As I look back, I regret how I used this blog when I was going through treatment. It was more of a weekly check-in, just to let people know that I was still doing fine. Truth be told, sometimes I only checked in once a week because I was busy doing fun things and napping and just didn’t feel like spending my precious awake time on the computer. But still, I wish that I’d had more pictures of all the fun things I was doing– pictures of me in my favorite scarf and fabulous boots wandering around Old Town with Sally, pictures of me in my favorite smartwool hat from Athleta hanging out at the bus stop with all my neighbors, watching the kids play. Pictures showing that it wasn’t always all that easy, but that it really wasn’t all that hard, either. And I wish I had pictures of those few times I actually wore my wig.
I didn’t think that I wanted a wig, but it really seemed like it would be easier for the kids if I had one. Since insurance paid for it (or most of it), I went ahead and got one. I did my best to get one that looked like my real hair, but really only wore it to church. It felt so strange, so disingenuous to wear a wig over my bald head. I’ve also always been a “fusser,” I fuss with my hair constantly. I tuck it behind this ear, then that, smooth it out over my neck. Even with a good wig, that’s just not a great plan. It starts to get all tangly and before you know it, all I could think about was how much my hair felt like the hair on Emma Clare’s American Girl Doll. Not a good feeling.
One Sunday, apparently the Sunday after chemo (I can tell because the steroids made me all flushed for several days), the youth director took photos of everyone to make a directory of sorts to hang on the bulletin board. As far as I know, this is the only picture of me actually wearing my wig, not just playing dress up. (Oh wait, I did find one other picture— even worse than this one– that I took the night after I had my head shaved.)
It was a really good wig, but I only wore it a handful of times. I think I somehow felt stronger without the wig– like I was showing that I was strong enough and healthy enough that I didn’t need the wig. That said, there are a lot of women who want to wear a wig for lots of great reasons. My kids didn’t mind me being bald, and I was so thankful for that. I have one friend, though, whose son found her bald head very upsetting, so she wore her wig most of the time. If I were working, especially in an environment where I dealt with clients, I can see wanting to hide my cancer– perhaps they might think I wasn’t up to the task or that they were “helping” me by taking their business elsewhere. If I thought I were going to wear my wig, there are definitely some things I should have done differently. A shorter, straight wig would be much easier to take care of and wear on a daily basis than the long, wavy locks I bought. If someone were trying to do the “wear the wig everyday and keep the cancer thing under wraps” thing, I’d probably suggest she cut her hair into a short bob as soon as possible– a style that would be easy to replicate with a wig. It was mere minutes into our first wig shop outing when Sally and I started referring to that as “weather girl hair.” I hope that doesn’t offend any weather girls. But seriously, watch the news for a while and you’ll totally get it. At any rate, if she’s got weather girl hair to begin with, when her hair starts falling out, a quick shave and a swap with the wig might not be all that noticeable.
It’s so funny to me that I desperately wanted to keep things normal for the kids, yet I thought nothing of showing up for a “normal” school event with nothing more than a scarf covering my head. Either way, especially when she has cancer, a woman should do whatever it takes for her to feel stronger, more beautiful, more powerful. She should do whatever she wants, whether that means having the best weather girl hair out there, or heading out with a shiny bald head and some great lipstick.