Chemotherapy is a preventive therapy to kill rogue cancer cells that may be hidden in my body. Chemo kills cancerous fast growing cells as well as other fast growing cells, like hair, nails and skin, to name a few.
Last Christmas I started loosing my hair. My scalp was very painful and I was shedding clumps of hair at a time, which was emotionally draining.
Shaving my head, with the help of my husband, restituted some of my control over my body and my reality. It was a relief to the pain on the scalp as well as the emotional pain of being a victim of strong drugs in my system.
A shaved head is, at the best of times, a cold experience. With that there is the weight of cancer looming above my head. I get looks of pity or solidarity and people who simply can not face me at all.
The physical impact of cancer treatment is vastly discussed, but the emotional impact is equally challenging. It takes a lot to be bald and bold, vulnerable in front of people. It is hard to ask for help, to accept I can no longer do things the way I used to. If I am brave enough I shall one day write about that.
But for now I want to focus on the head, bald head, elephant in the room.
Here I am trying to be as normal as possible and carry on with as many activities as I can. I want to preserve my confidence and self-esteem, I want to not be shy about my predicament, but to be proud and own it.
When offered a wig grant I gladly pick a platinum persona. However, wigs can be hot and uncomfortable, they itch and the “hair” threads get tangled and messy.
It is summer when Luana Radiguet enters my life with her angelic patience and “Michelangelic” talent. I knew her to be a tattoo artist, a performer and visual artist from Brasil. What I did not know is how lovely and gentle she is, how her talents extend to much more than drawing/painting, but she also plays the guitar and sings like an angel!
Each of our “sessions” last between 2 to 5 hours in which she pours her attention over my head and we share beautiful experiences. So much time for such an ephemeral existence: the henna tattoo fades within a week at the most.
But what does not fade is the boost on my confidence of displaying a bald head around this city, and having fun with it!
What will never fade is my gratitude to Luana for making the unbearable full of beauty, light and fun.