Fates were tempted. Fates intervened.
I stood in the shower this morning, my scalp on fire, and watched swatches of my sweet little pixie cut weave themselves into a toxic toupee, a little mouse-like structure atop the drain. I ran my fingers through my hair, wincing with the burn, just watching. I stood there for a long time, using every drop of hot water. The shower turned lukewarm, then bracing cold. My hard-earned hair, grown millimeter by millimeter last fall, announcing to the world that I was recovering! I was okay! I was going to live! I was going to be young and hot and vibrant again! Gone.
Toweling off, unable to stop shedding, I avoided the mirror. Despite my best efforts, by the time I brushed my teeth and applied a coat of mascara from my new, bacteria-free, immunosupression-friendly tube, I was covered again with a thin layer of hair debris. As fast as I could brush it off, new ship-jumpers landed on my shoulders, stuck to my back, settled on the counter and floor.
I dressed carefully, in feminine, pretty, underwear. A shirt that makes me feel a little sexy (cancer, you can take my hair, but I still have a great rack!). Dainty silver teardrop earrings that my friend Lisa sent last summer. And then, with practiced hands, I tied a colorful cotton scarf around the remains of my hair….to contain the mess until I can get the hold-outs buzzed off. I’m way beyond sad cat-lady hair.
It is harder the second time.