Early on, as in the first weekend after I was diagnosed, my awesome sister Megan and one of my besties Telina went with me wig shopping. Believe it or not, there are not a lot of wig shops in Indiana. I stumbled along a pretty fantastic one in Greenwood, Wigs We Care. They had over 100 wigs on the walls to try on and the ladies that were working were fantastic. They measured you, provided suggestions on other things you would need, and taught you how to care for your wigs. I ended up buying two wigs (not the one pictured above) and a couple of hats. If you or a loved one are in the market for a wig you should definitely check them out.
The following week on September 13th, I had my first chemo. And like clockwork, around day 11 on a Tuesday, my hair started falling out. Maybe it’s therapeutic for me to write about it now, but losing my hair was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through. By day 14, my hair was falling out in huge amounts. That night at the football game, the wind caught it and a huge nest of it flew down the bleachers and landed on someone! Not cool. And by day 15, I looked like I had mange. In hindsight, I wish I would have shaved it off the day it started falling out, but I kept thinking…”just hang on to it as long as possible.” Unfortunately, it was very traumatic for me every day to see more and more of it coming out. To lose your hair also creates a sense of concreteness to what’s happening to you. It’s real.
I tried to wear my wigs that next week, but my scalp was so raw and despite paying for higher end wigs with laced caps – they were hot and irritating! I ditched them by the end of the week and started wearing hats and I haven’t gone back. Again, my husband gave me encouragement and told me just to go for it and rock it. That encouragement is all I needed to keep moving forward. The hats are so much better than the wigs!
And then fast forward to today. I looked in the mirror after my shower and went to put some mascara on and noticed HALF my eyelashes are gone! I knew it was a possibility, 50/50 really. I read the side effects of chemo, but I hoped so hard that I wouldn’t lose my eyelashes. Somehow, losing my eyelashes is even harder than my hair. Someone else going through chemo told me it was harder for them too. Maybe for me, it is because I’ve grown used to seeing myself bald or maybe I just don’t know why it’s so hard but it is. And it sucks.
Despite the challenges, there are blessings. I am extremely blessed to have a sister and friend who would take an entire Saturday to drive me clear to Greenwood to wig shop and spend time with me. I’m blessed to have a husband who encourages me every day that I can do this. The absolute positive of making to day 15 was that Cam had suggested we take some family photos before I lost my hair and I made it! It was such a sweet and thoughtful idea and I’m so glad that I had enough hair for the photos. I was blessed to have received a beautiful hat from my friend Kristen, the very week I was losing my hair. She sent it with a note that she heard I might get cold (I’m rarely cold and she is always cold, which is a joke between us) once I lost my hair. Her note brought me to tears and made me feel loved. My friend Roma knitted me up a beautiful blue hat that is extremely soft and I love the color, but the best part was it arrived in the mail when I was having a really rough day. And lastly today as I look at myself in the mirror, missing eyelashes, I reach down into my makeup basket and pull out Eyelure. You see I’m blessed that my sister Megan had the forethought to take me to Ulta on the Sunday she went with me to shave my head and bought me the magnetic eyeliner and lash kit. She did this so I wouldn’t be unprepared. So I would have a plan.
Much like purchasing wigs early on, I have to have a plan. It’s how I live and work. I like to execute on plans. Having a plan is a blessing and provides comfort to me. God has a plan for me. I do not know what it is yet, but I trust he will reveal it to me when it is time. All along the way over the past 10 weeks I have felt his presence and have received many blessings. So many friends have sent care packages, meals, notes, texts, love, and support and I am reminded that despite the challenges there is so much to be grateful for…every day.