Last night, over bento boxes at DC’s Teaism restaurant, I gave a borrowed wig back to the friend who gave it to me. I vividly remember the day she gave it to me – she came to my apartment with an assortment of wigs, head coverings, and costumes and took awesome pictures of me with my bald-ass head. It’s been about 9 months since my hair started growing back and it’s still pretty short, but it in no way suggests that I was once bald.
For a fleeting moment, as I handed the wig back across the table in a crinkly plastic shopping bag, I felt sad and scared. It was a very cliche moment, I was closing a door and ending a chapter and all those good metaphors for completion, which is great. It’s great that I don’t NEED that wig anymore. But, and many breast cancer survivors will tell you this, there’s also a bit of superstition about getting rid of wigs, as if trying to put away the bald chapter of your life only causes it to roar back up again.
Weird little cancer survivor things, I guess. It was great to talk with this friend, as we both seem to be in a really similar place right now. Even though she finished her chemo well before I did, we both still feel the disgust with our daily routine and the urgency to really make meaning from life in ways that we might not have considered before. We both also suffer from some anxiety – whether a side effect of drugs or a psychological side effect of having cancer. It’s always good to know you’re not alone.
And with that, I also want to point at this article, which I found relevant to my mood today: To Treat the Cancer, Treat the Distress.