A Mother and her Two Daughters

19 March 2010

My Very Bad Hair Day

There once was a lady with breasts, 
That cancer tried putting to the test.
She had long locks of brown 
That fell to the ground
But chemo put her cancer to rest.

Yesterday it happened.  My hair started falling off in bunches, especially after my morning shower and my daily routine to brush, dry and style my hair.  I put the huge glob of brown locks from my brush into a plastic wrapper for safekeeping.  It looked like enough to almost make my own wig. I spent much time in my backyard brushing my hair, not wanting to mess up the house with my shedding. 

I admit it. I’ve spent the last month preparing myself for this fight with cancer.  But did I forget to get ready for living with baldness?  I knew that I was going to lose my hair – but so suddenly, with so little warning, virtually no segue?  It seemed like my hair was there one day and almost gone the next.  In an instant, my wildest dreams to walk down someone’s red carpet were instantly vanished. Show me just ONE woman who proudly walked down the Academy Award’s red carpet without hair?? 

My Aunt Alice sends me this very funny card that I’ll keep close at hand . . .

Advantages of Losing Your Hair:
Eliminates bed head.
Can be a shining example to others.
No need for expensive hair products.
Takes off years because you look more like your baby photo.
Gray hair?  What gray hair.
And the number on advantage of losing your hair . . .
More places to be kissed. 

Since antiquity, men and women have engaged themselves in a daily ritual referred to as “hairdressing.”  It is the art of changing the hair from its natural state to something with more with beauty, elegance and style.  From the gray wigs of English barristers to the lacquered black wig of the Japanese geisha, hairdressing has been an important part of most societies.  Although they will seldom admit to it, some women spend hours each week arranging their hair in such a way simply to fulfill man’s basic desire for personal adornment.  Women have spent bazillions of dollars to imitate notable celebrities like Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Hamill and Farrah Fawcett.  And today, for professional women, we know that coiffed hair is perceived as an essential part of the workplace dress code.

Typical for Americans, we have taken the matter of hairstyling to a much higher level.  It’s estimated that there are 400,000 hair salons in the United States, employing 1.7 million beauty professionals. Total US salon revenues equal a staggering $56 billion each year with another $38 billion spent on hair care products at stores like Wal-Mart, Kroger and local grocery stores.

Hello!?!?!?!  And someone tried to tell me this weekend that nobody cares that I will no longer have hair!!! 

The good folks at St. Vincent’s New Outlook have given me a wig - FOR FREE!!  Take that you nasty wig store ladies!!  And I’ve purchased some hats from the American Cancer Society’s TLC Direct.  They’re all okay, but they’re not my hair.  And I have lovely friends like Mrs. Mason, and Pamela and Barb who have made with love some very beautiful head caps to keep me warm at night – truly they are gifts made from the heart, and I will cherish them always.  I have all the right tools, but I still don’t think I was mentally prepared for the hair loss.   

Yesterday I received an incredibly timely message from my friend and colleague and local cartoonist Jim.  The subject line begins, “Hi Beautiful.”  Boy did I need to hear that as I looked at my long locks inside the Zip-lock bag.  He goes on to write me some very uplifting messages, nice things to make a friend feel good about her inner self.  But he ends it by saying this . . . Oh yes---I lost all my hair years ago and people still liked me. I think. Save your hair and make a dog pillow.”

So, Abbey – get yourself ready for a new dog pillow made with mommy’s golden brown locks.  I might as well find something useful to do with this good hair that I’ve spent much money hoping to make look good each day.

And to my friends, when I pass you somewhere in town, I hope that you’ll recognize me under whatever scarf or hat I choose to wear on that day, that you will remember my eyes and my smile and the rest of me.  I hope that when you see me, even though I look very different, that you’ll realize that I’m okay, that I’m getting by without my hair, and that you’ll say hello. Please don’t feel awkward.  It’s just me with no hair, but the same girl inside, just fighting cancer with a temporary change in my headgear.  Maybe you’ll even give my bald-headed self a big hug, and we might possibly engage in small talk about how bald is beautiful, at least for a while in this time in my life.  


  1. ...and when I see you bolding striding down that red carpet...with your head held high...I will smile through my tears...and will say aloud to all in hearing distance..."That's my friend, Stacy...she's always blazing a trail somewhere!"

  2. You will continue to walk with your head held high and a pep in your step with or without hair because that is who you are.

  3. Do you know that when I think of you even after not seeing you for all these years, I think of your laugh and your smile,truly. I know both have had to give way to a lot of tears lately, but your amazing strength shines through in your blog postings each day. Thank you for sharing the things that you both laugh about and cry about. However, I can't get the image of you in a black-lacquered Japanese Geisha wig out of my head.


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