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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Illness Undisguised

I have not gone around with a bandage covering my ear, as Van Gogh does here, in such beautiful and vivid detail.  I did make the decision that I would not hide the fact that I was without hair under a wig.  I tried, and it just did not work for me.  My oncologist had a very good discussion with me about the disfiguring aspects of chemotherapy, and the fact that losing my hair would be hard, even if I didn't think that it would be ahead of time.  I was fortunate not to lose all my hair in the beginning, and so I had plenty of time to adjust to it and how I wanted to approach it.
It turned out that in the end, time did not help me much.  I just couldn't get used to what felt like fakeness to me about the wig.  I really deeply wish I could overcome those feelings, but after a lot of struggle, I had to admit that I just could not.  Those who know and work with me would not be fooled either way.  A wig is after all not my own hair, and even though I got a very good wig that I very much like the style of, there is no way anyone who knew me would be fooled by it.  So wearing a head covering of a cloth nature wasn't so bold in that respect.  What I did not realize was that it would definitely announce to those that I do not know that I was getting chemotherapy.  I was recently on a return trip to a number of restaurants in Chicago, and on several occasions, someone in the restaurant noted they had served us on a previous trip.  We are not a family that stands out or is in any way memorable.  We enjoy food and each others company, don't get me wrong.  We don't go back to a place that we don't think is great, but rarely do people recognize us on a second go round.  Nope, I am pretty sure that not wearing a wig is what was the game changer.  At first it surprised me, but on second thought I realized that was the downside of my approach.  I was sharing what I was going through with everyone, strangers included.  So be it, because while I am hoping to have enough hair by the end of the summer to look punk, I might not.


  1. "We are not a family that stands out or is in any way memorable." Others might disagree. To put it mildly. ;-)