Monday, May 10, 2010

- On Being Bald (and Other Things)

Well, here I am again - did you think I had disappeared forever? Nope, just tired and doing a lot of couch time, so I haven't been blogging as much. But...this is your lucky day! I'm awake enough to say something! Not something profound, necessarily, but something.

Oops! Wait a minute . . . it's 8 pm! Time for House MD! I've seen every episode and I don't want to miss this one. Back in an hour!

(One hour later) Okay, I'm back. That was a good episode! House is such a troubled dude. He was in therapy for the whole episode tonight & ended up getting mad & walking out on his therapist.

And next week is the season finale. What's up with that??? It's only May!! Now there'll be repeats until September??? Phhttt!!!

Well, what else is exciting in my dreary, couch potato, chocolate-guzzling, smoothie-drinking life? Oh, I know!!! I got a new wiggie!! My friend Suzanne has great connections - she goes to this way-cool $1 store in Toronto when she's there and buys me these fun wiggies for $2. 

Which means that the $1 store isn't really a $1 store in the strictest sense. But anyways, here I am:


It's kinda like a Doodlebop wig, don't you think? The Doodlebops is a Canadian television show for children that's topping the charts. They tour and everything! Their wigs are very fun, just like my new wiggie, which, if you hadn't noticed, is nice and PINK, just like the color of the breast cancer ribbon! So it's very appropro for me.

Of course, my bald look is equally lovely & I've received so many compliments from so many of you - thank you! It's very encouraging to know that you think I look cool & hip as a baldie - I kinda like it, too!

Since chemo brings on menopause, I'm getting a lot of - how shall we say - temperature fluctuations?!? So these days, with winter out of the way (almost - it snowed here Sunday!), I'm more prone to go bald simply because of my frequent hot flushes! Who wants to wear a wig on a sweaty head?!?? Not me!!!

I get a variety of reactions to being bald. Many seem uncomfortable with it. I went to a shopping mall on Friday night & found the reaction from other shoppers is that they feel badly & awkward. But many of the salespeople were totally fine with it & I didn't sense any discomfort. So I guess it depends.

Funny, though - I find that when *I* see someone bald, my immediate reaction is a type of sympathy. But many of them who are bald don't look well, and don't have much makeup on, so they look rather ill, and I feel badly for their suffering. 

Most of the women I see at the hospital wear wigs, hats or turbans. A couple of them told me they never let anyone see them bald. I'm fortunate that I have a nicely shaped head so baldness seems to suit me . . . and who knew? How would you ever know you'd look bald unless you shaved your head? And why would you shave your head unless you were in a situation like I am (or fundraising for someone like me!) 

But I have to say that the few women I have seen so far didn't seem to have much makeup on or be kinda "working" their baldness. I feel usually very joyful when I'm out in public because I love being with people, and I usually have on a full face of makeup - foundation, blush, and lipstick - so I look healthy. 

Because I don't look ill, I think that helps "sell" the baldness more as a fashion statement than an occurrence that has made me a victim. I don't call myself a victim because with all the inconvenience cancer can bring, I don't want to look at myself at being "picked on" by cancer because that's such a negative way of looking at things.

That said, I still feel a general discomfort from many. Let's face it - a bald woman in public is unusual. Most female cancer patients don't seem to ever go out in public without some sort of head covering, so the public simply isn't used to it. If they saw it all the time, it would be different, I'm sure. People always need to feel acclimatized to something before they can  begin to feel relaxed about it.

I also strongly feel that by putting on makeup & looking joyful (I enjoy doing both), I am being a role model. SO many people are fearful of receiving a cancer diagnosis & can't imagine how they would remain sane if their doctor broke that news to them. They are terrified that life will end & a death sentence will take over anything & everything in their lives.

I am here to say that it doesn't have to be horrible. Yes, I know, being diagnosed with any type of serious illness is not always a walk in the park, but it doesn't mean we have to yield to it & suddenly stop living, or being joyful & telling jokes, or smelling the wonderful fragrances of outdoors in spring, or appreciating all the good & noble things in our world.

