Wednesday the 18th December 2013
It’s my day to go to the hairdresser. A sweet piece of normality. After years of struggle to find a good hairdresser, one that cares, that wants to know me and my needs, that is not into the hair “up sell.” That’s Luisa. I found her through my sister in law and she is just great. She works on the basis that it is a small boutique salon where you are always the only client! It’s so personal and private I love it.
She is honest, about my crowning glory or not. I have always had fine hair with far too many cowlicks, but she is great, she shows me ways to make it do what I would like within reason. If I pick a picture and say I want that she gently brings me back to earth.
I book in ahead each time my hair is done so I had this appointment booked in for 7 weeks. So since the last appointment I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and had the right mastectomy. Without any planning or foresight.
So I walk in and sit and she says “so how have you been?” I take a slow deep breath and say “well a fair bit has happened since I last saw you.” She looks at me puzzled but realises something big has happened. I tell her “I have breast cancer and have had a mastectomy 3 weeks ago.” I planned on keeping it together but of course I did not and consequently I ugly cry all over her. She cries with me, we hug, and then when we can speak I answer all of her questions.
I explain that I have been recommended chemotherapy and that I will definitely lose my hair so I would like it cut short in preparation. So we look at some pictures and I explain what I want, she cuts my hair really short and I love it!!!
I asked her if I can come to her when I need to shave my head? She is so supportive and says “of course.” I had read of some women trying to make losing their hair as gentle as possible so they arranged to have champagne, food and their best girlfriends and to make it as special as they can. You see there is something about losing your hair that many men don’t get.
Your hair is not often seen as particularly feminine but it really is. Perhaps less so for me, because I have never really had that amazing head of hair, I’ve just had hair. However, the prospect of being as bald as a badger makes me feel somewhat challenged, and certainly less feminine or beautiful.
Marc wants me to let him do the shaving, he has the shaver and does his own scone every few weeks. But I think I want it to be feminine, gentle and safe in case I lose it all together. Even if you are a woman like me who has never had luscious locks, it is still a large part of me as a woman.
Luisa is so open to this option and we begin to strategise. I explain that I have been told that my hair will fall out anywhere between 14-21 days after chemo starts, there is little warning it just comes out like it was never attached. Luisa says “call me whenever”, I agree and I leave with my sharp new hair do and my hairdresser on speed dial.