Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bald and Beautiful

It didn’t take long into the treatment’s for Vanessa’s hair to start falling out… we tried everything to prevent it from happening.  I had even researched chemo that doesn’t make you loose your hair… of course the chemo that doesn’t make you loose your hair was not an option for her.  It started with little strands falling out here and there.  As the days went on a few strands turned into handfuls.  We cut her hair shorter thinking if we kept the weight off of the root it wouldn’t fall out.  Its not the weight on the root that causes the loss.. the root is being damaged the chemo… it doesn’t matter if you only have peach fuzz on your head… it will fall out with most chemo drugs.
 Like any girl, loosing her hair was hard to deal with.  Hair is so important to any girl… its one of the aspects God gave us to make us beautiful.  Vanessa had one of the most beautiful heads of hair too… thick, shiny, and healthy as can be.. beautiful short or long… held styles, curly naturally and beautiful, and straightened just as beautiful. 

Vanessa’s hair started creating a “rat’s nest” on the side of her head.  She didn’t want to brush it because it would fall out even more.  Finally her boyfriend Matt came to her with some clippers and told her it was time.  He sat her down and he shaved her head, and then they shaved his head. 
 I had promised Vanessa that when she lost her hair, I would loose mine.  I wouldn’t make her go through that alone.  I wanted to support her and let her know it was ok to not have any hair.  My hair was long and I had never been happier with the color.  I was in a new relationship with my now Husband Mike.  I had told Mike I would shave my head for her.  I expected him to tell me no.  Honestly, what guy wants a bald girlfriend… one that he hasn’t even been with that long.  However, he supported me.  Of course he wanted me to keep my hair, but he 100% supported my loosing my hair for supporting my best friend.
 Vanessa became admitted for another round of Chemo.  I showed up in her hospital room on I believe June 16, 2008.  I brought a pair of clippers with me.  I had not yet seen Vanessa with a shaved head… and I was terrified to see what she and I would like bald.  I walked down the hall towards her room.  The door was open and she was talking with her Nurse and crying.  I was standing in the hall where I could see her, but she could not see me.  I was taken back by seeing her for the first time bald.  I needed to look at her and prepare myself so then when I approached her face to face wouldn’t look at her any differently then what I always had before.  It was hard to see her that way.  I will never forget seeing her bald for the first time.  This was the new Vanessa.  This is the Vanessa I would now know.  She did not look bad, or sick… in fact she looked beautiful.  But none the less one way I never wanted to see her.
 I finally pulled myself together and walked into her room.  She was still crying listening to the Nurse talk of her treatment and the plan.  She was scared and confused like any person would be.  After I sat down, I handed her the clippers and asked her if she was ready to shave her best friends head.  She smiled and got up right away and started setting up the clippers.  I went and I sat down in a chair in front of a mirror and pulled my long hair into a pony tail.  She had scissors in hand, and Matt had the camera in hand.   First she cut off the pony tail, and we took some silly pictures with my pony tail.  Then the real fun began.  She got the clippers, turned them on, and slowly started shaving my head. 
 The first bit of hair she shaved I relaxed.  I was no longer scared to loose my hair or frightend at what I might look like bald.  Just seeing Vanessa’s smile put me completely at ease.  It was fun.  One of the most fun times her and had ever shared.  We laughed and had so much fun shaving funny hair styles into my head before it was all gone.  I must say, I had one round head, and I did not look at all bad with no hair.  Both Vanessa and I bald made one hot team. 
 I finally headed home, of course many friends wanting to see a picture, and I went home to Mike.  I got back to Mikes house, and soon started getting ready for bed.  I went to the bath room and removed my make up.  I glanced into the mirror and then turned away fast and headed to bed.
 Sleeping that night was awful.  I was cold in the middle of summer.  Every time I turned from side to side it felt like my head was piece of velcrow tearing away from its other half.  Finally the morning came, and I headed into the bath room.  Mike was still asleep.  I turned the light on and stared at myself with no hair.  I cried.  I looked like a 12 year old boy.  Now I knew what every person with cancer felt as they lost their hair.  Your self confidence went down the drain.  What is a girl with no hair?
 When Mike woke up he told me I looked beautiful.  He was being honest with me.  He is not a good liar.  It really helped to hear him tell me I was beautiful even though I felt anything but pretty.  He left for work, and then I headed up the mountain to my house.  I ran down stairs to see my mom.  I hadn’t told her Vanessa shaved my head yet.  I knocked on her bath room door and told her I got a hair cut.  My mom knew immediately what that meant, She opened the door and I had my pony tail in hand, and a bald head.  She smiled and told me I looked good with my new hair cut.  By that time I had really relaxed.
 I went upstairs and got ready for work.  I worked at a private country club, and was a paid call fire fighter.  That day I was heading to the Country Club.  I put a cute black hat on my head so my bald head was less recognizable.  I knew some members would be disgraced that I would do something like that.  One member Steve, came up to me and asked “Jillian, what on earth did you do to your head?”  I told him I let my best friend shave it in support of her fighting Cancer.  He thought that was really cool. 
 Later I was told a member Troy wanted to see me.  I went up the pool deck where him, his friends and family were sitting.  Steve was sitting there with them.  He told me he had heard what I did and asked me to take off my hat.  I did and he responded with a smile and told me that he thought it was really cool that I did that.  He asked if there was something he could do to help Vanessa.  I said of course as he pulled out money from his pocket.  He handed me a thick roll of cash with a smiling approval from Maria.  Then he gave me $100 and said that was for shaving my head.  I quickly ran to my phone and called Vanessa.  She couldn’t believe the news.  Of course after being diagnosed she had to stop working and became strapped for cash.  It became hard to pay her bills.  Troy and Maria had given her enough money to pay all of her bills that month.  The donation was a huge blessing, and one that will never be forgotten.  A true kindness.  Already a one month into cancer, a blessing came to Vanessa, and blessing that affected all of us.  Who would have thought… something so good coming from something so bad.  Something so good all from just shaving my hair in support.  It was that moment I knew being bald was beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. I just love you Jillian. And Vanessa. I'm so glad you found someone like Mike, you two are such a team.

    Love you mucho!!