead of leading me to the bathroom to shave my head like I expected he walked me over to our bed and sat me down. Then he crawled in to bed beside me and just held me.
We spent an hour talking about our journey thus far. He listened to my worries and reassured me that this, like everything else we'd dealt with, was only temporary; we weren't going to be stuck in this moment of hairless uncertainty forever. Then he started joking about how much easier it would be to get ready to go out, how much money we were going to save on hair products and how I am guaranteed to have at least 6 months of no bad hair days.
Then he shaved my head.
As the razor skimmed over my head and the hair fell to the floor I began to feel stronger. I felt free and battle ready. With each tuft of hair that floated from the razor I felt the burden, uncertainty and powerlessness of cancer float away, too. I was suddenly in control, with no more distractions. I was morphing into a warrior ninja, a full fledged cancer killing machine.
When all my hair was gone, Mr. Awesome rubbed my head, kissed my forehead and turned me to face the mirror. The sickly looking, chemo patient I had dreaded to see in the mirror wasn't there. Instead there was just me; my eyes, my smile, my freckles. Me. Just more aerodynamic. As I stood there, staring at the new me I had another realization. I started my life bald and ended it with a full head of hair and cancer in my boob but right there, in my bathroom, as bald as the day I was born, I felt reborn.
The surgery had removed the cancer and the chemo was cleansing my body of anything the surgery may have missed. I was starting over. This cancer journey had already changed me, my perspective on life and my attitude on dealing with challenges. I am a different person than I was six months ago and its all good. I am a new person; I get to start over.
When I got home that night and checked my Facebook I was overwhelmed. Who loves me, Baby? Everyone! I had dozens of notes, comments and private messages and every one of them was encouraging and reaffirming. My People, my team, my fellow warriors, once again had my back and were lifting me up!
Thank you! Thank you for being with me, for encouraging me and for being on my side. Thanks for being My People!
We're all born bald, baby.