Being diagnosed with cancer at 24, an age where a grey hair would send you into meltdown mode, my first reaction was of course ‘I will never pull off the Uncle Fester look’. My hair was always a massive part of my appearance. The ‘Is it ginger? Is it strawberry- blonde?’ colour always got compliments and looks of jealousy from my sisters and friends who spent countless money on hair dye. So when the nurse told me my chemotherapy would definitely cause hair loss it was just another shitty thing I had to come to terms with.
After a couple of well-deserved days of self- pity and staring at my hair in the mirror I decided to take charge. It was my hair and I decide when to lose it, this stupid cancer has gotten enough already! Deciding to get my hair cut up short was my first task. Thankfully it wasn’t an emotional decision to make as I had cut it short when I was eighteen so I just pretended that I was reliving my youth (without the gift of ignorant bliss). I woke up on a Wednesday morning, booked my appointment and that was that. I hopped into my sister’s amazing Mini Cooper and had a great drive up to Dublin by myself with the window down, music blaring and hair blowing in the wind for the last time (until next year).
I booked my appointment with The Tan Fairy located in Kingswood, Tallaght as I was hoping to donate my hair to the Rapunzel Foundation but typical it was an inch and half too short. Sitting in the chair was a very surreal moment. I had planned to be in Thailand dancing at a Full Moon party and never imagined to be sitting getting my hair chopped in preparation for chemotherapy. I had never thought of the ‘what ifs’ so I wasn’t going to start now, just another step on the journey to make me some woman for one woman.
The whole experience was made memorable by my hairdresser, Nadia. She was such a gas woman and it was actually great craic. It could have been a sad experience if I let it but I do not believe in getting sad about things you can’t change, just embrace it. She was a very talented stylist and I felt comfortable letting her loose and doing what she wanted with my hair. Before I knew it I was staring at a completely new me, which I actually quite liked. So what was expected to be an emotion experience, turned out to be an occasion to have a laugh and try new things. I suppose what I am saying is try take things that might be challenging and turn it into something fun. Laughter is always the best cure.
I was really lucky I picked that day to get it cut because I got the call to go into hospital to start treatment only a couple of hours after my appointment. I think it would have been a more traumatic experience getting it cut after treatment when everything was actually real. Getting it done before felt like it was a new exciting style. So far I really like my short hair. It’s handy to manage and you can actually see my facial features more now so there is always a plus side. Once I start seeing my hair fall out then I will shave it off. I think it would be torture to watch it fall out bit by bit so I’ll just go wild and do a Britney on it (Halloween costume sorted- just need an umbrella). I am on day 12 of my first cycle and its hanging in there pretty good but I suppose I will expect to wake up any day and see a lump of hair on my pillow, ah sure what can ya do!