Monday, May 3, 2010

Yes, hair again.

There comes a time in every recovering cancer patient's life where they need to make a critical decision.

No, I'm not talking about which doctor to choose, or a crucial surgical or reconstructive determination.  (Although, the nipple tattoo choice does present some tantalizing options.)

This determination is far more difficult.

We chemo girls all must come to it.  The big choice?   When to reveal your hair to the world after finishing treatment. When is the right time to give up the security of our cancer chic scarves and big earrings, which many of us have been wearing for six months, and just walk around with what is actually growing on our heads?

In a sense, this is the decision where you finally give up your identity as a cancer patient.  In exchange, you get an identity as a person with an unfortunate haircut.

I'm not sure that's the best trade-off.

Me?  I feel like I'm Linus giving up his security blanket.

I'm not alone: I've seen women in the chemo room whose hair is peeking out from under their wigs, because they aren't ready to show it yet.

For younger women, I imagine the choice about when to reveal regrowth is easier. Your locks may grow back a different texture (as mine has) but you are unlikely to have it grow back in an entirely different and unattractive color.

As mine has.

I wasn't grey when I got cancer.

And, it cost me $100.00 every six weeks to be able to say that.

Nobody has ever seen me with grey hair, including me. I intended nobody to ever see me with grey hair. Including me.

But, here I am.   With enough hair to go out and not look like a balding man, but not enough to dye and get the real me back.

So, what do you all think? Am I ready?

For frame of reference, and so you know why I may not be ready to walk around with this short look - this bad photo is the way I looked one year ago on my 51st birthday, right before I found my cancer:

Does that woman look like somebody who wants grey hair?  I think not.

But, out it comes..


  1. Hi,

    Been following your journey, it is so inspiring. Love the grey.

  2. I think you look lovely and strong. You're ready.


  3. Hells Bells! I thought you were still bald from your posts! You've got lots of beautiful hair and it is stunning on you. Wear it! It's the style - I have a matching photo with short grey hair and I did it by choice so I could QUIT coloring every two weeks! (now I'm back to coloring however)

  4. I think the lighting - especially on the one from the back, makes it look like there is more than there actually is. In fact, on the sides of my head there is almost nothing, not even an 1/8th of an inch. I can't even grasp any.

    You can still see my scalp in parts but some of that is because my hair is not only grey, but white on top! White!

    I'm going out without today though. It's sunny and warm and I don't have the excuse of being cold anymore. :)

    I feel nekkid.

  5. With some "wax" type hair gel, you could make it look really funky and spikey. It does look a lot longer in the back than in the front - but you can have fun with it until it's ready to be colored. And your eyebrows have grown back in a little - maybe a pencil for that?

  6. There isn't enough to spike yet. It's just barely growing out of my head. Maybe in a couple of months. My son keeps telliing me to do it like "Ellen." :)

  7. There's something very Annie Lenox about this new do! I like it!

  8. I think you look great! You mentioned Maura Tierney a few entries back, you've both got the same hair style now! She's rocking the short hair and you are too. Be daring, keep it short and gray.

  9. Your hair looks great!

    I started going out with mine when it was much shorter (and just as gray). Then Hubby asked me to dye it red... let's just say Ronald McDonald had less shocking red hair than I did...

    I've got it back to brown now - but it's curly! Was never curly before cancer.

  10. Hey, you just wait until the curls come....I currenly have ringlets but have decided to just embrase what I have been given because at least I have hair.... however, a very thin pair of hair straightners have come in rather handy!!!

    Your hair looks fab and it is great fun deciding on what hairstyles to have.....

    Paula xx

  11. LOVE it. Beautiful. Let it go for a while, put some stuff in it to make it shiny. Some dark eyebrows and you will be gorgeous!

  12. It looks great!!! Very hip and I would never suspect that it wasn't your hairstyle of choice if I saw you walking down the street!

  13. I think Ilana said it beautifully.

    You do look lovely and strong. I'd wear your hear with pride! As for the grey, no worries. You wear it very well. :)


  14. I think it looks great. You have the verve, confidence and style to pull anything off!

    Mine is coming back whitish too, and before chemo I was a brunette - a "real" one, I wasn't paying for it. Now everyone will think I was! Ah at this point I am thinking - hell with it, others can just think what they want.

  15. Ann,
    You look beautiful and are absolutely ready to face the world! I agree with the previous poster who said you have an "Annie Lennox" look going on! I'm so jealous as I'm barely sprouting any hair at the moment!
    Take care,

  16. My hair, previously brown, came in gray and curly. I hated it. But I got a good hair dresser who helped me shape it the first time about three months after chemo ended so i felt comfortable going out in public with my fugly gray hair trimmed. We had a plan for two years with 8 week hair cuts and now it finally is something I can live with (and drives me crazy because its almost too long!

  17. You look like Annie Lennox with it that short. You should die it bright orange. :)

  18. I love it! I think you're quick ready to show it off to the world! I think it looks beautiful. But then again, I have never chosen to color my hair - would rather buy a book. I know lots of people who do. I kinda like my grey, though. Well, actually, I love my grey. It looks like highlights in my hair.

  19. Ann, you look amazing! I love the hair!

  20. I'm digging the Annie Lenox references - like I could ever be that cool. :) Thanks y'all. It was hard to go out and face the world yesterday - but I did it. Not sure I'll write it up as a post or not....

  21. I think it looks great too, it's grown so much in the last 6 weeks. I'm half way through and can't wait till I'm where you're at. Your fabulous smile takes you a thousand miles Ann.

  22. Yes! Annie Lennox and Jamie Lee combined. Love it. I, on the other hand, look like Ronald McDonald. And I think it's stopped growing... ew.

  23. WOW, your hair has come back so fast. At least your's didn't come in like a skunk in stripes which mine did. What a hoot! It was reallly funny looking so I did put on some semi permanent color and have become a red head. Since my last chemo on Oct 22 I have about an inch in the front and an inch and 1/2 in the back. I'm impessed how quickly your hair is growing. You look great!

  24. Yeah - I am sure you finished chemo way after me and your hair has grown faster than mine!! I was brunette and am now black!! With a some grey hairs - but I did have those before. Mine is more Lisa Stansfield than Cool Annie

    I have some "natural" dye to lighten it a bit in a few weeks - but still have gone the Fully Monty yet! Keep us posted!!

    Hugs - Px

  25. You look lovely, the grey makes you look distinguished! I finished chemo in February and I'm on Herceptin too. Your hair is better than mine although mine has only just appeared at the front. What happened to the days when we needed our fringes cut soooo often?
    Your blog is inspiring.


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