Sunday, February 26, 2017

When it starts...

It started this morning. As I knew it would. It's no surprise. For christsake, they tell you you have cancer and then put a flyer for wigs in your hand -all in a matter of nano seconds. So it's not a surprise. Still. When it starts....

My hair. It has started to come out. In the shower this morning I noticed. Not a lot but a enough to get my attention. My scalp is a bit sore (kinda like when your hair hurts from wearing a cap, if you know what I mean). Or maybe you don't. No bother.

I've never been a vain person. Sure you always want to put your best foot forward as they say, but I've certainly not spent a great deal of time (or stress) over it. Comfort can be fashionable is my motto. But I do like my hair. I always get compliments over the color (I've never altered the color of my hair unless you count the endless bottles of "Sun In" during high school) and or the curl – all natural. I like to think I get my hair from my mom. And I thanked her every time someone took notice.

My mom. She was unique. From her god-given name, Nela. To her nickname given by our cousins, Aunt Law. She was my protector, my coach, and my partner. We grew up together, as she was just shy of 18 years my senior. We played endless softball together. First as coach / player. And then as teammates on numerous women's softball teams. She played a mean second base. We bowled together - earning a spot at the Iowa State Mother-Daughter tournament one year.

Mom called me by several nick names as a child but one stuck into adulthood: Mouse. Not sure why and no one else in my life has ever called me Mouse. It was a term of endearment just between us. We shared a fiery Irish temper. And as I got older and wiser and no longer lived under her roof, I pushed the boundaries of my tolerance of her imperfections. We clashed over numerous silly things like how to plug in her DVD (I believe that tiff had us not talking to each other for months) to more serious issues such as how she behaved around my ailing and failing grandmother, with whom she lived. Regardless of her flaws, I loved my mom. I learned to be a good human being from my mom. She's the reason I am who I am. 

She successfully protected, guided, and nursed me through my childhood and adolescence by putting the needs of my brother and me above her own. When I passed out after she pulled a thorn from my finger, she was the first face I saw, holding my hand and telling me I would be OK. She literally sat on top of me to keep me from driving to Iowa City after major oral surgery the day my high school best friend wrecked her car and we were afraid she wouldn't pull through. It would be nice to have her here now. 

My mom lived 66 years. Pride, ignorance, and fear kept her from knowing and conveying to us the extent of her health issues. Isolation and stubbornness allowed her to die alone surrounded by friends she never saw in a small town community she refused to let in.

As my hair falls out, I'm reminded of her. What she gave me. What she took from me. What she left me with.

However unlike my mom who passively let fate be her guide, I'm taking this bitch by the ears and shaving my head. Liz is calling Ann tomorrow. Fuck cancer.


  1. I will try and write this a second time I hope that it posts this time. Yes you have my heartfelt sympathy and know the pain of hair falling out in small handfuls at first it kind of goes limp- dies I guess. I cried I too loved my hair and do again as it came back the same perfect wave and thickness though it took a while. Any way Jacki my friend,

    unlike you I am vain had to get a wig know it's not going to be like your hair texture, style, color but. Dont get real hair as again it's not yours and isn't going to be curly think and beautiful like your own, you have to curl it etc. no thanks. The shop I went to mentioned how "its fun" wearing wigs, "getting a new look". I mentioned iwasnot interested I loved my hair - didn't buy it there to say the least.
    Howeverr I did pick up bangs and little side burns to put under th scarf I wore so when I walked by the mirror I really didn't look or think I was a bald underneath. Worked for me
    Whatever you do it's for you not anyone else. You have to feel good -
    You're going to get through this I'm confident. My Mom had passed when I was diagnosed it was prowbably good for me she would have been in denial and I'd have cried a lot more. I did miss her but felt it was best she wasn't out 17 years out tomorrow,the day your diagnosed is the beginning of recovery- your a survuivor not a victim.

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