I have trusted my hair with Alex at Phase One Salon since I was little. Through the years, he has styled, cut, colored and highlighted my hair. He has seen me through college, jobs, and cancer too. Every time I leave the salon, I feel beautiful and that's why I love going to get my hair done by him. There is a special bond between a woman and her hair stylist; this holds true for Alex and I.
When I learned that I would definitely lose my hair from the two types of chemo that I would be receiving to destroy my immune system and cancerous bone marrow, I knew that I wanted to be the one to lose my locks, not chemo. Cancer has already taken enough from me and if I had the chance to one up it, than you bet I was game.
I called up R.J. King to let him know that I was cutting my hair off and he called upon Nick, his photographer at Hour and DBusiness magazines. I wanted to record the makeover, as it would be more than just a haircut, but another mile marker towards becoming cancer-free. I found myself more nervous that I thought I would be. I had joked a few times about being excited to see how I would look with super short hair, but when it came down to it, I was far from excited. I felt scared and was filled with anxiety. Part of me was mad that I had to cut my hair off, my hair that took years to grow out, and all because of a disease that has robbed me of so many things already. Another part of me was sad because I knew it would be my last hair appointment for a while; you can't make hair appointments when you have no hair.
It was 10 am and there I was, sitting in Alex's chair, hair wet and combed, parted and ready to be cut off. Alex asked me, "What are we doing today?" as he always asks at the beginning of my hair appointments. I replied, "Let's cut it off." I had given R.J. my handheld video camera and Nick was sitting in the chair next to me with his camera ready. Alex tilted my head down and began combing the first section to be cut off in the back of my head. I could feel him cutting each section of hair, as his scissors effortlessly made its way throughout my entire head. I refused to look in the mirror, but couldn't avoid seeing all of my hair that had fell onto the white cape that I was wearing, and to then, to the ground. Seeing that made me cry.
It was much more emotional that I expected. Not because I was losing my hair, as I know it will grow back, but this journey has proved to be one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I have lost a lot in the past 10 years because of my fight with cancer, whether it be work related, things I've missed out on because I was in the hospital for blood transfusions, or cutting a vacation short to rush myself into the ER due to low blood counts. I have lost a lot, yes, but I have to focus on the future and trust that for all that I have lost, I will gain even more after this fight is over. Truth be told, I have gained so much already. Without cancer, I would not know what true happiness really is and how I can find it in my everyday life. I wouldn't know that money can't buy the most valuable things in life because those things are priceless. I wouldn't be as happy as I am each morning knowing that I am alive and that alone is worth getting out of bed for.
It took over an hour to cut off all of my hair, leaving a little to keep it stylish. I looked up at the mirror and saw myself for the first time. It was a shock, as I almost didn't recognize myself...and that was ok. In all actuality, I have never wanted to be defined for what I looked like on the outside, but seen for what's inside. This was never closer to the truth, then at that very moment. No hair...so what? Cancer does not define me. I am a fighter. I am strong and I hate losing. I am ready to fight this and win.
Marrow Makeover it was. It is true; I am getting a makeover in life because of my bone marrow. This makeover goes far beyond looks, though. It goes deep into the soul and I will never be the same, and that's the best part.