Cancer Ate My Hair: Hungry Little Guy

Losing Hair and Things and All the Blessings

by Christie Perkins

Yes. It’s true. I’ve joined the hair loss club. I’m president and I won by a landslide. (Hey when you still have bush lined parking lots for hair no one is going to elect you president. Sorry man.) Slick’s the trick.

Ok, so maybe not completely true… but balding men (and cancer groupies who have treatments that also ate their hair) I feel your pain. Yes. It’s gone. And though cancer ate my hair, no worries. The pain is only momentary.

Hair Loss Week

Technically I should have posted this in November… not procrastinating is a new years goal.

So the first time I lost my hair I remember specifics about it. Your head starts to tingle. That’s the first indicator your hair is starting to drop. The 1st day it started coming out 1-2 pieces would drop when I touched my head. Day 2: 3-5 pieces. Day 3: 20 pieces.. and by Dayish 7: 90 pieces of hair.

Yes. I counted them.

At 90 pieces of hair plus one more day, it was time to shave my head. By the way if you are going through treatments and you shaved your head- the little hairs on your head continue to fall out and stab your head so grab a washcloth and scrub your head in the shower and they will fall out. Feels so much better.

So this time when my head started to tingle I really understood what would come. One day you have a full head of hair and by the end of the week a skeleton remains. It’s crazy how fast it goes. So Wed., November 1st my head started to tingle.

Oh no.

You see. The problem was that we had family pictures with my entire family on November 10th. 10 days. Last time I shaved at day 8 (and that was one day too long). It had been 15 years since we had “real” family pictures with my side of the family. There’s been a few genetic counterparts since then. We were due. But, I wasn’t sure my hair was going to make it until then. This created one of those gnarly knots in my stomach. I want to be vain and look pretty for pictures… if you know what I mean.

So I did the most natural thing I could think of. I bought some spray glue and got to work.

Flip your jaw back up. I’m just kidding. But I thought about it (bet that would have looked real pretty… what is that? Is that a spider web in your hair?). Ok, so I really I went to my 1st line of defense: I prayed. And I know anyone I expressed my concern to said they would pray that my hair wouldn’t jump ship until after pictures.

What a week.

Oh, hair falling out in clumps is a mess. It’s all over the couch, the laundry, the food (gag reflex) … sorry guys. It’s just mostly protein right? Keeping it real. The pillow creates an awe inspiring masterpiece of hair artwork in the mornings. And my beautification station has a new soft landing for my eye shadow droppings. (Don’t you hate it when you drop it and crumbles into powder? Oops! Poof! Just like that.)

But as the week went on I got more and more worried. I surpassed the 90 pieces of hair falling out and I still have a few days. The night before pictures I counted 538 (plus or minus) pieces of hair that came out in a clump. Oh boy…

Oh boy.

 

Picture Day

I continued to pray and avoided doing my hair. Yes. The less I touched it, washed it, messed with it, the more likely I’d have something to work with for pictures. You see my theory was sacrifice and look like a blazing cave man during the week and turn up to pictures looking like amazing babe when pictures came (ok stretching the latter visual image a little, just go with it). No worries… I did put deodorant on during the blazing cave man stage.

By some miracle the hair was enough that we could fake it. There were some deep balding rivers running around my head but from the front we could fake it.

Whew.

I teased my hair a little in the back and pulled that chunk right on out. Ok, lesson one: no teasing. Hm. Thin hair is amazingly easy to work with. I just gently poof my hair out with my fingers and glue with hairspray. Onto the bangs. I take a piece between two fingers and tug gently to the side. Yikes! My eyes go directly to my fingers still pinching the hair but it’s disengaged from my head. It just pulled right on out without any coercing. Man, my hair has better ears than my kids.

I busted up laughing.

Yep I laughed. Seriously. My bangs just fell out. It’s only humor at this point. Can’t stop the things you can’t stop. Might as well laugh. Thankfully I didn’t grab my entire bang… there were enough to fake it. Can you you imagine the picture ladies upward jutting eyebrows? What in the world happened to you? Did you get a hold of the scissors? Alright. Who left the scissors out for your mom? We all know little girls who cut their own bangs. Those little short stubby hairs for bangs attached to innocent angel eyes. What? I can only imagine that scenario for pictures with my razor sharp… fingers cutting stubby bangs.

