Punchy Mommy Believes in Life

How I evicted the worst uninvited overnight guest and took back my life

Give me a head of hair, long beautiful hair

I knew it was going to happen but nothing could have prepared me for it. After my first cycle of chemo, I got my hair cut really short. I didn’t want to shave it because what if it didn’t fall out? So, I asked for a pixie, something similar to Anne Hathaway’s style. It was cute, I liked it, I could’ve lived with it and it was certainly easier to deal with. But soon, my hair felt weird. It became stiff. I had a permanent bed head it seemed. No matter how I slept, it would sort of part and lay down funny.  It didn’t move unless I actually combed it back into place. It felt strange. And then, it started coming out. My hand was full of hair every time I touched it. So I stopped touching it and I didn’t shower as frequently. Maybe it would stop falling out? But my hair was everywhere. Like a cat, I was shedding all over my pillow and the headrest in the car. I left behind my beautiful red hair wherever my head touched. So I finally took a shower and then it all fell out. Everywhere. All over the bathtub, clinging to the walls and the shower curtain. It was a hair massacre. Why did I have to lose my hair too? It felt so unfair. After the shower, I had a few strands left here and there but mostly a bald head. DH talked me into shaving it, you’ll feel better when it’s all gone and you won’t have to face this again. So he took out his electric razor and as I lay on the bed, turning every which way so he could get every last hair, he shaved off what the chemo left behind. And I was left bald as the day I was born. A few chemo cycles later, my eyebrows and eyelashes left me too. Mom, Dad, and DH said I looked beautiful and I was lucky to have such a nicely shaped head. They reminded me over and over that it was just hair and that it would grow back. Maybe it will grow back curly! Mom chirped. But I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me in the mirror. I felt like an alien and I couldn’t get Roger from American Dad out of my head. In my head, I looked like him.

Roger from American Dad

She asks me why, I’m just a hairy guy
I’m hairy noon and night, hair that’s a fright
I’m hairy high and low, don’t ask me why, don’t know
It’s not for lack of bread, like the Greatful Dead, darlin’

Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

Let it fly in the breeze and get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas, in my hair
A home for fleas, a hive for the buzzing bees
A nest for birds, there ain’t no words
For the beauty, splendor, the wonder of my hair

Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair

I want long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided
Powered, flowered and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled and spahettied

Oh say, can you see my eyes if you can
Then my hair’s too short
Down with here, down to there
Down till there, down to where it’s stuck by itself

They’ll be ga-ga at the go-go, when they see me in my toga
My toga made of blond, brilliantined, biblical hair
My hair like Jesus wore it, Hallelujah I adore it
Hallelujah Mary loved her son, why don’t my mother love me?

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow
My hair

Trust Fall

Standing straight, I cross my hands over my chest, close my eyes, and fall backwards. Falling, falling, falling, falling, falling…

Then, I feel a hand on my head and it’s you. Whispering in my ear I love you, I’m thinking of you, you can do this, you’ll get through this, it’s going to be ok, take it one day at a time, you’ll beat this, you’re strong, you’re beautiful. 

A hand on my neck. It’s you. You’ve sent flowers, cards, chocolate, books, voicemails, text messages, care packages, thigh high knee socks, comfy clothes, movies, and emails.

A hand on my shoulder.  It’s you. Sitting at my bedside, laying in bed with me, holding my hand, cooking meals, bringing me medicine, helping me to the bathroom, brushing my teeth, feeding me, tucking me into bed, kissing me, helping me get dressed, watching movies with me, reading to me, being there when I wake up, finishing my sentences, and bringing Pinkberry.

A hand on my arm. It’s you. Taking my tearful phone calls and emails every single time. Listening to me lament about my condition. Helping me to stay positive. To stay focused. Giving me perspective. Making me smile. Telling me about you and your life, your kids, your job. Reminding me that there is life outside of hospital, outside of cancer, and someday, I too, will start living again.

A hand on my hand.  It’s you. Taking care of Little Man. Hugging him, holding him, kissing him, changing him, bathing him, reading to him, playing with him, telling him mommy loves him, telling him mommy misses him, taking photos and videos of him to show me, putting him on Skype so he could see me while I was in the hospital and bringing him to see me there.

A hand on my back.  It’s you. Creating and organizing my cancer dossier. Taking voluminous notes, asking questions, researching, learning, connecting with others, saving my life.

A hand on my leg. It’s you. Driving and flying hundreds of miles to see doctors and specialists. Going to every single doctor appointment. Spending sleepless nights at the hospital on the couch. Talking to nurses and doctors when I couldn’t find the words and didn’t have the energy to tell this story again.

A hand on my knee. It’s you. Raising money for cancer research, walking and biking in my honor, and donating blood.

A hand on my foot. It’s you. Praying for me. Refluah shlema and Ana El Na Refa Na La. I heard it. I hear it. I know it’s you.

Please hold me forever. Don’t ever let me go.

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