Ellie was stalling at bedtime tonight by trying to engage Terry and me in talking about my hair. I realized it was the third conversation I had had today about my hair. Losing my hair did not turn out to be a terrible experience for me probably because I knew from the beginning it was going to happen and probably especially since I got it cut fairly short just before I went into the hospital for my month long stay so that I didn't lose my hair to the leukemia. I think taking control of that was really helpful and meaningful for me. I wonder if there are ways people can take control of other physical parts of the cancer experience. I'm actually sort of surprised that getting your hair cut short before you start chemo that will make your hair fall out is not standard advice. I know people often cut their hair after it starts to fall out, but doing it when there was nothing amiss made me feel like I was a little bit in charge. The idea of sitting around and waiting for two feet of hair to fall out in clumps is not very appealing to me. Suggestions for patients if I get to see them early enough in the palliative care clinic.
It is funny though, how often people mention my hair, usually to tell me it looks nice short (thank you; I agree!) I'm not sure if it's because they want to talk about the cancer experience some and can't think of another easy way to start. Or maybe people just like my hair shorter. I will have to try experimenting with other ways to answer that make it clear we can talk about stuff deeper than my hair. What might such an answer be? Thank you; I'm keeping it short to help me remember the cancer experience? Not sure.
I am grateful to have growing hair. I am hopeful we all have lots of haircuts in our futures.