Friday, March 1, 2013
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
If I have learned one thing lately it is this, you don't always get to choose what happens to you in life, but you do get to choose how you respond to it.
When I started my Power Aid (aka chemo, to those of you who haven't read my blog before) I was told I should expect to lose my hair on the 14th day of treatment. Now if you know anything about me, you know I like my hair! Big hair! Maybe it is the Texan in me, maybe I just have good taste (wink, wink), but I like hair. I tease it, spray it, throw it over my shoulder. It makes me happy. It is my friend and part of my persona! I began to beg God to spare my hair. I prayed and bargained. I told him all the ways I would give Him the glory if I could just keep it, but on day 13 I rubbed my fingers through my long locks only to find them no longer on my head, but in my hands. All I could think was, "Hair today, gone tomorrow." (Seriously, that is what I thought--sometimes I scare myself.)
Now just so you know, God didn't fail me or ignore my prayer. He knows how I feel about my hair. He gave it to me. He isn't the one taking it away, but He is the one that will use it to help me see beyond my follicles. There have been so many times in the last four months that I have thought, "__________ is the worst possible thing that could happen to me." Over and over God has used ____________ to change my perspective. He is faithful even when times are hard.
Since the first time the "C" word was mentioned back in November, I have wondered how I would face the "bald" truth. Would I be embarrassed? Sad? Crushed? How would my boys feel to be the only 6th graders with a bald mom? Here's what I realized-- the answers to all those questions hinged on one thing. Me. I didn't choose this, but by golly, I would choose how it would happen and how we dealt with it. Weeks ago I decided that this would go down on my terms and would serve a purpose---and there would be cake! I made some proclamations.
Proclamation One- Good would come from this! If it had to lose my hair, it wouldn't be on my pillow, floor or in my trash can! My loss would be someone else's gain. I decided to cut my hair before it became unusable and donate them to Beautiful Lengths. Pantene works with the American Cancer Society to make free wigs for cancer patients in need. My hair would be of no use to me, but someday someone will tease it, spray it and throw it over their shoulder. A head in need deserves hair indeed!
Proclamation Two- I wasn't going down alone. I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to walk into the bathroom alone and shave my head as tears streamed down my face. Worked on Parenthood, but just not my style. I wouldn't do this alone, nor would I go quietly! I decided to fill my bathroom with kids and laughter. This was partly for me and partly for my boys. I wanted to empower them to take some control of this as well. I wanted them to see that together we could face this with courage and confidence. I bought bald wigs for my boys, nieces and nephews, even my Arkansas kids, and requested their presence for a Bald is Beautiful party--even from afar. I put my hair in small ponytails, they slapped on their bald wigs, and together we cut off the locks. My mother, in her bald wig, shaved the rest and as a family found joy, not sorrow and love, not fear or embarrassment.
Proclamation Three- There must be cake! We celebrated the healing, not the loss, the blessings not the trials. God is good and He cares for me. Matthew 10:29-31 says, "Are not not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father. And even the hairs on your head are numbered. SO DO NOT BE AFRAID. You are worth more than many sparrows!" God knows the number of each hair I lost and He cares! I have nothing to fear. My value is not on my hair, it is in His love for me! I am no Samson. Samson's strength was in his hair and the promise it represented. When he lost his hair, he lost his strength. I, on the other hand, am becoming stronger through the loss of my hair. God is using the trial to increase my strength, confidence and faith.
I knew the party had the desired effect when I saw Spencer's post on Instagram. He said, "Tonight I shaved my mother's head, but it wasn't sad. It just means the medicine is working!" We had a choice. We chose joy!
So here I am, clean shaven and braced for the next wave. I plan on rocking some pretty wigs and "letting my hair down"! When people see me and wonder, "Is that her hair?" Why, yes it is. I have the receipt to prove it! And if for one moment someone thinks of making fun of my baldness, let me tell you another biblical truth I have learned from 2 Kings 2:23-24. "From there Elisha went up to Bethel. as he was walking along, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. "Get out of here, baldy" they said. He turned around and looked at them and called down a curse in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled 42 of the boys." Lesson? Don't make fun of bald people and beware of bears!! (Betcha didn't remember that pieces of Bible trivia!--- thanks Mom!)