When I'd finally finished chemo, I looked like this. I mean, I was seriously bald with just pale fluffy wisps remaining. My first oncologist, the kindly Dr. Dick, brushed away my concerns about being bald. He was balding himself and didn't feel it was even worth discussing. But let me tell you, it's a whole different ballgame for women. It's a blow to your sense of self as a woman to lose your hair. Especially when you have just forfeited your breasts. It was just a little surreal. I felt like a hatchling bird that had fallen from its nest, with only the wispiest of feathers.
But I have grown weary of covering my head in caps and scarves. And I had no interest in wearing a wig. I decided I am okay with looking like someone who was in chemo. So as my hair has started to reappear, I've started venturing out uncovered. For long walks at the park on sunny days and to some indoor events where it's warm.
Mostly people don't seem to notice. Or if they do, they aren't obvious about it. We did walk by one older woman today who ignored my "hello" and just stared at me, slack-jawed. It was such a weird reaction that I laughed aloud. Because you know what? My hair has morphed from nearly invisibly blond to dark, and I'm feeling kind of badass.
So I don't wear a hat when I can avoid it, including any time I'm inside. Like today, when we stopped downtown for a drink at the brewery. I am embracing my new look, courtesy of Taxotere. I've begun to feel that maybe chemo patients covering their baldness has more to do with making other people feel comfortable. And I don't feel the need to do that anymore.
I'm thinking if Sinead O'Connor and Emma González could get away with it, so can I.