It is one month since the biopsy that started breast-cancer-bootcamp-week on December 3rd. The initial acute phase of finding out the details of my diagnosis, and starting treatments is passing, and the process to redefine normal for our household has started. Today Laura and Jon helped me get a new buzz cut. It was a gift, as the 2″ long Miranda haircut was falling out. I feel like the guinea pigs shedding in spring- or more like a molting chicken. It is all fairly distressing. Despite my efforts to get okay with my impending status as a bald person it is distressing. Most likely- ready or not- I will be completely bald within a week.
In the past when I was grieving a person who had died I often wished that black armbands and other victorian markers of grief were still in usage. Mostly because it was sometimes awkward to interact with people normally if they were unaware of my loss, and I didn’t feel like going into it at the grocery store. The loss of hair is not on par with losing a person, however it does provide the “benefit” of being a clear signal to the world that I am going through treatments for cancer. It is a clear marker of my altered state.
Whenever something major marks your life, it is a bit like walking through a door. Afterwards you are changed, and you may be able to recognise others who have gone through a similar door. Giving birth is like that, as is parenting, experiencing the death of someone close to you, starting a business, making payroll, and the cancer-ing door. So for right now, until my hair grows back, I am in Sacred Time-out-of-Time. I am on this journey and it is visible to those whom I might meet on the street. Even those who have not had cancer.
It was great to see Laura, who just went through the very same cancer-ing door a year ago, at my front door today. She came bearing a hat made by a dear friend, and an offer for a walk and a buzz cut. She knew from her own experience that the serious shedding was in full swing. (17 days post chemo treatment) Joe said my head feels just like the head of the GI Joe doll he had as a kid. So just as the Miranda haircut was a bit of a 2014 fall fashion preview for regrowing hair, perhaps this 1/8″ buzz-cut phase will be my GI Joe Power Hour to prepare me for being bald for four months.