Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It's Not as Bad as You Think

We hear all the time that God doesn't give us trials we can't handle. But sometimes when you are anticipating or going through a particular trial, you're absolutely certain that it isn't true. Or maybe, you're prepared to handle it, but dang it, you're not going to do it cheerfully!

I was dreading losing my hair. Absolutely dreading it. I talked about it as though it didn't matter. But I cried about it, a lot while it was falling out. And then I shaved it off, and it was nothing. All that dread, all those tears, and all the anxiety over it, and it was nothing.

Sure, there are times when I miss my routine. I miss looking like a person, and not an alien. I miss ponytails and braids and getting my hair done. And I will never willingly sport a bald or buzzed cut ever again, once I have finally grown it out.

I dreaded the surgery. I dreaded the chemo. I was so nervous about feeling nauseated and sick. And yes, it was horrible and I hated it. But it was doable. So much more doable than I thought it would be. I had friends who would bring me soup or apples. My mom helped clean my house a couple of times. But, for the most part, I went to work and I was pretty self-sufficient. And not in terrible spirits. (When I felt crabby or unhappy, I mostly just slept it off, anyway.) I never got sick. I never had to change my routine in order to avoid germs--my immune system worked beautifully. I made it through.

And now the regrowth and repair stage.

Hardly any regrowth at 4 weeks after final chemo
People have said that for as many months as I was on treatments, that is how long I would need to recover. But, I've generally felt well enough. I stopped taking treatments, and nothing has really changed! It took me about 10 days to recover, and then I was back to normal and knowing that I would never have to do any of it again. (Here's hoping! That's what cured means afterall.)

I have been so revolted by the regrowth stages I knew I would have to go through, and dreading it MORE than I did actually losing my hair. And you know what? It's not that bad. I made it through the baby bird stage--the one where I was sporting little gray/blonde feathers that looked absolutely ridiculous. And I didn't really care.

6 weeks regrowth
The feelings of dread and loss and sadness aren't ones that can just be swept under the rug. If anyone else told me that it wasn't going to be as bad as I thought, it wouldn't matter. It wouldn't get rid of those feelings and, in fact, often just made me more irritated about the whole thing. However, I've been surprised at how often I've said those words to myself in complete epiphany during this whole process. It really wasn't as bad as I thought. Or it really was totally doable.

7 weeks regrowth

Pretty soon I'll be into the butchy buzzcut look (I'm halfway there with the regrowth of all the dark hairs). And while I'm not looking forward to it either, it is what it is. I'm just sick of wasting so much emotion on it. Because in six more weeks, I'll be in a totally different awkward regrowth stage. And maybe I'll even have eyebrows again!*

I'm pretty sure I can handle it.

*I have hair where my eyebrows should be, but it's super blonde and hardly counts for the bushy eyebrows I'm used to. I'm close to going and getting them threaded, anyway, though, just for shape!


  1. You seem to have been handling things with grace, style and dignity. That makes me proud.

  2. You're a rockstar. I hope if I have to go through this one day I handle it with the finess you have.


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