On Being Bald

My head has been very useful throughout my life.  It’s provided a warm place to keep my eyeballs.  There are convenient tunnels for my ears, nose, and mouth.  It has protected my brain from drying winds, falling rocks, and sharp corners.  And until recently, my head has obligingly sprouted a nice crop of hair.

Chemotherapy, this recipe of cancer-killing chemicals, has temporarily poisoned the crop.  Oddly enough, there are a few short, valiant sprigs still hanging in there, which makes the landscape bristly, but light-bulb shiny.  Hollywood has presented some gorgeously bald leading ladies, but their look doesn’t involve the light reflecting off their scalps like moonlight on a smooth lake.

So to cut the glare, I wear hats.  I have a wig that we’ve christened Karla, and when I want to be incognito as a bald lady, I invite Karla along.  But she gives me a headache after a long day’s wear.  Hats are comfortable, stylish, and defiant.  “I don’t care if you know I’m bald under here.”  Maybe before the end of this leg of the journey I’ll be gonzo enough to appear in public sans hat, wig, or scarf.  Commando.

I’ve done a lot of things lately I never thought I’d do.  Breast cancer is funny like that.  But one thing I will not do is let cancer make me ashamed of my head.  It’s a very nice head.  With or without hair.


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