Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hair Conditioning

I know what I said the other day about systematically brushing it all out; nevertheless, this past week I've been treating my hair like each separate strand was a silver penny slipping through my fingers.  At night I've been sleeping in weird positions to avoid rubbing any more out than absolutely necessary.  I dream about how to keep from losing it any faster than I have to, and keep myself semi-awake in the process.  The other night I had myself convinced-- in my dreams-- that if I slept in the guest bedroom, I wouldn't lose so much of my hair.

Maybe if I'd been satisfied about my wig situation, but I wasn't, not yet.  Thursday evening I modelled the new wigs for the neighbors, and they said the blonde one made me look like Marilyn Monroe and the dark one like Joan Jett.  All very well, but neither of those women are me and I don't want to be running around in a costume.

But Friday night I got a call from my friend Ruth* in Kansas City.  Ruth has been through breast cancer, twice, and chemo, twice.  Both times, she lost her hair. 

"Ruth, the first time, you had a wig, didn't you?  I mean, I don't remember any between time when you looked any different, really."

Yes, she'd had her surgery in October, started chemo in November, and started wearing her wig pretty much right away.

"Did you get your head shaved, or what did you do?"

"I just let it fall out whenever it would."

Not sure why, but this was a revelation.  Suddenly I felt I could stop babying my hair; I could let it go.  And whatever remains for however long it remains, I can stick it under my wig and let it be. 

So yesterday morning I got in the shower and washed my hair.  Same routine as always:  shampoo, scalp massage, creme rinse, the whole process.  And big wads of hair came out and had to be kept from going down the drain.  Upstairs before the bathroom mirror, I brushed what was left and more came loose.  And glad I was for that, since for awhile there I looked like the Charles Emerson Winchester III character from M*A*S*H.  It's not totally gone, far from it, though from the back the righthand side of my head is a lot more denuded than the left.  But what's gone is gone and what remains, remains.

And I put on my Laura Ashley flower print dress, pulled on one of the wigs Frieda* passed on to me, donned a straw hat over that, and attended the annual Beaver Library Garden Tour.  And no one who saw me there knew a darned bit of difference.

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