“Someone told me once, you will wake up and know the day you are ready to say goodbye to your hair…I didn’t believe them…it was true”- Erin (ChemoCouture Comment)
It was fun while it lasted. Just one day after the photo shoot, two weeks to the day from my first treatment, the hair starting leaping from my head. It could not get out of there fast enough. My little follicles had fought the good fight, clinging on for dear life, but they were no match for the mighty chemo. And of course it had to be winter in NYC where a hat is mandatory and may as well be hair velcro, ripping the precious strands with each movement. Twenty, thirty, fifty hairs at a time. I was tense all over my body from actually WILLING the hair to stay in place. It was no use. It was only four days from when the first hair started to fall to when the razor came out but they were the longest four days of my life.
I woke up on day four to a city preparing for a snowpocalypse. My boyfriend Peter and I made our disaster checklist for the impending snow day: Food, water, flashlight, and an electric razor. Today was the day. The mental toll it was taking was so much worse than the idea of being bald that I was actually excited to do it. A rite of passage that would take place on a day of cleansing for the dirty streets outside and the wilting mane atop my head. Peter offered to shave his as well so our snow day was officially planned. We lined the bathroom with trashbags and fired up the trimmer.
The strangest part about it was how normal it felt. A few days earlier I was hemming and hawing over my J. Law pixie and now I was matter of factly razing my scalp. We talked through the whole thing, chatting about mundane things, stopping to adjust settings and manage some pain from the razor but mostly we had a good time. We started slow so my first pass yielded a very cute Mia Farrow look. I was ready to stop there. Hadn’t I been brave enough? Didn’t I deserve just an inch of hair? But alas, upon further inspection we found a gouge in the side of my hair caused by an overzealous pass over the ears. I should have known all along I wasn’t going to be able to half ass this.
Peter let me do his buzz in stages so I knew what each one looked like, starting at a 7 and going down to a 2. Of course, he got cuter and cuter as the layers went down. It didn’t take me long to realize that my balding head of patchy hair was never going to look like his full head of strong locks. I was not a girl with a buzz cut. I am a woman with cancer. And that’s okay. To pretend like anything else was happening felt counterproductive. So we took the guard off and said goodbye one last time.
I loved it. I still love it. I won’t say it doesn’t surprise me to see the person in the mirror or that I don’t ask Peter to keep telling me that I’m still beautiful. But I’m no longer a person at war with my breasts AND my scalp. I’ll bzzzzzzz to that!
See my snappy little head shave time lapse below!