Returning the Wig

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.

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2 thoughts on “Returning the Wig

  1. Cara……I so admire your ability to describe so wonderfully the many feelings that you have had since your cancer was first diagnosed. I look forward to your insights because they help me gain a little understanding of a situation I have not experienced. Thank you for that, and for your strength and courage in sharing this horrendous experience with the rest of us who follow your blog.
    When I scanned the article you included, I was startled. This is the year 2012 and they are JUST BEGINNING to understand this? Give me a break! This is news to them? That someone who has a life threatening illness might be upset? And that his or her anxiety, fears and terrors might have a negative impact on his or her recovery? This is not rocket science! It amazes me that as far as cancer treatments have progressed, that udnerstanding the emotional and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis is still such a “new” thing! Boy, do we have a long way to go!

    Anyway, on to a more positive note: you are a beautiful human being, no, hair, short hair or flowing tresses! It doesn’t matter. I have no doubt that you will find a way to make your “lemonade” out of this awful “lemon” you have been handed. You are well on your way and I can’t wait to see the roads you will travel! To quote one of my favorite books: “Oh, the places you will go!”
    With love and admiration,
    Marlene

  2. Hi Cara! Was looking around on the GW website and one thing led to another… and ended up here! I have friends that I worry about…but you’re so mentally strong (and physically strong – saw the post about rock climbing!) that I feel confident that you’re going to keep on marching through life and do just fine. (But since I’m superstitious and don’t like to needlessly risk jinxing myself or yourself, the wig isn’t going anywhere!) 🙂 I’ll keep following the adventures of Cara…. Big hug, Rina

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