Becky’s blog: How I lost my hair in senior year and stayed sane

March 4, 2014
Becky before

Becky about to lose her hair–by choice–at her second Shave for the Brave in 2013

 

 

By Becky MacLean

I never really considered myself someone that cared too much about how I look, but when I realized that my hair was going to fall out I was worried. I was worried that I’d have a bumpy, deformed, ugly-shaped noggin. Who knew what hideous forms were hiding beneath my hair? I knew there was nothing I could do about that but wait and see. My hair was down to my shoulders. I hadn’t had it shorter than that since growing it out in grade 5, and now it would all fall out. Worst case scenario I could hide it under a hat. Having an affinity for hats, that wouldn’t be all that bad.

Thank goodness I got the news before school started, but what luck! I’d be starting my senior year as a cancer patient with hair, and in a matter of weeks, I’d be bald. I was grateful I had some time away from my peers to consider my options. My hair was going to fall out. It was nearly inevitable, a common side effect for the chemo drugs I’d be receiving. So, what could I do about it?

I decided that I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing my hair come out in long clumps. Since it would be falling out anyway, I decided to cut my losses and shorten it preemptively. I wasn’t ready to sport the “sick” look yet, so short would do. I was really scared to do it, but I had some amazing support. My mom, who rarely even trimmed her hair–let alone cut more than a few inches off–decided that she’d cut her hair with me! It was a brave show of solidarity and really helped me with the situation. We went to Marjorie’s and got our hair buzzed down to #2s. Short, but long enough to be spiky.

After my second round of treatment, I started finding hair coming out on my hands in the shower. I knew it would start happening eventually, so it wasn’t too upsetting. I decided once again to cut my hair and ease into the transition. The bad news was, my hair was falling out. The good news was I could finally get a mohawk without resistance from my parents. It was a small victory, but it was mine.

Beckys tattoos

Some of Becky’s tattoos

 

Somewhere around the cusp of that first and second month of treatment, the rest of hair came off, and I was finally sporting the look I’d been so afraid to see. Bald and you know what? It wasn’t too bad. I didn’t really look like me, but I still felt like me, and nobody treated me any differently for it. I already had a few new hats to wear, winter would be coming and people really liked to help me out with hats. I always had something for my head if I wanted it. Sometimes it was a hat, and others it was something a little funkier–fake tattoos.

Yup, those silly, little rub on tattoos. Why not? I couldn’t see them, and it was entertaining do. I had ones with dragons, skulls, snakes, hearts, daggers, and glitter. Without the hair, my head made a great canvas, and every now and then someone would ask if they were real. Every now and then, I may have told an innocent lie. For me, losing my hair was not a fun prospect, but with some support and an open mind I was able to actually enjoy the experience.

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