Everyone handles cancer differently. The journey is not the same for any one person. The side effects of chemo are awful, I’m not downplaying it. The nausea, the fatigue, the pain. It’s bad. Depending on your chemotherapy regimen, some people lose their hair, and some don’t.
I lost my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, everything. I lost it twice. For me personally, this was the most horrifying experience. I remember it like it was yesterday. Running my hands through my hair and having it fall out in clumps. When it first started happening, I would have panic attacks, which I never experienced in my life. I would wake up every morning, go to the bathroom to brush my hair and look in the mirror and watch it fall out in clumps. It made me physically sick to the point where every morning it happened for maybe a week, I would look in the mirror, run my hands through my hair, and immediately vomit. Eventually all of my hair was almost gone, so I had to shave my head. When this happened, I lost a part of my identity. It was literally like I was paralyzed. I sat on my couch for days just staring at the wall.
I rocked my bald head. I’ve rocked the short hair, but most of all, I rock my wigs. They make me feel more like myself. I went through chemo wearing wigs and fake eyelashes, because that’s what makes ME feel more like MYSELF. And in MY opinion (yours can be different) if you look more like yourself, you feel better. We’re all fighting the same battle, regardless of how we choose to show our “strength”. Strength and courage do not differ in regards to cancer, if you choose to wear a wig and makeup, bald head, or a scarf over your head. Strength is all about you doing you…which is doing whatever the hell you want to do and have to do, to get through your situation. I almost died. I fought for my life for 7 months. I was in pain. I was emotionally and physically burned out. Regardless of whether or not I wear a wig, I’m strong as f*ck. I can handle anything. There is NOTHING wrong with making broken look beautiful.
But strength is NOT about making fun of other cancer patients because of the way that they choose to handle their diagnosis and journey. That’s called insecurity, but as a friend told me last night…the way I choose to help other cancer fighters is showing them what worked for me and what made me happy. And unfortunately in this day and age, some people feel better about themselves by bullying others on how they choose to handle their journeys, which is in no way, shape, or form, okay. But, that makes themselves feel better and apparently gets them through the day. Do what makes YOU happy, and screw what the rest of the world thinks. Opinions are like assholes–everyone has one. So do you, boo boo!
And another thing about strength is that some people going through cancer DO NOT “look sick” and lose their hair. I’ve connected with hundreds of people through social media, and was so lucky to become close with a leukemia fighter. She was basically injected with rat poison. She had horrible side effects, and went through everything else that a cancer fighter goes through. I know this because we literally talk every other day since I was diagnosed. Cancer is a traumatic journey. She was bullied via social media as well, because she didn’t lose her hair, so she was accused of getting “lucky”, per say, meanwhile, she was fighting for her life on the daily.
Strength is how you overcome obstacles. Strength is about building people up, not tearing them down. So if you’re going through chemo now, and went public with your journey, and people have something to say to you, consider it a compliment. You’re fabulous enough to be talked about. Try not to care what people think about you, you’re no less of a fighter by the way you choose to keep up with your appearance, whether it be bald, short hair, or with a wig. Do what makes YOU happy, at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to help you fight the biggest battle of your life. So however you choose to handle cancer, I’m here cheering for you.
Find my book “Talk Cancer To Me” available at amazon here: