10:04pm Tuesday, October 6th 2015.
How I’m feeling: Calm, so fulfilled and at peace.
There have been some interesting shifts – on a few fronts! It’s been nourishing, enriching and progressive – simply because I choose to not make room or time for anything that falls short of that standard. And well, as for my experience out in Newfoundland (briefly mentioned in my last post), I’m still allowing that to sink in. I have definitely made moves to start understanding what happened out there and I know it’s going to take time – and so, at this point, I’m still at a loss for words. I may always be at a loss for words about it. And that’s ok. I am just super grateful for the experience and where it’s taken/is taking me.
In my last post, I revealed a couple of photos of my hair minus the wig and freshly after a little bit of a trim. Tonight, I’m revealing to you the madness of my hair since then:
Someone teach me how to not grow a mullet? hahah. My hair (and apparently like most people’s hair) is naturally growing in to a little bit of a mullet. If I want to grow my hair longer, I may just have to get the bottom at the nape of my neck trimmed every couple of weeks until it’s long enough to pull back in to a pony tail. My guess – is that that will be next week. My hair is growing SO fast.
Ok ok. So, truthfully I don’t really care. It’s mostly amusing. My hair growing back is much more than – well, my hair growing back. As I mentioned in my last post, I consider every strand that grows effectively giving cancer and chemo the middle finger. It’s my cells essentially saying “Oh? You thought you could kill us off, didn’t you? How cute”.
Everyone seems to ask about the hair situation once they hear about my diagnosis and chemo. Humans like to ask and talk about the things we can see. It’s what makes people feel comfortable.
Here’s the thing…
It’s the things we don’t see that we have the least understanding of.
It’s the things we don’t see that make us uncomfortable.
It’s the things we don’t see that require the most courage, bravery and vulnerability.
It’s those things we don’t see that make us human.
I’ve had people whom have met me with my wig on and have said things like “Oh! At least you didn’t lose your hair!” I typically chuckle, tell them that my hair – all of it – my eyebrows, eyelashes, etc. went and that of all things losing hair was nothing. I tell them that the first thoughts being hair loss doesn’t surprise me and that it’s ok – but to next time when encountering someone who is fighting cancer ask something more along the lines of “How are YOU?”. Again, it isn’t something that is easy for most people to ask. To that, I say get comfortable with discomfort. It requires some courage. Plus, think about how the person fighting cancer may be experiencing whether they communicate it to you or not.
Hair loss. Psh. It’s way at the bottom of the spectrum of not so fun things to work through when battling cancer. So, if you think THAT’S tough – really, you have no idea. If having your hair stylist chop off much more than you had wanted was a shock, you have no idea. If you think that shaving your head was difficult, you have no idea.
You have no idea – I had no idea. But now, I have a very clear idea – of what it really takes to win battles (of all sorts).
And I feel like I’m f**king Wonder Woman.
All of this just reminds me of the lack of knowledge and information there is of what it can really be like for a young adult fighting cancer. What most of us know of cancer goes as far as the extent we take in from TV, movies, “Ra-ra-ra! We can cure cancer together!”-type charity events/programs or from those whom have gone through it but are not nearly as candid, raw and communicative about the highs and lows. All of this doesn’t teach us much at all. In fact, often it provides an unrealistic and distorted depiction of what it’s like. The truth is, is that no matter how much we school ourselves on cancer – you really cannot be prepared for it, even as a supporter. But that’s not to say that there aren’t opportunities to fill in the huge knowledge gaps that exist. And, there are a few things I’m (unintentionally and indirectly) doing to fill in those gaps. Including this. This right here. Me writing for me. And you reading for you. So, thank you.
P.S. If you happen to be looking for resources for those battling cancer and/or those supporting a loved one through it, check out my Resources page.