I have consistently bitched and moaned about my hair for as long as I remember. Unbelievably, I was actually born with straight, smooth hair. After puberty, my hair came in as bush head. This is not normal. The texture of my hair completely changed, suddenly having a rough cuticle, thus beginning the love-hate (mostly hate) relationship I’ve had ever since.
When I was 12 and 13 years old, I would wash my hair and put it in a ponytail at the base of my neck, and then proceed to put rubber bands all the way down the hair in an effort to make it straight. Then I’d put bobby pins all along my hair-line for the same reason. This sort of worked, but both the booby pins and the rubber bands would leave marks, and my hair never completely dried because it was so thick. I also tried the orange juice can rollers. Not at all comfortable to sleep on. And by the time I was 14 years old, I had joined the swim team and was diving every day, so after that my hair was pretty much a chlorine mess all the time.
Fast-forward to 2001 when I moved to West Hollywood and had my hair flat-ironed for the first time. Wow! What a huge difference that made. After my hairdresser finished and I felt how smooth my hair was and how shiny, neither of which I had since puberty, I really wondered if she had given me a hair transplant without me realizing. Seriously, my hair felt so good. It was then that I finally truly understood what having hair with a rough cuticle meant. It would be several more years before I got my own flatiron and could make my hair magically smooth without paying gobs of money for someone else to do it.
All through the early 2000’s I kept my hair relatively short–I’d get it cut to right above my shoulders, let grow for a year and then cut it again to the same above my shoulders length. Somewhere around 2010, I decided to just let it grow. I mean, why not? I had nothing better to do, and it really is easier to have it longer since all I do is put it on top of my head because it bugs me. And while it has not been quite as long in the last couple of years, it is still longer than it is shorter. Basically, I am super lazy when it comes to my hair. Now, though, the prospect of losing it all is really doing a number on me. If I chose to shave my head, that would be one thing; I did not choose this, it is simply coming out because of the chemotherapy.
Last Thursday, I got my hair cut. My intention was that it be cut to chin length. When I got to the salon and my hairdresser took out my pony tail holder, it still wasn’t apparent how bad things really were. So his assistant attempted to wash it. I told her that I always put conditioner on my hair first, before shampoo, because it helps detangle it. And I use if after, as well. She did not listen, although I am not sure it really would have made a difference at this point. When I got back in Patrick’s chair, I thought he was gong to cry. My hair had literally turned into dreadlocks, and there was nothing to do but cut it all off. Luckily, that did not mean shaving my head, it just meant I was not going to be walking out of there with the hair cut I thought I’d be getting. I did not take into account just how far along in the losing-all-my-hair-process I really was. He did a really nice job (see picture below) with the only mistake he made being he used hair spray on it. After a while it felt like helmet hair and I had to wash it out.
Big mistake on my part. Again, once water hit my hair, even though it was considerably shorter, I suddenly had dreadlocks. This time I simply could not cut off the 3 big gobs of hair. Instead, I painstakingly sprayed each one with leave in conditioner and slowly, but ever so slowly, used a comb to untangle the mess. It took about half an hour and this is what I combed out:
Half a sink full of my hair. If I did not have as much hair as I do, I for sure would already be bald. Unbelievably, today, Sunday, I still have hair, and while it doesn’t look great, it also does not look like I’m about to be bald as a cue ball.
Look, I understand it’s just hair and that it will grow back. This is still extremely difficult, even as my hair drives me crazy, though. I’ve been shopping for a wig. Even found a couple that aren’t horrible, but they look like wigs.
As I have my second round of chemo on Tuesday, I don’t expect that I’ll have what’s left of my hair much longer, which means I am going to have to make a decision sooner rather than later about my hair situation. What I really want is for it not to fall out at all. Clearly, though, that ship has sailed.