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  • Writer's pictureFern

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It’s nothing I didn’t expect. Uh, oh, double negative. I expected it, yes I did. The paperwork given before commencing chemo treatments outlined the possible side effects, and how they might unfurl.

Among the other side effects, losing one’s hair was not a maybe; it was a definitive statement: you will lose your hair between fourteen and twenty one days after the first treatment.

My son told me, “Nah, you probably won’t, you got a lotta lettuce up there.” Lettuce?

Apparently a hockey term: “Minnesota has a strong tradition of high school hockey; when the helmets come off, another spectacle begins: The hockey hair showcase. The players in the state's championship tournament come prepared to play with standout hair, from full-grown mullets to sweeping tides of "flow." "Lettuce" is hair. So is "salad." ( Jaromir Jagr, a Czech Right Winger, shown at left. I liked his lettuce best.)

So, twenty two days after treatment, the lettuce is shedding. Rapidly. Thoughts turn to our crowning glory, and what it means to us, as women. And what it means to me. My hair has always been about covering my largish, leprechaun ears, the left one sticking out more than the other. My daughter told me years ago to get over it. Of course, she’s right, but it’s one of those childhood taunting things that remains with one.

Over the years, I have eschewed coloring my hair, mostly because I’m too lazy to keep up with it and too cheap to have it done. And then there was that memorable experience at a Yankee game that convinced me to never color it again. I'd been told that henna would make my hair softer and more manageable than it's bushy nature, so I'd bit the bullet and “hennaed” my hair. My new “manfriend” at the time had scalped 4 Yankee tickets, paying $600. It was to be a bonding experience for me with his daughter and son. Down to the Bronx we went, in high, anticipatory spirits. The seats were right up front in the box. Why are the most expensive seats unprotected from the rain, while the folks up in the nosebleed seats stay high and dry? It was a miserable, drizzle on, drizzle off, call time out, then start again kind of game. I went to the ladies’ room and discovered my “henna” was running down my neck. Lovely.

Back in the sixties, I thought nothing of wearing wigs to change my appearance. I was a strawberry blond pixie styled bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding, accepting the brutal headache that resulted from squeezing my thick, long hair into the short, tiny look. Halfway thru the reception I gave up and removed it, confusing the wedding photographer. I wore “falls” and braids wound around my head when I was working. One of my favorite wigs was a ghoulish dark, dark brown shag style wig. Halloween has seen me, in recent years, in orange, silvery white, long blond, long black. But I never got used to the itchy factor from any of them.

So I'm not considering a wig at this stage in my life. I ordered a couple of beanie things, and a dear friend sent me a North Force head covering adaptable to my needs. All of them will work, and I am quick to remind myself that this too shall pass, and it’s not the worst thing I have to deal with. Does that self-convincing help? Somewhat.

I am grateful for lots more right now, for all the support and love, in notes and texts and calls that I continue to receive from loved ones. That means everything.

I think I’ll dig out some large, sparkly earrings from my jewelry box.

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Candy Johnson Boderck
Candy Johnson Boderck
Jun 22, 2021

Like you say, it’s only hair and this too shall pass. AND, you look great in bandanas anyway, could be your new look even after you grow more “lettuce”


Rosana Martinez Sanzeri
Rosana Martinez Sanzeri
Jun 17, 2021

Kathy, I just read your post of June 5th. I am so sorry for your troubles. Wishing you a speedy recovery and long, long hair. Praying for you. 🙏🙏🙏

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