I have had a shaved head for two weeks now… I think I am coming to terms with it. It is certainly harder than I thought, especially because I am dealing with steroid associated weight gain and his friend, the double chin, but I am putting on a brave face and every day, well nearly, it is getting easier. It has to get easier because all my logic tells me that I am the same person irrespective of my hair. Sometimes though, the logic can get lost in the vat that is my mind. I still have my eyes though. That smile is still coming through, three days a week.
For the first week, I embraced the baldness. I believe I had to. I packed my hair dryer and my straighteners deep under my bed, I slowly learnt how little shampoo I need to use and I discovered the power of the comb. Try as I might, I cannot get away from putting a towel on my head after a shower. I tried. I know it is not needed. Men don’t need it, but I have used one for as long as I can remember and I feel naked when I am naked without it.
Part of me thought that if I had jumped to the wigs immediately, I would be losing this game. I would show weakness and I most certainly never want to show that. For that reason, I had to let the hair and the scalp be free. Again, my logic told me that using the wigs was not defeatist, but I thought it was, so I had to lay it bare. People needed to see it, people needed to see My Myeloma and most importantly, I had to know that I was strong enough to let people see My Myeloma. The general public don’t know what myeloma is, so for them, they could only see my cancer. For I now look like I have cancer, well, apart from the double chin and the tummy and maybe the thighs. Hell, all of it, I am not particularly fond of my upper arms either, but what women is? I can read, I know what the magazines tell me to worry about. At least it is slightly easier to get a seat on the bus now.
So, last Tuesday, I bit the bullet, I ripped off the plaster and I took my test. I walked onto the 7s, with the head on show and I have to admit, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought. Like anything, the plaster didn’t leave a mark, it didn’t hurt, and it helped to heal a wound. If I had not done it, I would always wonder if I could and then I could never rest easy. I guess now that I have done it, I can rest easy.
After the day in my office, I knew I was ready for the wigs. Since this hair loss situation started, I have always said that I would have fun with them, and I can confirm that I am now having fun with them. I have six. The majority look nothing like my natural hair and this is the way I want it. I have spent over six months seeing people in the clinic with their wigs, the same wigs, day in and day out, and although I understand why people do it, everybody’s cancer is their own after all, I knew that route was not for me. Think what you want or say what you say about that, but I believe I am too far down this road to hide in something that makes me look almost identical to what I once was. It is gone and there is nothing I can do about that, and to get through it and deal with it everyday, I cannot try to recreate something that is dead. For me, for myself I mean and my personality, not for anybody else, dear readers, I see that response as defeatist. My Logic agrees. The variety is a challenge and I am embracing it. It enhances an outfit and I like an outfit.
As it turned out, the first day I wore a wig, I felt more self conscious than I did with the bald head. I announced to anybody I was having a conversation with that I was wearing a wig. It’s better to confront that elephant in the room. It was better for them and it was better for me and I am selfish. I was certain that everybody on the street, passing me in their car or on the bus were looking at me screaming ‘wig’ with their judgemental eyes. Hello Logic, I know this is not true, but that is what I thought. At least, that is what I thought until I regained control.
I regained control in a relatively mean way. I went into House of Fraser, not pronounced Frasier, to try on sunglasses that would go with my new crop. To keep you up to date with this story, I was wearing a wig and this kind of defeated the purpose of my trip. And so, without forewarning, I announced to the sales assistant that I was going to remove the wig and that I did, instantly. The look of shock on her face was priceless, and I realised two things, firstly that I was strong enough to deal with this and secondly, there is no way, no way, that this act will not go unrepeated. I loved her reaction. It is mean, but it gave me pleasure and I will take it wherever and whenever I can. My unsuspecting victims will just have to deal with it, for I have cancer and that gives me a free pass. The Mother F&%#ing ‘Roid Rage tells me so.
Wigs are strange things, one has to get used to the added heat, but it is Winter in April, which is making this side of things easier. One also has to get used to looking in a mirror more, because I wonky parting or fringe is a faux pas, I suspect that even Haemo Dad would know that. Oh, and the feeling of wearing a loosely fitted vice on your head all day. A vice or a tight hat. Everywhere I went today, I thought I was being ill mannered for wearing a hat indoors. Wigs get in the way like actual hair, they get matted in the wind, and at some point I will have to wash them. I am learning all of this. I could probably pass a test on it now. I bloody love a test.
Dedicated to Mamma Jones, with a few side profiles and pouts for her viewing pleasure, I give you some samples. By samples, I mean, me, Emma Jane Jones, getting used to my head. I guess it is not so bad…
With this, my willingness to enjoy my baldness, and the confidence that brings, I thought I was coping well. Yesterday, however, my niece ran into my bedroom to show me the French plait Mamma Jones had just given her and it made me cry. It made my cry because I want my mum to be able to French plait my hair but I don’t have any for her to plait. I do not even have a parting. It was self indulgent but I couldn’t control it. It’s always going to smart. There is no escaping that.
In the meantime, I will wear my wigs or not wear my wigs and I will find new ways to like what I see when I look in the mirror.
P.S. This may not marry, but all this superficial stuff about my appearance does not take away from a previous blog about how confident I am these days, because of My Myeloma, about whipping my baps out in your face. Don’t forget that. I am desperately trying not to.