Yesterday I went wig shopping. There are two ways to look at shopping for a wig before my hair has even started to fall out. One can be that it’s like shopping for a casket before you die. Pretty depressing and miserable, but something that has to be done to deal with the inevitable.
The other is that it is empowering. I can deal with this from a position of strength. I can take control and make choices before I’m up against a wall. I can handle anything I’m prepared for.
I choose empowering. So yesterday I went to the Image Recovery Center, a wonderful place run by Becky and volunteers who are all also cancer survivors. Becky is a sweet, caring woman who knows exactly what I’m going through, having been there herself, not only being a survivor, but also having lost family members to cancer. Cancer creates an elite club of people who instantly care about each other deeply, but no one wants to join it.
At the Image Recovery Center women who are going through treatment can get help with everything from advice on skin care during chemo or radiation, to breast protheses, to wigs and caps, to makeup lessons. We found a wig that let me still look like me, with a slightly different hairstyle, but close enough not to be weird, and natural enough not to look like a wig.
It’s a relief to know that when the hair starts to go, I can just go to the Image Recovery Center and get the GI Jane buzz cut, and be in control of what is happening. I don’t have to wait for days while it comes out in clumps, and walk around looking like I have some terrible disease or something. (Oh, wait… yeah, that’s right, I do. Well, I still don’t have to look like it.)
So I feel pretty ok. Will I cry? Sure. I can’t imagine that I won’t. But it’s hair. It will grow back. Some women lose breasts. Some people – even little kids- lose body parts. It’s hair. Even if it never grew back, it’s a small price to pay to get well and be here with my family. Hair is nothing to trade for years to watch my son and daughter as they go through life, years to see my grandchildren grow up, to watch my parents grow old, wonderful, joyful years hand in hand with the most caring man I’ve ever known…
Yes, I’ll cry – but I’ll gladly trade my hair.
What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. I Peter 3:3,4