I’m crying, I’m laughing so hard here at the thought of this scenario played out in my head. (Don’t you find people who think they are funny… not funny. Just having a moment here. Whew, pull it together Perkins).

Ok, moving on.

(Giggle…)

 

Picture Perfect

Anyway. The picture shoot turns out great. She worked hard and got a lot of pictures. I was very impressed with her timeliness and ability to transform our crazy family into a nice looking one. And phew! My hair makes it through. Thanks for those that prayed that my hair sticks around.

We get home and celebrate with pizza. I start pulling my hair out in chunks. Ah finally. It gives in to any touching or tugging at all. Doesn’t even want to fight me back, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. Just barely made it in time for family pictures, I got my miracle. There’s no way my hair is not going to make it through the night.

It’s time to shave my head. We’ll do it in about 30 minutes.

But the phone rings. It’s the photographer. My mom answers the phone. I hear something along the lines of: “We can reschedule for tomorrow.”

My stomach drops and I touch my hair (good move Perkins that just makes it fall out more). Tomorrow? Oh no. What happened? My hair just won’t make it until tomorrow. Well, it might make it but it’ll give off that blazing crazed caveman look.

Photoshop can’t fix that.

Oh no. And I just keep thinking about the photographer. All the hard work she put into making the night flow into a masterpiece. Not like the hair fiasco masterpiece left on my pillow in the mornings but the masterpiece of a much needed family photo of 15 years with one last good (vain) shot of me.

 

More Miracles

So somehow in the photo shoot the switch over of a full SD card somehow falls into ankle deep leaves in the middle of a leaf graveyard.

But the photographer, me, and my family all know one thing. Tomorrow won’t work. Tomorrow won’t work for my hair situation. And technically tomorrow won’t work for the photographer (though she claimed it would be no trouble to cancel her other appointments). I can only imagine her heartache, she was very aware of my hair care situation.

We decide to pray and get to work. We all loaded up in cars with flashlights and our hope of finding it swelling up inside of us. Our amazing photographer meets us out there. After finding the location in the chilly, black, moonless night we get to work sifting through piles of leaves for an itty-bitty 1x1inch SD card.

Impossible.

Only the sound of leaves shuffling can be heard. There’s very little words spoken. It’s as if you don’t dare breathe because you just might miss hearing that SD card fall to the ground.

We replay in our minds the photographers graceful dance for a perfect shot. Here, there, everywhere. Quick, quick, quick. Slick, slick, slick. It could be anywhere.

But, after about 30-40 minutes of night crawling we hear, “I found it.” My heart leapt. Then dropped. It’s from my oldest son. He better not be kidding. That’s not funny.

Thankfully he wasn’t. My heart starts to tingle (oh no, I hope that doesn’t mean my heart’s going to fall out too). We are saved by a prayer twice this week. Once for my hair to stay for pictures. And twice to preserve my last day of hair for pictures. My sister-in-law says a prayer of thanks and the females are all crying. For this moment was more than just finding an SD card it was knowing that God hears your prayers.

My hair wouldn’t have lasted another day. No way.

He truly does hear your prayers and knows the desires of your heart. Truly a miracle.

 

Wrap Up

So Hair Loss Club… I’ll be stepping down as president in about 6 months. We’ve switched treatments and mine’s coming back (it’s a little sketchy but it’s hair!). Eeek! Can’t wait to run my fingers through my hair.

 

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4 thoughts on “Cancer Ate My Hair: Hungry Little Guy

  1. Love this little Fire Plug named CHRISTIE PERKINS! She is what grace under difficult circumstance looks like. God broke the mold with her and he wonderful, infectious, and beautiful laugh! I can hear it Christie, I really can. So glad that God hears and answers prayers for us all!

  2. I love it!!! I’m totally laughing, and crying. So thankful for all the little ways God shows us He loves us and is very aware. Thank you for sharing!! Love you! (And, hair is overrated! You look just as beautiful without it!)

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