A slightly new look

Feb 13

A month ago, at girl’s night out, I pulled off my hat, as I often do when I start to feel too warm.  (Inevitably, I’m in on/off/on/off mode with hats most of the time when I am indoors.)

“Oh!” several of them exclaimed, “You have hair!”

“Erm, not quite,” I said.  “What I have going on here,” I continued, pointing at my head,”is mange-y.  It’s not really hair.”

I had my friends and family shave my head in December when my hair started falling out on Day 14 after my first chemo treatment.  Over the next several weeks, I used duct tape to peel off the little tiny hairs that were itchy and stuck in my scalp.  By January the itchiness was gone, but I never got to the point where I was really truly shiny bald in the way that I/we/the world thinks that chemotherapy patients are bald.  I was left with sparse hair that continued to grow all over my head.  The hair, or mange, or whatever, had an Einstein-like quality as it stuck straight up.  It was reddish, with an odd texture, and you could very clearly see my scalp–we’re talking very thin.  A month ago, it was a centimeter long and drew the comments from my girlfriends.

“Should I shave it again?” I asked them.

“Nah,” they agreed.  “Let it grow.  See what happens.”

I asked Brad, “To shave or not to shave?”

“Whatever,” he said.  ” You’re gorgeous.”

Finally, yesterday, I just did it.  I used Brad’s hair clippers for the first time and I buzzed my hair down using no guard on the clippers to get it really short.  My 1.5 centimeter weird-baldish-Einsteiny-buzz is gone.

Tonight, at girl’s night out, I pulled off my hat when I got too warm.  (Only to put it back on five minutes later–as per normal.)

“Oh!” they said, “That does look better.  Your hair (head?) looked fine before, but this is definitely better.  It’s cleaner.”  All of the nodded in agreement.  “We didn’t know before we saw both hair and no hair, but we like this look better.”

I have to say I agree.  Even though I shaved off my (granted, very pitiful) hair, I think I look healthier.  I’ll probably buzz it down again if it continues to grow while I’m still on chemo.

By April 1, I should start growing healthy hair again.  Hopefully by July/August, I’ll have enough hair on my head that I won’t burn the top of my scalp when I’m not wearing a hat.  When school starts in the fall, I’ll be thinking about a real haircut to give it some shape.

I’m visualizing this future: this hair growth that means I’m not on chemo, I’m having clean cancer-free scans, I’m Momming, I’m Normal Jen, I’m Doing Today Well one day at a time on my way to 48+years, and things like hair are the least of my concerns because I know what really matters.

For tonight, I’m calling myself bald, brave and beautiful.  What are you calling yourself?


  1. I’m calling myself “blessed”! Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating 48 years of knowing my husband (we met on Valentine’s Day at OSU). Tonight I had phone conversations with both of our adult children…always special to me! I love the little things in my life; having so many ways to reach out and connect with friends near and far just makes me happy…especially the “bald, brave and beautiful” one in Cincinnati! Happy Valentine’s Day, Jen ♥p

  2. I’m calling myself blessed to know bald, brave, beautiful JEN!

  3. Jen you rock as the brave beautiful and bald – it sure beats my look that I had going of the 75 year male comb over hair style. Love Sunny

  4. Newbyfriend /

    When I was going through chemo, I bought a red dress and a hat with a red feather on it. I was wearing it to a wedding and we had to make a quick stop at the mall. While i walked through a department store, a sales girl said to me,” you work it girl!”. She made me feel on top of the world and gave me all the confidence I needed for that night. Since that time my husband will say that to me when I get dressed up, ” you work it girl”. Well, tonight we are hosting 16 people for a Valentines dinner. I am going to don my red dress and “work it girl”.
    We never know how much we can lift people with our words. Jen, your words have been a great encouragement to me. You help me to appreciate all that I have. You are working it girl, everyday!!!

    • Michelle /

      I love this post! Thank you for sharing this with all of us! Enjoy the dinner party! You own it!

  5. kathy swim /

    Well, we can be “bosom buddies”! I too am as bald as I’ve ever been do to a change of treatment … Adrimyicin! I think in our spare time if we’re not napping we should work on bringing the glory back of hats! Downton Abbey Hats! Like that purple grape hat the duchess wore last year! Really glorious, outrageous, get stuck in the rotating door kinda hats. Since I have more time than you Jen I’ll see what I can come up with in my chemo fog! Until then you’re in my ts. and ps.! And “Bald is beautiful!” Wigs are also really fun, even the free and cheap ones!