Going bald during chemo wasn’t easy.
Losing my hair was worse than losing my boobs. Sure, my boobs were scraped out like a cantaloupe. I have scars, but I still had the shape of boobs under my skin, under my clothes.
The worst day was while I was washing my hair in the sink after the third treatment. My eyes were open watching the shampoo rinsing from my hair. I ran my fingers through it, getting the shampoo out, and ended up pulling out clumps. I turbin-towelled my head and examined the ball of soaking wet tumbleweed left there. It was like a small bird's nest. I mean, some days when I was healthy, I’d shower and empty the hair from the drain, thinking, how is it possible I’m not bald? I lose so much hair, but nothing prepares you for what drops when you’re doing chemo.
I was always self-conscious about my forehead. I have a fraternal twin sister and the joke in all our duo baby pictures was always, if you want to know which is Laura look for the forehead and the big smile. I always knew where the camera was... Hi Camera! Anyway, I knew I had a huge cranium and once again it would be on full display. (Of course, now having no choice, I’ve been told I have a nicely shaped head.) The only way to fake hair when you’re bald is to buy a wig, which I did and it’s gorgeous, but the reality is I know under it I’m bald. One good pull and my secret is exposed. So wig in hand, like holding a pair of aces in poker, I just said screw this. I took the clippers and had my Britney (Spears) moment. The buzzing clippers and arc motion of my hand as I mowed through my head... it was surreal. Holy sh*t, I’m shaving my head! But I knew the chemo would take it and I wanted to control when it went. I had my teenage son do the back for me. I was able to laugh later talking to a friend about posting my new look on a dating site followed with my bio: “Looking for a bald, scarred, unemployed woman having the worst year of her life? DM me.”
Okay, I’ve never been on a dating site but I giggled at the thought of posting it and any responses it would garner. Can you say fetish seekers!
The reality is there’s nothing you can do about losing your hair. Once you join the club you’re going to go through initiations and it’s okay. It’s not your choice.
Laura Muer is a native West Islander and single mom, and she's not defined by life’s curve balls.