Being Bald

I am coming upon the end of the year and my commitment to a shaven head. I will be purchasing new clippers so that I can maintain my hairless noggin so that I can continue with what I set out to do.

I rub my hand over my head. There is slight regrowth. To an extent, it feels like sandpaper or like when I run my hand over one of the boy’s newly clipped heads – except that on my scalp, I can feel the cool touch of my own hand. It is a feeling that is both familiar and foreign to me, still, after almost a month.

On July 27, 2014 my head was shaved. The proceeds I have been raising go to fund pediatric Cancer research. The bald head goes to raising awareness. I have a pin that says, “ask me why I’m bald”.

I get looks, curious looks. I don’t often wear my pin. I should though, because then people might understand, might even help. And that is, after all, why I did it. Part of the reason, anyway.

Another reason was to be part of something bigger. I was able to nationally bring attention to something that has become an integral part of so many lives.

Just within my family – limiting it strictly to the family my husband and I created – childhood cancer has changed the lives of six people. Each of us – my husband, myself, and our four boys – childhood cancer had made an impact. Like a meteorite upon the ground.

Then there are our parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, our friends. That is a number exceeding fifty people that have seen the effects of childhood cancer, stemming from the diagnosis of one little boy. Childhood cancer is far reaching.

And there are countless other families that have experienced what we have…or worse. Some of the mommas I was blessed to shave with are “Angle Mommas.” It’s not a beautiful term, but I can’t think of any pretty wording for parents that have lost their children to this disease. It is heart breaking.

The weight of this diagnosis has been on our family for almost two years, as I write this. Two years of feeling helpless, to an extent. Two years of fear. Two years of faith. Two years of joy. Two years of stress.

I have so little control over this situation. I know, based on the evidence presented to us, that the doctors know what they are doing, and so I have willingly given the reigns to them in terms of what meds Spencer gets. I like the results they have shown. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not stressed out during steroid week, when my four year old is angry for almost everything.

And my hair was wild. It was untamable. It was thick and plentiful. It was heavy. It was mine. I had control over letting it go. I wanted to shave because Spencer lost his hair. He had no choice. I did.

Each hair that was clipped, I realized today, was the representation of fear and anxiety I have felt over the last two years. I have not counted my hairs – that would be foolish and a waste of time. But I am willing to believe that for each hair that I lost, I was scared one time. That is a lot of fear.

My head is much lighter, physically speaking. And emotionally, too. My hair would upset me, often. It never wanted to do what I wanted it to. I would throw a bandana to cover it instead of dealing with it, as it was too short to ponytail and too long to leave loose because it would get in my eyes.

Now, it is one less worry I have. I’ve retired my bandanas and proudly show off my shorn head. I shaved for me, for my son, for the angels and the survivors, for the parents – and for the research. If we can raise money that helps fund the research that finds a cure, then no more mommas or daddies would have to hear the heart stopping words. “Your child has cancer.” My hair is a very small price to pay for that.

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