My hair didn’t fall out as soon as I thought it would. I was into my 6th week of chemotherapy when the tell tale signs began. My scalp gradually started to itch more and more, and it actually became a bit sore to the touch at one point. Then I woke up one morning with lots of shoulder length, auburn colored hair lying on my pillow. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I was as devastated to lose my hair as many women are. My hair has never been my crowning glory. I had enough of it, but only just. It was very fine and fairly thin. My natural hair color was a sort of dead pan mousy brown, and once I reached late teenage hood a pattern started to gradually repeat itself. It was growing my hair to just past shoulder length until it started looking ratty and then cutting it into a bob and dying it some exotic form of dark reddish auburn. Anything to get rid of the mousy brown. I’ve always been a slightly restless spirit and change every now and again is part of who I am. Growing up, my bedroom was never the same for 2 months in a row. My mum would walk in and stop dead in her tracks, amazed at the transformation. Furniture would be shuffled around and new posters would be on the walls. I used to drive her crazy. I used up all my pocket money just on making changes to my immediate surroundings. I have calmed down somewhat since then but it still happens to a certain extent, just on a slightly smaller scale. Now its my husband that is often left scratching his head and wondering what the heck just happened.
It still wasn’t easy for me to see myself become totally bald though. It did catch up with me to a certain extent when, one day I decided to just go for broke. I cried as I stood in front of the mirror pulling my hair out in huge clumps as I threw it in the dustbin right before taking the electric shaver to my head to seal the deal. One always watches these tear jerking movies where you see the bald person who is the cancer patient going through treatment. It was just so surreal seeing myself that way too. I almost felt like I was the one in the movie and I was asking myself, ‘How the hell can this be happening to me?’
Luckily a few weeks before I knew for sure that something was brewing up stairs, I decided that I wanted a wig. Finally, I’d have a head of hair to talk about! I went to a hair shop that specialized in wigs and I selected one that was auburn (as usual) and was made of real human hair. It was fairly long and definitely a lot thicker than I was used to. As a result the whole wig episode turned out to be a mistake. With the summers being extremely hot and humid here in the UAE, I sweated profusely under the wig and the tape that was supposed to hold everything in place didn’t exactly work as advertised. It would gradually slide further and further back on my head until I would have to do something about it, and if I was in public that wasn’t always so easy. Jaco was of the opinion that I’d made a ridiculous decision to buy the wig in the first place, and of course he was right. In the end I ditched the wig towards the end of my chemotherapy treatments and until my hair grew back, I used bandanas. I have nothing against wigs. I’ve seen many much more beautiful ones since, wishing that I’d gone for something a little more conservative, but in our climate it just wasn’t practical. I wasn’t worried however, because I was sure that when my hair grew back again once it was all over, that it would be quite a bit thicker than it was before. I’d heard stories of women who’d had thin totally nondescript heads of hair and after their chemotherapy was done, they grew back this gorgeous thick head of hair. Mmm…it didn’t quite turn out that way for me in the end.