When I first met with the oncologist about my impending chemotherapy regimen, he told me that most people do not lose their hair on this chemotherapy. Only about 15% would tend to bald. He emphasized that my chemo is a medium sort of chemo, which would not be too onerous. Unfortunately, several weeks ago I noticed I was losing hair on chemo.
All of a sudden, my hair started ending up in my mouth, in my food, all over my clothes and the floor. It was coming out in my comb and brush, lining the sink and the tub whenever I was near. Even the dust bunnies that accumulate on my hardwood floors are now somewhat blonde like me.
Since my oncologist had assured me I would not lose my hair, I was alarmed thinking that I was going to be bald. This was not supposed to happen to me! I was not supposed to be losing hair on chemo. Chagrined by my vanity, I felt doubly grieved: first, for losing hair on chemo and second, for feeling so mournful about my hair loss.
One day, I awoke with such terrible bed head that I had to rejoice that I still had enough hair to support this amazingly, ratted mess. The silliness of my appearance and the sheer volume reassured me. And, after all, hair grows back, and thankfully mine normally grows quickly.
As my hair continues to thin, admittedly I still struggle with how cancer and chemo have changed my life. I wasn’t supposed to be losing hair on chemo, but in my imagined version of my life, I wasn’t supposed to have an aggressive, fast growing cancer before I turned 50. I wasn’t supposed to have a port infection, either. Perhaps finding myself the exception to these medical statistics should make me feel exceptional, a stand out from the crowd. Still, I would settle for not being such a medical exception, unless it is to never have cancer again–in spite of the statistics.