Choosing whether or not to shave your head before it starts falling out on it’s own is like choosing a politician for office; you choose the best of the worst and just hope to God you picked the right choice. One decision I have been grappling with is whether to shave my head before anything starts falling out or to wait until I start seeing some hair loss.
The pros to shaving it first is that I get to be in control of when and how I lose my hair, I don’t get clumps of hair on my pillow or in the shower and it doesn’t fall out while I’m teaching a class. The cons are that if I shave it too soon, I might have missed some extra days with my hair and it is traumatic to just shave it off.
The pros to letting it start to fall out on its own is that I have physical proof that my hair will in fact come out, putting to rest the denial I have been experiencing. The cons are that it falls out in the shower, on my pillow, making a mess and that it could fall out at any time.
In the end, Ken and I decided that last night, day 13 on chemo, would be the day to do it. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I procrastinated for about 2 hours. I had to check my emails, there were new updates on facebook, I had to check my blogs for the day…anything that would prevent the inevitable.
And it was inevitable. By the end of the two hours, I was on the bed hysterically crying at this point, Ken noticed that the front of my hair looked brittle. I pulled at it, and it came out. “I guess this is it then.” I got up, dried my face, walked into the bathroom, put my head over the tub like I was going in the guillotine. Ken got the buzzer. “You’re upset so I guess we are just going to get it over with.”
“No. Let’s have fun. This is awful enough.” So this is what we did while we shaved my head.
The actual shaving of my head was a traumatic experience. I hope I never have to do it again. But it’s like all of the other awful things I have had to endure in the last three months; the work-up to the event is worse (or close to worse) than the result and once it’s done I can wipe my tears and move on with my life. And I have moved on. I taught a class today and it was an incredible refuge from my sadness and mourning.
I’m also happy with my choice of shaving my head in the privacy of my home. At first I thought I wanted it done by a professional. At home I was free to cry my ugly cry, scream, yell, whatever. I don’t think I could have done that in front of a stranger and the freedom to behave as I needed was freeing. It helped me get through. And now it’s something Ken and I can say we overcame together.
On to whatever’s next. I had my second chemo infusion today. Let’s hope for minimal side effects.