Throughout my life, the one constant that made me feel alive, vibrant, confident, self assured, even at time beautiful, was my hair. Getting my hair pressed, getting my hair permed, colored, styled, coiffed. It all brought so much excitement, anticipation of appointment, and ecstasy to me.
I have never worn my hair close to my scalp, nor have I ever wanted to wear shortened hair, though on occasions there was no alternative but to cut some off after medication had damaged and caused breakage beyond concealment. It was never my desire, even when I became frustrated in those times where I could not keep up regular maintenance, through beauty appointments, and it was left to me to “make something work”, only then I glazed over the thought , “if I had a bald head, this would not be a problem. Then I would come to myself, and ask; “what nonsense are you thinking?, Snap out of it!” Easily I could dispel that idiotic notion.
Yesterday, my worse nightmare came to reality, much earlier than my timeline predicted, my head itched at the nape of my neck, instinctively, I scratched it, and as I retrieved my hand, a thick, long clump moved from my scalp. I reached up to grab it and, “oh, no, no, no”; “it’s not time yet!. Jesus, no, I’m not ready, I spoke aloud, as tears just rolled. I find that tears have their own will these days, and I am left to let them fall at a whim.
God had already prepared for this sudden turn of events when I would be home alone, and my hair would suddenly release its grip on my scalp. I had been preparing for the moment when I had to set my hair free, hair and I have been together for 61 years, since My Momma said I was bald for a year, from birth, and was the only hairless child she had. She and my Grandma used to say, “it took so long for me to get hair, and I ended up with the longest and best hair of all”. I always liked that. I was the best at something.
Of course, it was the bane of everyone else’s existence, bringing so much jealousy upon me from my sister, Joyce, and my cousins, and they were never shy about how much they resented me because of my hair. Laughable.
A few months ago, a barbershop/salon opened part-time right up at the Dominos, within walking distance to my house. Over the weekend, I noticed there was a sign to advertise on the building, just on Sunday, I saw this. He is only in after he leaves his regular job, so timing is everything to get service. Xquisite Barber and Beauty Salon, I thanked God right then, because I knew I might need that shop when the time came.
Tuesday, the time came, and I prayed he would be there and I could get him to cut off my sifting, locks, so I would not have to try to do it myself, or wait till Alex(my son) returned home, later. God heard and answered, and the owner, Pierre Gardner, coincidentally, I know his family and have worked with many of them in previous employments.
I went in and tears were flowing, and he was so kind, patient, and understanding. He talked with me throughout the entire process, was so gentle, and the tears subsided. What a blessed experience, that someone who does not work with people losing their hair from chemo, treated me with so much compassion, as I said goodbye to my oldest friend and comfort, my hair was more than for looks, it made me feel covered, and confident in who I was. It kept my skinny neck hidden, and my narrow face framed. It was my crowning glory that God had blessed me with, and I loved that He gave it to me.
Now, I have lost all the parts of me that I felt made me, the “me” that no one else could be, or immolate, or envy. The breasts, the hair, the life giving organs, the swift, speed of a gazelle I loved having, my physical stamina. I still have the one thing, my mind, and the ability to think, reason, remember, learn, and understand. It is not because of age that I have had to let so many things go, that I could accept, just as I was learning to accept my hair had turned gray. Gray is not a good color on me, especially not on my head, and not to wear that same color everyday. My hair has always been in the details of who I knew myself to be. Not vain glory, or in any form or outside show, but as much a part of who I am as my narrow cheek line, or my exotic, deep brown eyes, or my “Naomi Campbell” lips( as they called them in John Casablanca’s Modeling School). At home, the family always called my lips; “Uncle Johnny Lips, because my Grandma’s brother had the same shaped mouth, and I so good to be identified with Uncle Johnny, he was awesome.
So, as predicted by the chemo documents, and Dr. Christiana Brenin, “you will lose your hair”, and so it came to pass, on Tues. Nov. 27, 2018, just a few days before my next battle with the chemo demons on Monday December 3, 2018. What fresh hell will Chemo Infusion cast upon me? I still have eyebrows. I noticed the hair on my body, arms, underarms, legs, little as it was is all gone, and those pesky hairs that I had to pluck from my chin, and the cheek area on my face, didn’t grow back since Chemo Infusion One, so that is huge blessing.
I am not sure that Chemo won’t take my last breath, but I know I want to be here, to live, to survive. I felt so horrible with the first infusion, it is hard to imagine coming through five more like that, and four more of half of the meds from the first session, that will be in the second session, then more after that. I know it is all in God’s hands, and I believe only in what He has for me. My church, Calvary Chapel Fluvanna, and my choral group, Voices of Faith are presenting our 5th Annual “O Come Let Us Adore Him”, Christmas Concert, on December 8, and 9, 2018 at 7pm, and I am praying that after Mondays’ Chemo Infusion, God will lift me up off my side effects, sickbed, pallet, and lower me into my seat among the rest of my fellow singers, so that I can coherently, spiritually, be present and do what singing I can with the voice He has graced me with. I pray God will bless us in this offering up to Him and that, as it could be my last, it will be like the prelude to the Glorious Choir I will sing in for Him in Eternity. Bless Us Lord, and Send All Whom You Desire to Be In Attendance, to the services next weekend, and please be merciful and let me be among them, in the choir, singing and praising your Name. Amen.
1 O God, You are my God; I shall seek you earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.
3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.
4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
7 For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
9 But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth.
10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes.
11 But the king will rejoice in God’ Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.
Thank you for your comforting words, Lord. I meditate on You both day and night, and I know Victory is in You.