In the midst of moving, I just so happened to stumble across the wig I got after having to shave my head due to chemotherapy back in 2006. Why I saved this momento in a small ziploc bag, I’ll never know. I’ve done crazier things, so I just don’t let it bother me anymore. However, this piece of my past holds so many meaningful and powerful emotions along with it. Holding it in my hands for the first time in 10 years brought all those emotions flooding back to me. I started crying and I couldn’t say if I was shedding tears of sadness, pain, peace, or joy. It was probably a little bit of all of them.
My father, who is my hero beyond a shadow of a doubt, was completely there for me from my original diagnosis of aplastic anemia in 2002, it’s mutation into myleodysplastic syndrome in 2004, my bone marrow transplant in 2006, and my battle with acute graft vs. host disease. (I’ll go into more detail in later posts.) My father watched me as I continued pulling out chunks of hair every time I ran my fingers through it. Eventually I just looked at him and said, “Well, do you think it’s time I shaved this off?” He got out the hair trimmers and we buzzed down my hair as much as could be done without a razor. As he helped me as much as he could, I caught him try to hide a tear that ran down his cheek. Now, my dad’s not the type of person to show his emotions or show anything other than cool, calm, and collected. This was one of two moments in my lifetime that I’ve ever seen my dad shed a tear. So you can imagine my surprise and immediately I started making jokes even though I wanted to break down into a puddle of myself. But someone always has to be the strong one. Don’t think I’m talking about myself because I faked every smile while I fell apart on the inside. In a way, your hair becomes an extension of who you are and I felt like I lost part of my identity that day.
Interestingly enough, after getting the wig from a little store in Barnes-Jewish Hospital, I rarely ever wore it. I was happy in hoodies and pajama pants. And I was pretty much quarantined to my apartment due to being immunosuppressed, so I wasn’t in the public eye very often. Plus, wigs make your head really freaking hot! I don’t know how many of you out there have tried one on for Halloween or some other reason, but expect to be sweating in no time at all!
Anyway, I had to get a post out there because I’d like to pass the wig on to someone who needs it. If anyone knows of a place I could donate it to or can benefit from it themselves, please contact me. I’d love nothing more than to know my experience was used to help someone else through their’s.