What can I say? This is like giving birth. You can read books, watch videos and listen what others have to say. But you really don’t know how you’ll feel or what your experience will be until you actually live it.
I did not challenge this process of losing my hair. The surgeon and the oncologist warned me that this was a side effect of my chemo regimen. My biggest concern was my 8 years old daughter. For her having cancer and losing the hair meant that something was very very wrong. So we had to explain that it was just the effect of the medicine that was intended to treat the disease.
It’s amazing how the hair starts falling out (and I’ve had some “bad hair days” with chemicals but nothing like this). In late February I had a pre-chemo haircut. Approximately, two weeks after the first treatment, my scalp was very sore and tender. In just a couple of days, big chunks of hair started falling out and I decided to have the “big chop”. What did I feel? I felt relief, because my scalp feels much better since then.
The support of my family has been very important. My mom gave me extra TLC and words of encouragement. My husband is fulfilling very faithfully with that part of the marriage covenant that states “in sickness and in health” (including the fine print at the end specifying baldness and other restrictions). My daughter has made me laugh. She wanted to count every strand of hair falling out. When she learned that the “big chop” was coming she said “Well, as long as your head doesn’t fall out we’re good.”…fair enough.
When I had the haircut, my 4 years old boy who has special needs and a global developmental delay, looked at me, said his eloquent “bah bah” (he is non-verbal), put his little hands on my face and smiled. There is nothing more sincere than that.
What I’m learning from this part of the process?
1. Greater respect for the way each person handles this situation. Some cry, others fight, others get depressed, and others just take it more lightly. But that does not make us better or worse people, it just makes us humans.
2. Greater consideration by those who face physical changes due to cancer and other chronic diseases.
3. Greater conviction that our value and beauty are not limited to our physical appearance. The people close to our hearts know it well. And the One who loves us the most and gave his life for us, knows it very well.
4. That even hair loss is under the sovereignty of God. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Luke 12: 6-7 NIV)
©Rebecca Parrilla Copyright 2015