Sunday, November 20, 2011

"It's not about the hair"

Cycle One, day 20
by sherry

When it comes to chemo therapy I've heard many times that "it's not about the hair".  But on cycle one, day 19 at 8:45 pm it was about the hair.  For a minute any way.  It wasn't in a vain way.  Sort of  'in your face' way. A 'cancer in your face' moment. It feels like an affront.  Something else being stolen. 

At least that's how Terence feels about it .

Last night he wasn't doing to well, pain-wise.  I held his head in my hands to kiss him good night, and tufts of his hair came out.  Just came right out.  I said, "your hair is falling out".  He said, "I noticed it when I took a shower earlier".  I prepared myself, but it's still kind of shocking when it happens. He said, "If I wasn't in so much pain I think It'd matter". I said, "I'm sorry".  He said, "yeah, just one more thing cancer is trying to take from me. It's time to shave my head". I said, "at least you have a nice beanie and it looks good one you 'cause your eyes are so blue". He just smiled. "Call Bella in here" (the grand kids were spending the night).
So Bella (our 9 year old grand daughter) came in, sat on our bed and the three of us played 'Crazy eights' for a little while. Terence plays his hand and says, "Bella, let's  cut my hair tomorrow morning, ok?". She says, "Ok Papi" while she plays her hand. I said, "Look Bella," and I hugged Terence's head and hair came out on me and in my hands.  She stopped playing. Frozen. And her jaw dropped. (I knew she'd be surprised, but I didn't expect that!). I said, "Remember, it's the medicine that's making is hair fall out, it'll grow back"  She gained her composure and said, "My mom told me that. Papi, won't your head be cold"? (it's not about the hair!).

She's coming with us on Tuesday for Terence's next chemotherapy session.  We decided that it would be a good opportunity to put her in  'hospital context' with Terence while in a relaxed situation. In the chemo area kids are allowed, families watch movies together, they can picnic if they want. The nurses make it as enjoyable as possible. Bella's taking a day out of school and spending it in the chemo unit with her Papi.

It really isn't about the hair. It's about what the loss of it represents. You know how there are 'givers' and 'takers' in life? Cancer is a taker. It takes, takes, takes. Every day, it takes something.  With every cancer symptom or side effect there's a host of emotions to be dealt with it in it's wake, it's exhausting! Losing your hair to chemo really is just 'one more thing'.

I'm typing this in bed (it's 7:00 am and Terence is sleeping next to me)- his hair is still on my pajamas and there's hair on my key pad.  But it isn't about the hair. It's about the strength it takes to face cancer every day. Day in, day out; even when it continues to take, take, take. You just say, "God's grace is sufficient for me"... and you shave your head. 

Pictures soon to follow :)

This is our proclamation:
(please join us in it):   
"Our hope is in the Lord- and Terence's strength will be renewed through chemotherapy; 
he will soar on wings like eagles, he will run and not grow weary,
and he will walk and not be faint". (Isa 40:31)

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