Today I got a wig!
I’ve been back and forth multiple times about wigs, how I feel about wigs, getting a wig, etc. Before my transplant, I really struggled with the idea of loosing my hair, convinced that I would no longer be beautiful. Of course – anyone else going through chemo who lost their hair would remain beautiful – just not me. It was a story I told myself; we all do this. Once I was in the hospital, though, my priorities shifted: hair loss paled in comparison to the potential complications of a stem cell transplant and chemo. Baldness was nothing compared to my heart stopping, or my donor’s stem cells being attacked by my body (both were possibilities).
Thankfully, I was OK, my donor’s stem cells engrafted and my health has been steadily improving. And surprisingly, I don’t really care that I’m bald – this is where my body is at. I accept that, yes, and I’m also working on my personal relationship with beauty. This is a more challenging one for me, as with so many of us.
I think in a way, I just needed to give myself time with my bald head. I needed to accept it and not be surprised when looking at my reflection, or sad about my lack of hair. When the time felt right, a week or two ago, I reached out to the NIH (they provide a wig voucher through the National Cancer Institute) and Cheryl’s Health Boutique and set up my appointment.
It was easier than I thought it would be.
The first wig I tried on was a bright, lively blond bob and made me look like a Fox News anchor. It was quickly removed. The second was a tad messier – longer brown hair that appeared wind tousled, but the length and color were off. Third time was the charm; I ran out to the parking lot where Mom was reading in the car, and she agreed that it was “the one”. I tried one more on, just for good measure, but returned to #3 – it felt the most like me. I also want to add – Cheryl’s was AWESOME – Cici is so kind, extremely helpful, and really took her time getting to understand me and what I wanted. It made this process incredibly easy, and for that I am grateful.
This evening we Zoomed with Dad, Aunt Lucy & Andy. Their reactions were fun to see and hear, and generally the mood was positive. I feel good about my selection, am grateful to the NIH and Cheryl’s and am looking forward to wearing my new wig at some point. It doesn’t really feel like an “around the house” sort of thing; so in this time of COVID and post-transplant, I’m not sure what that means or will look like. The beauty of this, is that I don’t need to have it all figured out. I’m just happy that I’ve got options.
Overall my day was good – busy! It started early with a walk to the Clinical Center for labs, and then I drove home and enjoyed creamy tea and a good book. I heard from my Team around 11:45 – all my counts are looking good, both Tacrolimus and my Kidney function are normal (huzzah!!!), magnesium is normal (huzzah!), and CBC (complete blood count) panel was good. Erin even remarked that my Absolute Neutrophils were higher than hers, which made both of us laugh. After Cheryl’s, Mom and I enjoyed a brisk walk along the towpath south of Great Falls, and a low key evening in the apartment (where else?). She enjoyed cooked shrimp for dinner, while I settled on Mac & Cheese, and later it was great to connect with everyone via Zoom.
I’m grateful for so much. Cheers!