Category: Bald - The Funny Thing About Cancer
 
Newsflash!  We're making some progress on the hair front.  Yes I'm excited that my hair is growing again. 

BUT Houston, we have a problem.  The hair is so thin and sparse that you can't really see it.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words... so here's what I mean:
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Can you see my hair?

No?

Well here is a close up.  They're tiny, thin hairs that are so sparsely populated that you can barely see them.
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I know it will thicken in.  I know that I'll most likely end up with my full head of hair again.  But the question is, what to do until then?  Because I kind of feel like I have the hair of a 6 month old.  You know what I mean.  It's thin, there's not alot of it, and sometimes the kid still just looks bald.

So part of me wants to shave it.  Because I think looking like a woman that has severely thinning hair is worse than being bald. 

But part of me wants to keep it... because it's HAIR!  YAY!

I know that hopefully in about 4-6 weeks, I should have a BEAUTIFUL start on a full head of hair so by then, it'll be a moot point.  But what is a girl to do in the mean time?

*sigh* what a great dilemma to have :)
 
This particular blog is not really for my family and friends.  This is for other cancer patients.  The newbies.  The ones that are facing the hairloss and struggling with it.  And struggling with the big question of "should I shave it?"  Just keep that audience in mind as you read this.

Hairloss is hard.  As I stated here, this can be one of the most gut wrenchingly difficult things about cancer diganosis and treatment.  From my experience, many women facing chemo have the same question: to shave?  or not to shave?

And honestly, it's a personal decision.  Here's my very long winded version of how I came to my decision (seriously get a glass of wine, this is long).

I'm a competitive person.  Cancer is my opponent in this particular game.  When I found out I had cancer, my goal during treatment was to not allow cancer to win... anything.  I didn't want to let it take my life.  Or ruin my career.  Or take my sense or humor.  Or push me into an emotional depression.  I was determined to fight cancer on every front. 

My goal was to allow cancer to change my life as little as possible. 

This is the mindset I took into my battle.  

The decision to shave my head was a part of that mentality.  I didn't want to wait for my hair to fall out because I wanted it to be on my terms.  I wanted to decide which day I'd go bald. 

Yes, that makes me sound like a control freak, but I'm sure a few of my fellow cancer survivors can relate to that.

So 16 days after my first AC treatment (2 days after my 2nd), my hair started to come out.  My mom was visiting at the time, so I told her today was the day to shave it.  As a military family, we have a set of clippers at home, so I dug them out and my mom went to town.

Here's what that looks like.
I know lots of girls that did this with a glass of wine and did crazy haircuts.

But honestly, I was too tired that day (if you can't tell by that first photo). 

I personally think this was the right decision for me.  I was ready for it to go.  I was sick of waiting for it to fall out.  I was sick of waiting for cancer to deal me another blow.  So I shaved it.

And then dug out my lint roller!  Remember, just because you shaved doesn't mean what's left won't fall out!  Seriously, the stubble falling out is like snow and it gets everywhere.  Lint rollers help with that immensely and it kinda feels good when your scalp starts to hurt.  Apparently my 2 year old remembers me doing this because the other day he found a lint roller... and ran it over his head.  Kids can make anything look cute :)
 
Sorry I haven't had a chance to write much lately.

I was travelling for work Monday thru Wednesday last week.

Then I had ONE work day in the office on Thursday because on FRIDAY we had our big culminating event for the fundraiser.  WE SHAVED SOME HEADS!!!!

And it was awesome.

I don't have time to write much about it now, so I will leave you with some teasers and write a big long blog about it later.  But I did want to reveal how much money we raised. 

Anyone wanna guess? 

Remember, our original goal was $2500.

I guarantee that whatever number you have in mind right now is too low.

Are you ready for it?  Drum roll please!

We raised over TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!!!

And we're going to apply for matching funds from the company... so we could end up with approximately $25K as our donation for the Hope Lodge.  Isn't that freaking crazy!?!?!?!?!?!?

The emotions around this are just too much to go into right now.  I'm excited, overwhelmed, and amazed at this outpouring of support from people in my company and community.  It's been amazing.

So I'll leave you with some photos of the gang so you can see what your donations helped contribute towards.  And now you can truly understand WHY this entertained me so much :)

 
OK everyone, I need your help.

Do you remember this photo?
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Well, shortly after recieving this, I forwarded it to some guys in my office in an email that might've insinuated that this was a challenge.  I mean, people in AFGHANISTAN that DON'T EVEN KNOW ME shaved their heads in support!  Shouldn't all these tough farmer guys I work with shave their heads too?!?!

Bwahahahahahahaha! (that's my evil laugh... because cancer has made me slightly evil)

However, there was a little resistance.  My old boss was like "all for one, one for all, this means the girls have to shave their heads too!"  Well the only girl on the team is getting married in September... and no girl wants to be bald.  And certainly doesn't want to be growing her hair out in time for her WEDDING.

