Hairs

I thought I was ready, that it was already decided, and that it was no big deal. I don’t think of myself as very vain, and if anything could do better to make more of an effort at girlying up most days. I joked to Nathan that I would text him if I panicked, leaving him at home to work while I left on my own to make my two errands.

The hospital was first, for my daily blood offering. My arms and hands are already starting to bruise up from all the needle pricks, and I am grateful I am not a whimp like Nathan. Seriously, he is a needle whimp. He is one who will pass out even if it is me getting a needle, so it’s a good thing I am independent and can do lots of these pieces of my medical treatments on my own. It works out perfectly, because we get one on one time alone separately to decompress and process, and then support each other well with our closeness in other areas of our lives that don’t involve needles.

My cell counts are getting worse, which makes sense with what we know is going on. I am anemic already, so they are going to check my bone marrow while I am in the hospital anyway. We really need this surgery to happen to get all the answers, but I am grateful to know now about the anemia because that explains in part why I can barely stay awake sometimes. I am so tired!

I filled out my cancer clinical trial paperwork best I could, but some answers I won’t know until after surgery, so I can’t turn it in yet. But I did get it done.

When I finished, I knew it was time for the next step, and really thought I was ready. I drove to Wal-mart of all places, because they have helped us so many times with emergency foster care kid no-appointment haircuts. I walked in, thinking I was just fine, and marched right up to the desk to ask for my haircut.

Except soon as the sweet girls came to help me, it all started pouring out of me, all about cancer and chemo and losing my hair, and needing to get it cut today before surgery. I cried and cried!

They set me up right away, gave me hugs, and even went through the store to buy me a box of kleenexes!

While they did that, I sent emergency texts to two of my new friends from our new ward, Rachel and Sarah-Jayne. One was just leaving the dentist, and the other got a neighbor to stay with her kids, and both of them showed up right away, even though they had no notice or warning because I was too stubborn to ask for help ahead of time.

Neither of them laughed at me or shamed me. I felt so silly for panicking, but I had just started crying and couldn’t stop. They sat with me the whole time I got my hair cut, even though to get a haircut I have to take my cochlear implant processors off and so cannot hear anything. I was surprised by how many basic signs they did know, and both could finger spell. New friends indeed!

The ladies cutting my hair were so sweet. They quickly decided I needed a pixie, so that I could still be “cute” until my hair came out. A pixie would be a cut easy to care for after surgery, they said, but would still give me enough hair to feel like I had some.

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All the ladies were so sweet to me, giving me kleenexes and letting me cry, but also cheering me up and just staying there with me. One of the girls doing my hair has already fought ovarian cancer! So she really understood, and the other girl has seen a lot of cancer in her family. They wrote notes with me on paper, back and forth during my haircut, so I wasn’t even left out of the girl talk. It was amazing, and to feel such love and comfort made me cry even more!

I cried again when one of the girl swept my hair away. It wasn’t that my hair was so amazing and I was sad to see it go, so much as it is a lot to process in a very short amount of time. When she swept away my hair, as if it didn’t belong to me anymore, it just pressed my grief button. It was like when DHS had to take away our foster babies because of my cancer, which was just like when my pregnancies ended in miscarriages, which was just like when my mom was killed last year, which was just like when my father lost his battle to cancer. She swept away my hair, and it felt like all of it being taken away from me all over again, and the hot tears fell.

Those were my emotions, but all the girls were so patient and sweet! They did not get frustrated with me, and really took their time. They even offered to color my hair purple for me! I laughed so hard! I almost did, but in the end declined because that was not my journey for today. In the end, they did not even charge me for my haircut, and told me to come back any time I need it just washed or when it is time to shave my head because chemo has begun. They were so funny, and really helpful, truly angels to me today.

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I was grateful for the ladies who did such a good job with my hair, and for their kindness to me. I was grateful to my two new friends who sacrificed to come out just so I could be a crybaby. I was grateful when I came home to Nathan’s dad dropping off the pre-surgery supplies I needed, and to see him stay to work in our yard. I was grateful for Nathan’s violin lessons and practicing that soothe my soul that can’t stop crying today. Who gets a violin serenade everyday while fighting cancer? It’s a powerful gift, and I am grateful.

Also, my new hair is super fun:

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And now I am pretty sure I will sleep until tomorrow.

My doctor called to check on me this afternoon, and I am glad they are taking good care if me and that we are ready to get this battle started.

That’s why I need a nap, because I have a fight to rest up for, even if I am “cute as a bumblebee” like five said.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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