Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Thing Which I Thought I Could Not Do

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

I had an experience last Thursday which I wish I could have written about last Thursday. Instead, it took me a few days to process (and cry). But I'm ready to share now...

I've mentioned here that I am pretty emotional about the possibility of losing my hair during my chemotherapy treatment. We have been told repeatedly that every patient responds differently to chemo and that every drug has different side effects. I KNOW it is possible that not a hair on my head will be lost. But a difficult situation is made a little more challenging--and beautiful--by the impending marriage of my best friend and her beloved. That wedding is close! April 17th, to be exact. I do not have the luxury of time to sit around and see if I will be one of the lucky ones. Plus, I'm not feeling exactly what you could call "lucky" these days! I keep telling Hubby that I just will prepare for the absolute worst to happen, and if we get anything besides that, it will be a pleasant surprise!

Back to the hair issue. Not only am I very, very sad about losing it; I am very, very sad that my boys will have a bald mama. My head is astronomically large--I don't think I will be a very attractive bald person. There is NO WAY that I can walk around hairless. Not for me, not for them.

So, last Thursday, my mom and my sister (who has a wedding of her own just around the corner) went with me to find a hair solution. We had contacted a shop here in the Metroplex that is run by a group of women who are all cancer survivors. In spite of my dread, we made an appointment.

Well. I thought it would be all about hair. Was I wrong! This cute little girly shop had anything and everything you could ever imagine a lady suffering through cancer might need or want. I thought nothing could make me feel happy as long as I was there, but then I saw this T-shirt:
And I laughed out loud. I might go back and buy it in a few months.

Kathy is the name of the lady who helped us. I was a mess--I cried off and on, along with Mom and Sister--almost the whole time. Kathy just talked right over the blubbering, as if my behavior was perfectly normal. She showed me what seemed like a thousand different hairstyles, colors, wigs, scarves, and hats. She spent close to two hours with me and never once strayed from kindness, compassion, and patience. She told me some of her personal story of breast cancer, but not too much. She understood when I said I'd had enough, and then she hugged me like we were old friends. Kathy promised that everything will be OK. I want so much to believe her.

As I sat there in that chair, looking at the reflection of myself wearing pretend hair, my feelings were mixed. Of course, I was sad. So very, VERY sad. But I felt just the tiniest touch of strength and pride, too. My original game plan went a little something like this: Lose hair...stay locked up in bedroom until it grows back. I was serious about it, too. BUT, I have three very good reasons to live the best life I can, with or without my hair. Those three reasons need their mama.

I took a small step on Thursday toward facing one of my greatest fears. In no way do I think those were the last tears I will shed about my silly (gigantic) head of hair, nor do I look forward to going through the next few months without it. But I did something really, really hard. And in a strange way, I came out feeling like I'd won a small victory.


P.S. In the Everything You Never Thought You'd Need For Cancer section of the store, I found these. And purchased them. And I've been pleasantly surprised to find that they work a little bit.

9 comments:

Amanda said...

Allyson,

We are praying for you daily! I have a stack of letters from sweet 4th and 5th grade Sugar Creek girls that I need to get to the post office for you.

I have an idea for you. I was wondering if you might make a button like on this site http://lifeoflisasmith.blogspot.com/ ? She has a button that other bloggers can post to their site to ask for prayer. It would be so great to get hundreds, if not, thousands of bloggers agreeing with you in prayer. Just a thought for you! Of course, I'll pray even without the button, but thought you might like that idea!

Hope today is a good day!

Melynda said...

You are so brave, Allyson! First, you admit your fears to yourself-- I rarely get past that part. Then you share your private thoughts and fears with the world with such transparency. I'm sure it's therapeutic for you to write on this blog, but I believe you are helping the rest of us, too. It's good to be open and vulnerable, and you have so much spiritual wisdom that you share with us along the way. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are braver than you know, and an inspiration to me.

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Allyson, my prayers are with you and your family. I know God has you in the palm of His hands -- along with your precious family. I also know it's very hard to walk through the unknown. Thank you for being honest with us and God. He's such a BIG loving God and when I read your posts I sense His smile.

Gentle, healing cyber-hugs and lots of prayers for you all!

3 Girl Mommy said...

Love the t-shirt, love that the queasy drops seem to work, love that your mama and sister were with you, love that you can laugh and cry about your situation at the same time, LOVE YOU!!! In case I haven't told you in awhile...I'm so blessed that you are my friend, you amaze and inspire me each day!

PandaMom said...

I loved reading this very real, honest-to-goodness heartfelt post. You are beautiful. Have I told you that? Yep. But I'll say it again, "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL."

Anonymous said...

Sweetie....If I need to, I'll cut all mine off and give to you to make a wig. I think you will still be BEAUTIFUL!!!! And, they have such wonderful scarves these days too!!! No one will care, especially the boys. Make Clint shave his head with you!! I love you and you are always in my prayers. Griz

Kandice said...

I'm with Griz..you are very beautiful no matter what..and I would also cut my hair to give to you..although last haircut I got..and I got alot cut...my hairdresser said it looked like she had shaved a poodle..so that may not be the look you are going for!!! love you friend!!!

Melanie said...

As we went through the whirlwind of a dx of brain cancer in our precious 12 yr old son, Andrew, often I heard in my "spirit" to "SET YOUR FACE LIKE FLINT."
I will pray for you & your family now.
Melanie@Bella~Mella

Anonymous said...

Love the T shirt & love the picture of you all. What a team!

This verse makes me think of you:

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12

(I'm not very good at "patient in affliction" and am very inspired by you and your words!)
Betty H SCBC