Aug 01


Oddly, my hair is growing.  I have fuzz.  I thought a lot about how to describe it, but I couldn’t find the right words.  Everyone who sees me these days comments on it, so I thought it appropriate that my far-away-friends should see it too.  Sometimes, a picture does the job right:

The hair, my hair, is soft.  Like baby hair.  It is very thin, both in population and in texture.  I would definitely get sunburned if I didn’t wear a hat when I’m outside.  The color is either white, blonde, or strawberry blonde.  It is hard to tell and it depends on the light.  It’s not the hair of a healthy, strong person.  It’s not what I imagined my chemo-patient-head to look like.  But, this is me, today.  And I’m still exposing my fuzzy head to the world.

When my girls were born, especially Maren, we were all so curious to see what color hair she would have.  Brad has no red hair anywhere on his side of the family, but there is a strong redhead gene that runs through my side of the family.  Not only do my dad, both sisters, and I have red hair, but I have cousins on both my mom and dad’s side with it.  Maren, of course, was born stark bald.  Seriously, there was no hair to evaluate.  Finally, when she was about four months old, I determined that she was a strawberry blonde, with hair very nearly the same color as mine.  Her hair grew so slowly that she didn’t get her first baby ponytail until she was twenty-two months old.  Greta has always been a white blond, and I love that it is the sticks-straight-up variety.  I am fuzzy, and she is fluffy.  Greta (nearly fifteen months now), too, has a lot of follicle work to do before she is ready for any type of ponytail.

I have to say, I really do want my red hair back.  It’s a part of my identity.  However, I’ll take blond or white or purple for that matter if I get to live a long and happy cancer free life.  And, at least for now, it looks that I will once again match one of my daughters; I can be thankful for that.

It is not uncommon for chemo patients’ hair to change color and/or texture after their treatment.  I might have straight, dark hair!  Crazy!  It might grow back thinner or thicker.  I knew this, however, I did not expect to be growing hair while being hit with chemo every week.  It’s about a quarter of an inch long.  I can feel the wind in my fuzz.  Once I’m done with chemo, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another color/texture change that is different from what I have now.

All these things, the hair, the body I’ll have after surgery and radiation, the physical scars, are things that I will deal with in time.  I view all of that as the “icing”.  Once I’m declared cancer-free, I will figure out how to fix my new-to-me hair, I will decide about reconstructive surgery, I will dress my been-through-a-helluva-lot body.  These “hurdles” will be embraced and gripped in gratitude because dealing with these issues means that I am living a post-cancer life.  These challenges are the icing of my cancer battle.  They mean I won.

Right now, I’m off to the Chemo Room for chemo #15 of 16.  I love chemo day.  I am off to kill some cancer.  Probably, I will even earn a gold medal in cancer-killing today.  Woot!

Dear Jesus, please take away my cancer and let me life a post-cancer life.  Let me be cancer free.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.  You matter to me.


  1. Annie /

    Love the fuzz! Keep calm and carry on winning the gold in cancer busting! You matter to us too! Love, Aunt Annie

  2. Bridget /

    I’ve been reading your blog since I heard about you on Momastery… you are a beautiful writer and you are a true inspiration. A dear friend of mine had cancer in her late 20’s while raising her 4 year old and lost her long sunny blond hair during chemo. Hers grew back during chemo, like yours, and her husband affectionately referred to her as a baby bald eagle. The picture of your hair is exactly what hers looked like! You’re growing new feathers to fly again…

  3. I love your blondish fuzz. Your beauty without hair is so striking. I have been seriously considering a very short hair cut. I wonder if it will bring me some of your courage and fortitude. Unlike Samson, perhaps for women, it is when we have no hair, that we are strongest. : )

  4. Michelle /

    I don’t know you, but I love you. That is all 🙂 Now GO KILL SOME CANCER

  5. Jen ~ I love Ami’s comment about women & no hair !!!!!! My hair has always been baby fine & No Body what so ever 🙁 However, in the Grand Plan of Life ~ Hair doesn’t matter ~ Life Does 🙂 Your True Beauty has come out through this Nasty Cancer !!!!!! I Love that You Go Into Chemo Treatments as You are ther to KILL CANCER 🙂 Continued Prayers & Peace 🙂 I am so excited to visit with you Mom tomorrow 🙂

  6. Amber /

    “I can feel the wind through my fuzz” made me laugh out loud! Thanks for that.

