Hair

From the very beginning, I’ve been told I would lose my hair. This has always been said with a bit of reverence, emphasis… gravitas. Many times it was said with a quieted tone and a head tilt. I get it. For many, losing their hair is traumatic and often the first outward sign of illness. But not for me.

I’ve had three solid years of steady decline in mobility. I walked out of my office at Cleveland Clinic in March 2020, unaided. I gradually (and begrudgingly) bought my first cane sometime in fall of 2020 and started using it around the house. Sometime in 2021, I bought the Rollz rollator that converts from walker to wheelchair thinking this would provide me more opportunity and freedom when I left my house. And recently, because I like options, I purchased the carbon ultralight rollator from ByAcre.

Pro tip: follow the fabulous and amazing, Ardra of Tripping on Air for discounts on rollators. You can check out her reviews and discount codes.

No longer an invisible illness

So over the last few years I’ve come to terms with having a limp. Initially, colleagues asked if I sprained my ankle or if something was wrong and I smiled, shoved my tears down and answered that I was fine. I began to walk MUCH slower. For those who know me, I used to be a speed racer, so the change was drastic and noticeable. Then I started using canes and now rollators. So you see, I have outward signs of disability. I’ve battled my demons, my pride, my worth and come to terms with these things. I already present “other” to the world and I’m not scared or ashamed. I use things that help me stay mobile and I’m ok with my physical representation of disability. So a shaved head doesn’t define me as healthy or ill, it’s just a shaved head.

Which brings me back to losing my hair…

I’ve never had a love affair with my hair. In fact, there are several ill-advised hair choices in my past including red and blonde stripes in college and extensions when I lived in Los Angeles. Hair grows back. So losing my hair from intense chemotherapy never scared me or even registered on my emotional response meter. I do not want to diminish this impact for anyone else; it’s absolutely individual on a case-by-case basis. But for me, I was ready to shave it off.

A gradual progression

My hair was chin length and we shaved it short. You can watch a fun reel my dear friend put together on Instagram. A few days later, my hair was falling out in droves. We shaved it shorter. Still, touching my head brought hundreds of hairs away each time and there’s only so much shedding I could blame on my dog. So I shaved it all, I’m bald.

In hindsight, I probably could have gone straight to a shaved head but I didn’t know that at the time and everyone’s hair loss journey is different. So this is one milestone that was weird, quirky and fun. The cause behind it is intense, but for me, the loss of my hair was no big deal.

One response to “Hair”

  1. I feel the same way you do – it’s just hair. But I empathize for those who feel differently, who for the first time are marked as other. We already have travelled (or at least started down the road) through that grief, which is real and raw and painful. My heart softens for those just entering the kingdom of illness.

    Like

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