Just In Case You Lost Track
Not Unraveling . . . Yet

Trust Me

About this time twelve (!) years ago, I was beginning my very unnerving, frightening, and frustrating path toward an eventual cancer diagnosis and treatment regimen.  How could I have known then . . . that the emotions and feelings of those days would be back to haunt me twelve years later in the form of a global pandemic!

Yep.  

They're all there; the same emotional elements . . . 

  • Shock . . . learning that life really IS temporary -- and that none of us is guaranteed a future.  Or, at least, a future that we can control.
  • Denial . . . this can't really be happening; they must be wrong; let's get another opinion.
  • Living in a "trance" . . . going through the motions of life while adjusting enough to deal with the reality of the situation.
  • Freefall . . . losing life-as-we-knew-it -- and the comfort of thinking that we knew what the future would look like.
  • Living in limbo . . . because we really have no idea what will happen next, or when, or what it will look like AFTER; hoping there IS an AFTER.
  • Fear and anxiety . . . about being sick, about dying, about not knowing, about, well, EVERYTHING.
  • Accepting . . . what we're dealing with, focusing on the facts, taking action.

Cancer diagnosis.
Global pandemic.
More alike than different.

Twelve years ago, I was going through these feelings on my own, really.  Now . . . all those feelings and emotions are collective!  Rather than just me feeling those feels . . . well.  Right now we're ALL feeling them!

Oh! Oh! There's one more thing.

Hair!

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When I first got my cancer diagnosis, the first question out of my mouth was not (as you might expect) "Am I going to die?"  Oh, no!  It was, "Will I lose my hair?"  

And, yeah.  I did.  (Lose my hair.)

It was devastating.  Pre-cancer-Kym cared a lot about her hair.  (A LOT.)

But it didn't take me long to understand that my hair was not really all that important in the overall scheme of things.  Losing my hair to chemo freed me in ways I never could have imagined before my cancer diagnosis.  When my hair grew back, I embraced the silver.  I kept a low-key, simple-to-maintain style.  I threw away my round brush!  I didn't worry about my hair looking goofy when I rolled out of bed and went to the gym.  Sure.  My cowlicks still bugged me, and I got regular haircuts -- but I didn't stress over it anymore, y'know?

A lot of my friends are stressing about their hair right now -- with all the salons closed and our favorite stylists sidelined with the stay-at-home orders.  Maybe you are, too?  

I'm here to tell you . . . it'll be okay!  

Use this time as an opportunity to start growing out your silver.  (You won't believe how liberating it is.) Now's your chance to let your hair grow long enough to try a different style.  Or grow out your bangs.  Go natural.  Maybe you've always wondered if you could cut your own hair.  You could even try some crazy, temporary hair dye and try something off-the-charts different.  

Or you can just put a hat on!

It's just hair.  
And it turns out that hair . . . is just another something we think we can control.  It's sort of a physical embodiment of all those other feels we're feeling.  Something concrete . . . in the midst of all that heavier stuff like the limbo and the "trance" and the freefall and the fear and the anxiety.

Keep moving.  
Once we get to the AFTER - and we WILL get to the AFTER - we'll ALL look different.  We'll BE different.  Our hair.  Our attitudes.  Our compassion.  The way we deal with adversity.  The way we see the world.  The way we see EVERYTHING.

Trust me on that.

 

Comments

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Kat

Perfectly said, and thank you for bringing back perspective!

Bonny

Thank you for your perspective. I don't imagine that having felt all those feelings before that it's any easier this time, and I'm sorry that you have yet another chance to go through this again. I do trust you, about hair and everything else.

Patty

I'm glad you mentioned cutting your own hair because I did just that last week but had wondered if it was a bit too risky. It turned out okay, not terrible, and better than some haircuts I've paid for. So I'd say go ahead and try it, you have lots of time for it to grow out if it goes wrong.

Patty

Thank-you for always hitting a home run my friend! And for the kind reminder of what really matters.

Geri

First of all congratulations on being 12 years beyond your diagnosis. Your post really hit home for me. Almost 7 moths ago I received my breast cancer diagnosis. Thankfully it was early stage but unfortunately aggressive enough to require chemo. My world has been rocking ever since but with each new challenge I learned to narrow my focus to deal with one day at a time. Through all the horror of this pandemic I tap down the anxiety by focusing on today. Oh and hair,ha! As you know it’s a slow process but you do quickly realize joy in a few fuzzy, silvery strands. I feel like I’m finally seeing myself as I really am and it’s good.

Margene

TRUTH! Every word you've written is true, at least from my pov. I feel so fortunate in many ways. I have safety and means. Life could be so much more challenging. Hair, don't care. (I did cut my own bangs because I just cold not stand them in my eyes.)

Vicki

I'm so thankful to have long hair right now!! :)

Carole

I've never been so thankful to not dye my hair as I am right now! I do wish I'd gotten a haircut back in February but it's not a big deal with the style I have, it's just longer. You're so right that everything will be different, I think that's what I'm struggling with now.

Jeanne

Great post!

Vera

Yup - everything will be different (already is). My hair? Don;t care. I'm like Vicki - it's long and I don't dye or highlight, so I'm good. But bottom line? Hair is not all that important. Really. Whatever. I'm just so fabulously happy and glad that you are here 12 years later. And so thankful I've met you through blogging. YAY for YOU!!!

Chloe

Wise words.

Mary

I love this! (and what say you about pedicures?!)

kmkat

Happily, I have been cutting my own bangs for years and years, and I never attempted to cover my gray. I refer to the latter as "highlights".

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