in which I change my hair

I’d always wondered what it would be like to be blond.

That was the opening sentence to the blog post I wrote two days ago.  The internet gods were not smiling on me that day, however.  I lost it.  I was in such a great mood when I wrote it.  I am no longer.

I’ve struggled with body image my whole life.  That partly drove my decision last weekend to change my hair.

I think the other thing that drove me was the desire to take charge of at least one thing in my life.  The prospect of chemo scares me more and more every single day.  This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced.  I am engaged in a struggle for my life.  But all that’s on my mind is my hair.  My body.

I might actually gain weight on chemo.  This is currently the most horrifying thing I can imagine.

I worked so hard to lose weight last year.  I stopped eating junk, and more importantly, white rice; I did sit ups and walked hundreds of miles.  I was getting fit.  Best of all, I was looking pretty good.  I had, after so many years, come to accept what I was.  I wasn’t done, not by a long shot, but I started letting Ryan take pictures of me again; which he hadn’t been allowed to do since Katie was born fourteen years ago.

So when I read this article, needless to say, it was upsetting.

Was all the work for nothing?  Am I going to wind up right back at square one?  I’ve come to terms with the mental aspects of the side effects.  Will I go crazy and fat?  This whole experience is starting to feel like a cruel practical joke.

I’m taking some comfort in the fact that at least some of the side effects will be temporary.

The salon experience was a lot of fun.  I was a salon color newbie.  We asked friends and family for recommendations, and based on those, we decided on the Ho’ala salon in Ala Moana Center.  Ho’ala is very posh and smells wonderful.  It is a member of the Aveda family of spas, and I guess Aveda’s thing is all-natural ingredients and earth-friendly practices.

My stylist, Soo, explained that to achieve the platinum locks I was looking for, they would have to bleach my hair, resulting in fried hair and possibly a burned scalp.  She said she could give me a full set of highlights, which would lighten my hair without exposing me to injury.

In addition to the highlights, I got a hand massage, a cup of tea, and, honestly, it was just fun being pampered.

Afterward, Ryan, Katie and I had a late dinner at a Thai restaurant.  With not many days until my treatment, it’s nice to spend time with my family.  I was certain that after Katie reached her teens, she wouldn’t need me anymore, but I’m so relieved that she does.

8 thoughts on “in which I change my hair

  1. You look beautiful Jen! Personal improvement is never for nothing, even if you end up back at square one (temporarily). Just think of the amazing example you are providing for your kids. Sending love and positive vibes all the way from chilly Canada.

  2. Another knock out post, Jen. Your honesty just floors me.

    Your’re gorgeous and, if you gain weight and lose your hair for awhile, you’ll still be georgeous. I guess, we women all have something about our bodies that we’d change if it were free and easy. But, your words support the truism that we never see ourselves the way others see us.

    Facing what you’re facing has got to be really tough no matter how much love and support you have. Everybody wishes it were otherwise.

    I’m so sorry life’ giving you such an unfair challenge. I’m wishing you double strength coping skills for this next bit of time while you wait.

    In the meantime, the new hair color looks great on you and I’m glad you got to enjoy a day of pampering.

    As for Ms Teen needing you? I’ve been teaching 8th graders for years. I can tell you, with certainty, that Katie will never need you more than she will in these next several years. Her task in becoming her own person, though, is to discouraging you from knowing just how MUCH she needs you.

    Thinking of you daily and with much aloha,

  3. There are many things that do along with fighting cancer and changes in the body and appearance are just a couple. But the fact of the matter is you are a soul with a body. We are called to care for our body, but not let it totally define us. Changes may come to your body but they do not totally change who you are. Lean on the Lord and let Him give show you who you are, give you the peace and strength you need and the wisdom on what you can do and can’t.

    As a middle school employee, I agree with Lika. Katie needs you and is looking up to you. She is blessed to have you. I pray the Lord uses this time in your lives to draw you two closer.

  4. Dear Jen, You are a strong, powerful conquerer. You have experienced and survived labor pains, three times already. This too is like a labor pain giving birth to the new Jen of the future. This Jen is stronger even still. Unlike Samson your strength doesn’t come from your hair, but from the strong inner light you exude. Your shine has reached a great distance to Georgia and Canada. Your light is stronger than you can know. You are far more valuable than you know JUST AS YOU ARE! You have a fierce warrior inside you. It is cool to be both strong and soft all at once. You are a powerful, loved, and loving, beautiful, creature. Remind your mirror what the rest of us see. Your light is blinding in its brilliance!

  5. My young colleague, Ashley, went thru chemo and radiation a few years ago at the age of 28. She, like you, had a very supportive husband and family. I love what her husband told her when her hair started falling out and she gained weight. He said he was thrilled because he could see proof that her treatments were working. She’s cancer free now (Hodgkin’s disease), her hair grew back fast and she lost the weight.

    I’ll be sending that package early next week! ;^)

    More healing hugs coming your way…Tutu

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