Thursday, June 13, 2013

No Hair, Don't Care

Bear with me here, I'm just going to simply write what I'm feeling so I'm not exactly sure where this is going to go... 

Although I tend to be a very emotional person, I also consider myself to be extremely strong. I've been through quite a few challenging experiences in my short 24 years that have made me that way. I've been forced to be strong when I didn't have any other options. 

My mom was diagnosed with cancer for the 2nd time about seven year ago. She first battled breast cancer in her mid-thirties and after treatment was told she was cancer free. That really wasn't the case, and it popped back up again almost 15 years later. When we found out it returned, I was in high school, and while most of my friends didn't have a worry in the world besides boys, I was internally dealing with a pretty difficult situation at home. I hate cancer, but it's been such a huge part of my life for so long that I really don't remember life without it. Whether I like it or not, it's a part of my reality - and to be honest, dealing with and experiencing my Mom's battle has made me as emotionally/mentally strong as I could possibly be. Just like my Momma :-)

Recently, my Mom has lost her hair, again. She lost it once before about 3 years ago due to one of the chemo medicines she was on. After she got off of that med, her hair came back. Nobody is every going to be 100% comfortable being bald, especially a woman, and especially my Mom. If you were told you were going to lose all your hair within 2 weeks, how would you be feeling?

When hair falls out from chemo/radiation - it doesn't all come out at once. It's a rather slow process. Each morning you're finding it on your pillow, in the shower drain, falling in your face during the day. It's painfully drawn out, which does nothing but add to the horrible experience it already is. Even being an emotionally and mentally strong person can't prepare you for that.

Now that her hair is all gone, I've talked her into wearing hats rather than a wig during the hot summer months. When she is just hanging out around the house, she doesn't wear anything and just lets her bald head be free. But when we are out running errands or doing things in public, she wears one of her adorable hats. I'm completely used to it, but I often times forget everyone else in this world might not be quite as comfortable. That's something I'm still trying to comprehend, it's just hair.

But boy, do people stare. And when I say stare, I mean make a disgusted/confused look and not take their eyes off my Mom until they realize she surely is bald. If there's one thing that makes my Mom uncomfortable, it's that -which upsets me more than anything. She's just trying to be comfortable in her own skin after such a traumatic change, and here there are people passing judgement on her. Goodbye strength, hello pissed off Andrea. I would rather have my Mom with her hair than not have my Mom or her hair around. But I guess some people are just lucky enough to not fully understand that - and that's okay.

If you haven't been personally touched by cancer in this way,
here's what you can do to help someone who has:

1.) If you see someone who you think might be battling cancer and has lost their hair - just smile! Don't stare, don't make judgmental faces, don't do a double-take to get a better look, just simply flash that person a smile. Battling cancer & losing your hair on top of it is tough enough, and by just passing on a smile to someone who is fighting it can make a world of difference. You have NO idea how much that can brighten someone's day. 

2.) Donate your hair! One thing I've learned from my Mom: IT'S JUST HAIR! I made the easy decision to donate 9 inches of my hair last September and hope to be able to do it again soon - it was the most rewarding experience to know that my hair helped make a wig for a woman battling cancer. Mine grows back, but for someone going through chemo or radiation, they don't always get that promise. Read more about donating here.

Thanks for listening to my rant for today.
I think you all know that when something is really bothering you, it usually helps to vent and write about it. And it did.


  1. Your mom sounds like such a beautiful and courageous person! I can't imagine what this is like, as I have been lucky in life. I do know, however, that people can be cold and a lot of times it's because they don't understand. Your mom looks so beautiful in the picture above! Who needs hair?! I think you said it best: mom rocking a cute hat is better than not having your mom.

  2. I love that you are so open about this and advocate in a such a positive way! I am on the planning committee for Relay For Life of the American Caner Society. My absolutely, totes favorite thing about planning is hosting Survivor Dinner, where we honor survivors and their caregivers. It's heartbreaking and amazing to hear the stories and see how strong people are.

  3. Great post! People stare in general way too much not realizing how it makes them look like a giant a-hole.

  4. Great post. It is hard to fully understand something that you haven't personally experienced. I have donated my hair twice and plan to do it again after my wedding. I think it is a great and easy way to make a little difference.

  5. I've donated my hair twice so far and I hope to do it again soon when it gets long enough. Like you said it's just hair. It grows back :)