Feb 22, 2017

Healthy life milestones and a shout out to the school mums


When I was going through chemo I didn't really give much thought to my bald head, I would go to the supermarket in all my bald-headed glory, I'd go out for dinner like it, I didn't really mind it, what I was going through was what consumed my mind and just trying to get through the day. It was only when I got the steroid acne that I would hate the way I looked. I'm not a person who ever really considers what people think of me, I don't feel self-conscious about most things and people would often say to me 'that woman is staring at you' or 'how do you feel that people stare at your head' and I would honestly reply with 'I don't even notice' because I would be too busy worrying about how I was feeling or enjoying the moment to worry if anyone was looking, and if they were, so what?

I never went bald for a single school drop-off/pick-up though. It's different feeling vulnerable and a little bit naked, in front of people who know you. I didn't want all the kids staring or saying things to my kids about their bald mummy. I didn't want the school mums to look at me with pity or feel awkward about what to say, how to address the bald elephant in the room so to speak. Although they're all pretty lovely so it was more my issue and I'm sure they would have been kind about it. I'd turn up to school with pink wigs, brown wigs, blonde wigs, I'd literally put it on in the car, minutes before I picked the children up (I much preferred the cries of 'Tilly's mums got pink hair  than Tilly's mum has 'no hair' haha) and when I really couldn't bear the wig in the 35 degree heat I'd wear jut a baseball cap or a headscarf.

I'm finally at the stage now where my hair is a couple of centimetres long though and it actually looks like I've got a hairstyle, it's not a great hairstyle but it's a hairstyle none the less. It's not how I pictured it. I imagined myself swanning around and looking graceful like Winona Ryder does but in reality it's SO thick, it's so fluffy and it's a completely different colour to my natural hair and until I could put a bit of product in it, I looked like a baby chimp for a good few weeks.

How I actually looked....

So a couple of days ago I went to visit my friend Lisa from Terminally Fabulous and within minutes of arriving I had whipped my wig off and she started playing around with it and styling it a little bit which made me feel ten times better about the style of the hair and I began to think maybe it was long enough to be a hairstyle. A few days later I decided to put some wax in my hair and 'style' it and brave the school run with no wig and no hat, for the first time since losing my hair.

I had a job interview and decided to wear my Cue dress which would have looked ridiculous with a wig and hat combo (I can't wear the wig without a hat) so I thought it was time. I had a full face of make-up on and felt okay.

I just want to say thank you to every single school mum who came up to me that day and told me they loved my hair and complimented me. It was only a small thing for you to say but it made a massive difference to me. Each Mum who acknowledged my hair and acknowledged my feelings about being brave with my hair made it all a little easier, so much so that after a couple of days of doing it, it didn't even feel like a big deal at all.

It's the getting closer to feeling like a normal healthy person and it's these little steps in putting cancer behind me that make life exciting again. When I was going through cancer, there were all these milestones I had, like getting through each round of chemo and getting closer to finishing it, there was losing my hair, there was getting through radiation, there was getting through each damn day, getting test results, getting scan results....

But now the milestones are even happier ones, there's growing my hair back, there's getting through the day without feeling desperately tired, I've had a few days where I haven't even thought about cancer, which is absolutely amazing, considering it was all consuming for 6 months. Someday's I have so much going on and I feel so healthy it doesn't even cross my mind. I still have nowhere near as much energy as I used to but I'm getting there, I'm learning to be kinder to myself and learning to listen to my body and slow down and rest when I need to, which is hard because I have a never-ending to-do list and about a hundred paintings in my mind I want to create, and kids parties and after-school activities and homework and cooking and lunchboxes and cleaning to do... but I'm just going with it, I don't put pressure on myself anymore and it'll get done when it gets done and I won't go crazy trying to cram stuff into my days like I used to.

Hope you're all having a great week.

Lots of love xoxo


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