So I had very different plans for this post. However, the past couple of weeks have proven that “being positive” is sometimes a lot easier said than done.
What describes you? Is it the colour of your eyes, maybe how toned and perfect your body is? Or maybe it’s the colour of your hair as it falls over your shoulders.
For me, before the big ‘C’ got in the way, I would describe myself as having green eyes, fair skin and dark hair. As simple as that.
However, when I sat in my GP’s office and she pronounced that I have breast cancer and I’m going to have to start chemotherapy immediately; being so physically ill that it would change my life dramatically wasn’t the first thing that came into my mind. It was losing my hair. Something that at 20 years old, was and is such a large part of my identity, confidence and femininity; and I was about to lose it all.
“Don’t worry, it will grow back,” she replied as I wailed out that I was going to lose all of my hair. I was so focused on my appearance and that everyone was going to look at me and know I was “sick”, at this point I hadn’t met anyone my age going through or had been through what I was about to endure, I guess I had no idea what was coming for me.
The incredible team of doctors I have around me, my oncologist in particular suggested that I cut my hair short to make the transition that little bit easier on myself. So, I did just that. The same day my hair was long, it was short; above my shoulders and ready to take on chemotherapy in the following days.
Two chemotherapy sessions in, and I was hospitalised due to being allergic to my chemo drug. (Now I’m sorry, but What. The. F**k.) A week spent in hospital with nothing to do made me notice a few more strands of hair falling out into my hands in the shower but not enough for me to really worry about. Although, between weeks three and four of my weekly chemo infusions, it started. My thick dark hair was falling out in clumps. I remember lying in my best friend’s bed, and after I left noticing it was full of my thick dark hair. I was devastated. It was happening, and I had absolutely no control over it.
I wasn’t going to let cancer take my hair away from me, if I could stop it. My appearance is something I take pride in, therefore I decided to say a huge “f**k you” to my cancer. So on the same day that I almost let it completely break me, I sat down and asked my beautiful dad to shave it all off. Right down to the skin. With family and friends around me, we were all bawling our eyes out (even now thinking about it I am crying), I felt like I was losing a part of my identity.