With less than a week to go until my Shave Day for St. Baldrick‘s and pediatric cancer research, I want to share my feelings when I discovered I was going to be bald… the first time…
From Grace: A Child’s Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery
This is what Dr. Dan spoke of. This is also the first time he used the word “chemotherapy,” his New Jersey accent giving it a unique sound. My heart, a hair-raising roller coaster, plummeted down and did a double loop before finally ascending to the top again. Suddenly, that “medicine” that “melted the mass” revealed its true identity. I was totally and completely taken aback. Me. Chemo. It was unreal, like a fairy tale . . . actually a nightmare.
I looked to my dad, his eyes seemed watery. Instantly, I could see it hit way too close to home. His dad, my grandpa, had received chemotherapy for a very rare blood disorder, but sadly, he passed away that June after a long, grueling battle. My dad’s face read, “Oh no, not my daughter, not her too.”
It was quiet . . . too quiet for my comfort, and way too long for my comfort.
Breaking the silence, I asked, “Will I lose my hair?”
“Yes,” Dr. Dan confirmed.
Whoa. What a concept. I pictured myself resembling ET more than my own family. The positive, comedic side of me could not help but break through the layer of seriousness that coated me.
“Well,” I chimed, “I won’t have to put up my hair in a bun.”
That brought a much-needed laugh to the dismal room, with Dr. Dan’s deep chuckle making me laugh uncontrollably. Once our momentary silliness ceased, we got back down to business. I had one more inquiry that was haunting my mind.
“Will I still be able to dance?” I questioned, my eyes donning a soul-twisting, puppy dog look.
The answer somewhat surprised me.
“For the most part, yes,” he replied. “We have a young man who played football through treatment.”
That’s all I wanted to know. I was set . . . content, a whole and complete person.
Imagining myself bald as a newborn, dancing in class, I wondered how the other girls would react. I pictured shocked faces the first time I returned to dance, no one being able to concentrate with me in the room.
This second time, my bald head will laugh when it feels the wind tickling its barrenness. This time, my bald head will know it shines like a dome for the kids. My bald head will smile, knowing it gave up its crop for the purpose of ending the suffering of children with cancer. I am going to have one heck of a happy bald head!
Thank you from my heart to each of you who has supported my efforts with your donations, your encouragement, and your kindness.