In his defense, he is almost 50 and has a full head of hair.  Shaving your head at that age when you're not even close to bald is kind of like defacing the Mona Lisa.  He's like the white unicorn of the late 40s crowd... the man with hair.  So I get his hesitancy.

However, my old team took him to happy hour, fed him a drink or two and got him to agree to shaving his head.

BUT before he'll shave his head, we have to raise $2500 for cancer during the month of March.

Yes... he's a wily old man.  He put a time limit on it. 

So, while I have no doubt that we'll be able to raise this amount, I thought I'd ask for your help. 

PLEASE SEND MONEY!

I REALLY WANT TO SEE HIM BALD.  I'm pretty sure this will give me at least one laugh per day for as long as it takes his hair to grow out.  AND I get to be the one to shave his head.  There will be photos.  Many, many photos.

Is it bad that I look forward to this with so much glee?  I've been smiling all week since he told me he'd do this if he got approval from our boss. 

I do get to choose the charity that this goes to.  I haven't made any decisions yet.  If you know me, you know that I have a need to research things.  I want to take some time and research charities to A) ensure it's something I want to support and B) make sure it is a highly reputable charity with a high % of their donations going back out the door to the promised cause.  I do promise to you that I don't take this decision lightly and 100% of what is sent to me will go towards that charity.

So as far as donations go, we're gonna do this old school.  Yep, using postal mail.  Because I'm not sure how to sign up for PayPal as a charitable cause and all that jazz. 

If you'd like to donate, please send cash/check/lots of quarters and change to me at:

1535 Meyer Lane
North Mankato, MN  56003

Just remember, seeing this man bald is vital to my continued happines.  OK maybe not vital.  But it sure would make me laugh!  Have I laid on the guilt too think? :)
 
So I just got these photos from Chris:
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Wow.

First I laughed REALLY HARD.

And then I cried.  (but don't tell anyone, it'll ruin the tough chick image I've been working so hard on)

I cried because it was so unexpected, this display of support. 

I mean, they SHAVED THEIR HEADS!  Being an "experienced" bald person now, I totally get how FRIGGIN COLD it is to have a bald head during winter.  And no, Afghanistan is not the desert where it's 80 degrees in the winter, it's like 50s and 60s there right now.  So I hope you all have some hats!

Let me just say, all you guys rock.  This picture is now the background on my computer so I will see this every single day and know that people all over the world are cheering for me to kick ass. 

Blessings come in so many unexpected forms and both Chris and I are blessed to have so many supportive friends, family members, and coworkers.  I don't think we can say thank you enough for everything that everyone has done.  I know I say this alot, but we are truly blessed.
 
What would you do if you saw me wearing this:
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Yes.  That is a hat in the shape of a moose.  Just call me Bullwinkle.

My hope is that you would laugh.  Or at LEAST crack a smile.

What I've found about being bald, is that as much as I have to get used to it, so does EVERYONE ELSE that sees me on a daily basis.  In particular, my coworkers. 

Thus far, my coworkers have been amazing about the whole cancer thing.  They've all been crazy supportive and awesome and I've gotten more offers than I can count for lawn mowing or snow blowing or frozen pre-made meals.  And let me tell you I am SO taking advantage of it.  I'm wondering if I can convince anyone to come scoop dog poop in a few months when the snow is gone ;)

When I went bald, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Would they say anything?  Should I wear a wig?  A scarf?  Could I somehow break the ice and help everyone realize this is NOT the end of the world for me?

So I bought the moose hat.  And a bear hat (for the days when I'm in a bad mood... I'm a bear!  Hehehehe.)

And it helped.  I got some great laughs out of people and the awkwardness is gone.

But ONE person totally surprised me.  He walked into my office and sat down and didn't even bat an eye.  He just started up a conversation about whatever it was he had a question on and acted like I didn't have a MOOSE ON MY HEAD!

I wanted to see how far he'd take it, so I just acted like I didn't look ridiculous.

And after we were done discussing our business, he said thanks and walked out.  No joke.  No smile.  Nuthin!

I wanted to stop him and say "seriously?!?!  I HAVE A MOOSE ON MY HEAD!!!!!!!"

I'm sure he was just trying to be nice.  Or maybe he just doesn't know how to react.  At first I thought, "maybe I should tell him he's allowed to laugh and it won't offend me."  I mean, he is one of the nicest guys in my office who always has a smile for everyone...

But instead, I've decided this is a challenge.  By not laughing, it totally turned this into a contest.  How completely ridiculous can I look and have him not laugh? 

So here is my plea, help me find the most ridiculous hat/headcovering!  Put a link/picture in the comments section and we'll figure out what the best option is and I'll wear it to a meeting with him :)

I can't go bald and not find some way to have fun with it :)  I MUST PREVAIL!