Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror this morning. It's been six weeks since I've had a haircut and it shows. I know, I know - I'm supposed to say I'm happy to have hair. Bald was not a bad look for me, except that it was accompanied by a wan complexion, raccoon eyes, and nausea-induced grimacing. When your hair reappears post-chemo, it seems like someone else's. For people with straight or wavy hair, it tends to come back very curly. Apparently, a mechanism in the hair follicle crimps each strand as it emerges. No one seems to know why chemo does this, which is amazing to me when you consider the complexities of other things we have a handle on, such as nuclear fission.

It's shocking to have one hair type your entire life and then presto change-o, you have another. My hair was basically straight with a hint of wave. Not any more. I keep it very short, but the top eventually shoots up in a mass of wild curls. Everyone says it looks great, but I'm unnerved by it. This morning my hair is defying gravity. I woke up as Don King, my hair impossibly molded into an Olympic torch. Don King uses a lot of product to get this effect. I don't.

Strange fascination, fascinating me.


Samantha MacRae said...

So true PJ. Graham had fine straight hair before all the chemo and now when it grows back, it is a thick mass of curls. He absolutely hates it, while I think it looks good. But I am sure his dislike is due to the fact, as you say, that it is very disconcerting to have one type of hair all your life only to have it replaced by another.

Dori Brown said...

PJ -- Don King is alive and well in Nashville, too. Thank goodness for hair styling products. In the spirit of your blog, I suggested a science fair project to my daughter .... "At what length does my mom's hair stop defying gravity?" Dori