Friday, May 2, 2008
You know, all metaphors limp and this will certainly be no exception, but it occurs to me that parting with your hair during chemo is very similar to breaking off a relationship. It's dead already. What you have left is only a pale, wispy reminder of what once was and will eventually have to fall out on it's own, with or without your help. It keeps you awake at night and itches during the day (okay, that's the limping part) yet somehow we cling to it in a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable misery that comes from parting (yeah, yeah, I know. I made a pun. It was an accident- blame the chemo.) We put so much more effort into avoiding pain than we do into seeking joy.
So now I've gone from looking like Gollum (as Masayo once told my dad, very adamantly, "yes, he does have hair. He definitely has hair. It's in the back.") to looking like Satan in the Mel Gibson movie "The Passion of the Christ" (totally freakin' hairless). And envying even Ken Barbie- of Barbie and Ken fame- who at least has ridges in his head painted dirt brown. I look funny and feel funny; I'm at that stage of grieving over what I've lost and not having much to look forward to in the next 2 months or so, but I know that someday there will be stubble! Yes, glorious stubble is definitely in my future. There will be joy to come, so for now I just need to wait and trust. And exfoliate my scalp.
And in the meantime, God has blessed me with friends beyond compare. Trish and Tony sent me flowers with a card "hair or no hair, we love you the way you are" (or that was the gist of it- the card got wet and I can't read it anymore and am going from memory). And Brother Robert shaved his head too! Can you believe it? Yessir! And his beard, so that he doesn't get mistaken for a Franciscan. That's a true friend for you... And God in his wisdom saw to double his sacrifice as it snowed that day. So when people do a double take and ask him why he shaved, he tells them about his friend who has cancer and to please pray for her. It reminds me of the famous O' Henry short story "The Gift of the Magi"; there is a scene at the end when the newlywed young bride, after just cutting off all her hair to buy a present for her beloved husband sets to work " repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task. " I love that story; one of the all- time greats. So I can't ever be too bad with friends like these. I'll ask BroRo if I can post his picture, newly shorn.
And here's a website to the whole text of the story "The Gift of the Magi". It's very short and absolutely worth a read, but I can't seem to make the link active so you have to cut and paste.