Chemotherapy is over. Officially since mid February. This means I am seven weeks post chemo. My hair is growing back. First my legs have tiny blonde hairs of only a few millimeters. I notice it here first around the tenth of March. I luxuriate in feeling for stubble and hold them up against the light so I can see it. My legs do not progress much from there. My eyelashes reappear. I cannot stop touching them, blinking against my fingers as a sign of rebirth. I exalt in my body coming back to life, to health. I try not to think that this also means any remaining cancer cells can do so as well.
The hairs are dead on my body. It is the same in my legs. A small landing strip of winter leg hair remained right through chemo on the medial aspect of my shins, but now it is even more sparse and can be easily pulled out with finger and thumb.
My head hair is more of a concern. Ever on display. Hair falling out constantly, everywhere. Filling my brush, my fingers when I rake them through the ends, coating my clothes, gathering in snarls and tumble weeds in the washing machine, the vacuum cleaner, in corners, on furniture, the bath. Hair, hair, is everywhere. But not on me. Some is valiantly clinging on, but loosely. I can also pull it out here, but I don’t need to, it comes away on it’s own. Regrowth is occurring but patchily, and the hair looks grey. I debate whether I should cut my remaining hair to match the length of the regrowth. But, with a hat on, I could look normal (ish), if you don’t look hard, as some hair hangs below. This is thin and thinner each day. On my crown it is very thin, balding even.
I don’t realise until I see myself from behind in a video on a flying fox, the wind pushing my hair aside, I see my bald spot for the first time. I start to wear hats constantly. I endlessly debate what to do with the remainder, settling on do nothing again and again.
I go to see a specialist women’s hair loss hair dresser. I try on a wig and feel like I’m drowning. I attend a make up course for cancer victims and learn how to apply an eyebrow (use a stencil). I start to wear eye make up, just to remove some of the pinkness the lack of eyebrows and eyelashes brings although a full face of make up is not for me. I luxuriate in being able to apply mascara.
I walk and walk. Making sure I hit 10000 steps each day. And I stretch. Because of course I am stiff and sometimes painful. As I am lacking a breast. But not all my cancer. Yes, surgery has happened and my body image is at an all time low. But that is a story for another night.