Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

As noted in a previous post, I had long, very fine hair, past my waist. Since my hospitalization(s), my hair has been falling out by the handful. Every time I brushed it, I had to clean a handful of hair from the brush.

Daughter Jeana suggested that I might want to consider cutting my hair. I had to think about that for a while. A long while.

Finally, while I was staying at Jeana's for a few days, I made the plunge. She took me to the hair dresser who cuts her hair. When I told her I wanted my hair cut to shoulder length, she stared at me for a long moment, and then asked, "Are you sure?"

No, I wasn't sure. I loved my long hair. I took great pride in the fact that my long hair was silky, shiny, and in great condition. But that was before.

After seven weeks in the hospital, rarely eating, I was malnourished. I have grooves in my fingernails that confirm the diagnosis of malnutrition. I lost nearly 60 pounds--almost a pound a day. My body was shutting down peripheral activities, including growing hair. That's why my hair was falling out.

My hair was in a long braid down my back. The hair dresser cut the braid and laid it on the counter. I had braced myself for that moment, because in the past getting my hair cut had been so stressful, usually disappointing, and always something I dreaded.

This time, as I stared at that braid, I realized that it did not even look like my hair. My hair has always been very thick, so thick that most hair dressers said I had enough for two or three people. This braid was thin. Very thin. Not like my hair at all.

I plan to send the braid to Locks of Love, an organization that takes donated hair and turns it into wigs for cancer patients.

When I look in the mirror, I can see tiny new hairs growing in around my face and along my part. My hair still looks thin, but I have to admit it is much easier to deal with at this length, drying faster when I wash it.

I miss my long hair. I miss how it feels against my skin, and how easy it was to put it up with hair sticks.

But, as Jo March noted once, maybe my brains needed a little airing, and maybe I was too vain about it, considering it my one great beauty.

At any rate, I did cut it, and while it may take several years to reach the length it once was, it has already grown noticeably, my bangs already needing a trim after just three weeks.

I wish I had a great punch line to end this post, but I can't think of anything funny, or witty. Oh...except....I didn't cry when my hair was cut this time. Maybe I am growing up after all.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Thanks for the informative post.When people look good, they tend to feel good. For the cancer patient, attitude can be half the battle. The horrors of the disease alone can be hard for some to face, but the hair loss that goes along with it can be a blow that's hard for many to take. Nowadays it is possible to select cancer patients wigs that are almost identical to the affected persons original hair texture, color and length.