    Thinking of you at chemo, and hoping not just for a Michael Phelps out-touched-at-the-wall kind of gold medal, but for a US Women’s Gymnastics blow-the-competition-out-of-the-water, no-question-about-it kind of victory in cancer killing.

  7. Sister from another Mister /

    My husband always tickles the kids on their face or tummy with afternoon shadow. The giggle he gets from them lights up the room. The other day I used my head to tickle them and the giggle was just as infectious. I highly recommend trying:)

  8. Look at that fabulous fuzz! Having red hair really does play a lot into how you see yourself doesn’t it?! I think we’re so used to being different and standing out but I agree any color hair or none at all is worth living a long life, which I’m praying you will. Sending continued love & prayers, keep kicking that cancer’s arse!

  9. suenitz /

    Did I ever tell you the bed-head story? LOL. Just kidding! I will be thinking about you. I have already put in a few prayers and will continue. You are almost finished with chemo! Always remember your life is in God’s hands. He loves you so much. Go to Him as a child, climb up in His lap and let Him ease all your worries and feel His peace.

  10. Rebecca /

    Love the fuzz! I’m thinking of you at your cancer kicking chemo session!

  11. Dave Schreier /

    Dear Jesus, please take away her cancer. Let her be cancer free.

    Blessing and many prayers Jen. I will not stop until every cancer cell is gone!

  12. I love how soft the fuzz feels as hair growth returns. It is baby-soft and reminds me of New Life! Your chemo-cocktail recipe has changed so it makes sense that the ingredient that knocked out your hair might not be doing that deed anymore.
    What we want is OBLITERATION of cancer. Go, Chemo, GO!!!!

  13. Wonderful! Short & fuzzy is the perfect hairstyle for summer!

    Dear Cancer,
    Be gone!!!!! Jen has a beautiful life to live with all of her family, close friends and far-away-friends. k? k!

  14. Go chemo go!! Melt every one single cancer cell away!! Sending prayers and our love to you, Brad, and your beautiful girls. Stay strong—you are kicking cancer’s butt! Hugs, Lauri, Dale, and your red headed cousin Erica 😉

  15. Oops… I thought I proofread. 😉 Go chemo go!! Melt every single cancer cell!!

  16. Bonniebj /

    I love love your “chickie” hair- makes me think of Easter chicks and Easter chicks makes me think of a risen Lord. And that, my dear, makes me grateful for the promise of health, the promise of a future and the promise of eternity in our hearts. Love you Jen and continually pray for you daily. Be confident today that you’re killing of some cancer cells – tons of them.

  17. Denise O'Mara /

    Your inner is perfect – just as Jen is always- go win your medal mow down the cancer.
    Much Love Neecie and Family

  18. Lynda M O /

    Your hair is stunningly beautiful and I want to touch it gently and softly like, as you said, one would a baby’s hair. My best friend is going thru chemo and her hair too is falling all out. She wants straight hair after a life of tight Italian/Irish curls. I hope you both get what you want–a cancer-free life, hair or not.

  19. I know everyone is different after chemo, but my hair was fuzzy just like this. My hubby said it felt like puppy fuzz. 🙂 And while mine did come back curly, after the first 3-4 haircuts, it is now back to the same dark color, same thickness and texture as pre-cancer/chemo.

  20. Amen! I have the same baby eabird hair sprouts too! That last little bit just doesn’t seem to want to leave my head.
    Praying for you and knowing one day I will read your “Cancer Free!” post and I will be praising God and celebrating with you!

  21. Love the pix. Since it is worth 1000 words, you didn’t have to write the post 🙂 But I am glad you did, to keep us posted on the chemo battle. Praying today from France.

  22. Congratulations on your fuzz! It is a really good sign that your body is making changes and adjusting. I am happy to have good news to read about while I am receiving my dose of herceptin. I have been getting the herceptin by itself since March-I am sporting about an inch and a half of hair-YAY! Yours is on it’s way! Keep on obliterating!

  23. laura /

    I love the picture of your hair, but I find it unfair that, never having met you in person, I don’t have a face to associate with the beautiful journey! Just one peek? Please?