the highs and lows ...
it is so easy to name all of the lows associated with cancer. i mean, hello! it is CANCER after all. but, for the sake of looking on the bright side of life i am here with some ‘positives’ … (i use that word very lightly because obviously cancer is awful and there’s nothing great about it.)
body hair. shortly after my treatments began all of my hair stopped growing. not just the hair on my head, but the hair on my body as well. not having hair on my head was of course devastating so that is considered a low for sure, but not having to shave everywhere else has been pretty sweet! i am able to get a shower at record speed which i’m sure my husband appreciates when reviewing the water bill each month. although now the cold weather is upon us so needing to shave or not my showers take forever because i’m warm and don’t want to get out! but that’s a whole different story… so, no shaving - high!
hair loss. i am super curious at how my hair will grow back. for those who knew me before this whole cancer thing, you know that my hair was a bit wild. super curly. but not in a beautiful ringlet or sexy beach wave sort of way… more like super frizzy and unmanageable mess. even a slight percentage of humidity would make it a puffy disaster! i could just imagine that it was raining outside and it would instantly start to frizz out… my hair did not play around, it had a mind of it’s own. i have heard so many different theories on “hair after cancer” … mainly i’ve heard that it grows back really, really curly… this is obviously concerning because i can’t imagine it being MORE curly than it was before… i will look like a chia head!!!! maybe i’ll have the reverse effect and it will return silky smooth and straight?! a girl can dream, right? ok, let me get to the high of this whole devastating hair loss situation - it used to take me a solid hour to straighten my hair because of course i hated wearing it curly… (we all want what we don’t have, duh.) with that being said, it has been really nice having that extra hour in the morning… and i was able to be in the lovely east coast humidity all summer [& fall] without the frizz monster showing her face! not to mention i have been able to wear some pretty fun wigs. some of my favorites are: this little pink number , of course my favorite blonde & this little ombre style! I have to say that each wig looked slightly different than pictured on amazon…. but for the better!! apparently there are youtube videos that will show you how to make the wig line look more “natural” … i never took the time to try that… instead i wear the wigs with a cute headband or a hat! speaking of which, natural life has the CUTEST headbands that can be styled multiple ways. obsessed. my every day wig was given to me for free through a charity that the owner of the salon started. for anyone in south jersey or the surrounding area, please check out martino cartier salon!!! the stylists are all crazy talented and my hair loss journey would be so very different if it wasn’t for the incredible generosity of this organization. i know not everyone has the same thoughts or feelings regarding cancer and hair loss… believe me, there are days that i am brought to tears because i just want to put my hair in a bun… or i look at myself in the mirror without my wig and hate who i see staring back at me. but, i am trying to make lemonade out of a basket of lemons here and grasping on to the little things that have made it all somewhat “ok.”
support. each day i am incredibly humbled by the amount of support all around me. for the amount of shitty in the world, there is also so much good. deciding to share my journey publicly was a big decision for me… in a world full of judgments, social media shaming, opinions… it’s hard to be vulnerable. i am so happy that i made the decision to do it anyway. i have met so many different people in the same boat as me and hearing each of their stories has been so encouraging. strangers with the most uplifting words, it has been really special. days after my diagnosis, my husband ordered a bunch of wristbands specifically for hodgkins lymphoma that have the message printed on them that say “no one fights alone.” i found this gesture of course to be super sweet and as the months have passed by the words that wristband advertises could not be more accurate. cancer can be such an isolating disease… but only if you let it. my family and friends have been so amazing… i feel very lucky. they may not understand exactly what i am going through, and i don’t expect them too… but they are still so loving and supportive. thank you family!!!!! extended family, friends, strangers… everyone who has made each of my days just a touch better… thank you.
i have bad days too. angry, sad days where i feel sorry for myself. i let fear creep in and my mind take me to places where i don’t want it to go. cancer is so unfair!!! there’s no cure! it’s just treatments that make it ‘go away’ for a bit. there’s always the looming fear that it could return. like this dark cloud that was designed just for my personal space to follow me all around and ruin my days. it’s so rude.
so, while there may not be any actual ‘positives’ to having cancer - i have still been trying my very best to not let it defeat me. i try to take the good with the bad. i miss my eyebrows!!! i miss feeling good constantly…. it would be nice to walk up the stairs without feeling tired. i don’t want to do a month of radiation… i just want to be back to normal!!! knowing that my definition of ‘normal’ will forever be changed. cancer will only win if i let it… this disease is just as much mental as it is physical!! there is still a long road ahead and i will continue to smile each day and not let this sickness get the best of me. i have so much to live for… cancer will not define me. don’t worry, be happy.