By putting color on my face & making an effort not to appear sickly when I'm out in public, I feel I am giving hope to others. Even if I feel like going outdoors looking like I just woke up, I feel responsible for doing the opposite: putting in the effort to look great. Wearing bright colors . . . today I wore a yellow top, a lime green jacket, and two strings of beads with every color in the rainbow, plus a new reddish lipstick, eyeshadow, and nice blush! And I got several compliments, I might add! :)

I'm not trying to blow my own horn here, but I want to point out that I have a desire to bring hope to others by showing them that I have a vibrant life & I can look vibrant, even under less-than-perfect circumstances. I want them to see that having cancer does NOT have to be the end of the world & it doesn't have to dictate or become my entire identity . . .

I also MUST add that in no way do I want to judge others who may be feeling sick & weak & tired from their ordeal. It's very easy for me to talk about trying to look great but I have to remind myself that I am VERY fortunate that I'm not feeling too sick from the chemo or cancer.

The worst symptom I have is fatigue, which is pretty easy to deal with. Some don't have it that easy & are desperately ill. It's a completely different ballgame when there's nausea, vomiting and weight loss, not to mention family breakups (some husbands leave their wives where there is extensive breast surgery), financial challenges, children acting out, and so on. I can totally understand in those cases that the last thing a woman might have energy for is sprucing herself up.

I'm just saying that because I am so blessed to have many things in my favor, I feel I have a responsibility to look good & be an encouragement to others. That's my role in this whole thing, I think. I'm happy to do it. Plus of course, you know me - I like to have fun!!


Well, here's a wonderful tune I came across last week by Leann Albrecht, a very successful artist based in Nashville, Tennessee & a woman of deep faith. 

I draw strength continually from my relationship with the Lord . . . He is the reason I can sing and be joyful in the midst of all of this. 

I relate to this song because He gives me hope & courage, and He is the reason I can look to the future without fear. 

Have a blessed week, and seek to be a blessing to others!


  1. Way to go Wendy - you look wonderful and very pretty. I agree that makeup would make a big difference. You still have that joyful attitude that I adore!


  2. Wonderful, Wendy. I understand about the make up thing. I'm chronically ill and aside from pain, my biggest struggle is also fatigue. It shows on my face when I am in a lot of pain, and even though I had to get past the sheer pathetic-ness of looking sick all the time (poor, poor meeeeeee...) I also like to put make up on when I go out so that I can be "me" rather than being sick. I am a bit of an introvert, and have been praying lately that when I go out, God would help me to keep my eyes, heart and face open to others, to be more available to the world around me. As opposed, of course, to rushing through the grocery store w/my head down and my entire body hollering, "Get out of my way, I want to get home to BED!!" ;)

    There really is no joy like the God-joy that comes in where there logically should be no joy, is there? Love it!!!

  3. Hey Kelly, so good to meet you on here! How did you find my bloggy-blog?

    Good for you, wanting to think of others in the midst of great trials. I'm so sorry you have to struggle with chronic pain & fatigue...pain is so wearing on your body, mind & emotions.

    Yes, the joy reminds me of C.S. Lewis' book, "Surprised By Joy". We find it at the most unlikely times, like when I'm coming home from the hospital, sometimes filled with gratitude that I'm being so well taken care of at such a great facility, or whatever...

    Blessings to you, my friend,


  4. I loved Surprised By Joy!

    We've met once before, at the Nazarene church in Franklin years ago. But it's so cool to catch up with you here and on Facebook. I found your blog from Facebook, and also you posted a very kind comment on my blog, Just A Thought. Isn't this blogging thing great?!

    I only heard about your cancer recently, and I appreciate your honesty and faith (and sense of fun). There's a line in a Steve Bell song that says, "It is Your (God's) reputation that makes me outrageously brave" I think you can probably relate, huh? What a mighty God we serve!

  5. Oh, cool! Um, are we Facebook friends? If not, we should be...add me! ;)

  6. LOL! We are. I'll post "hullo" on your page.

  7. Hey babe ,
    I'm a firm believer that if u look
    good you'll feel better ,even if you'don't
    it make's a huge difference. My life has
    been rough but no matter what, I find the
    energy 2 put my face on, get dressed and
    most importantly my smile . So keep doing what u do cause u look amazing .God Bless
    I love what u wrote I loved reading it .xoxoxo

  8. I love what you wrote, I am so glad to get to know you, you are an inspiration to me. I don't know how you found me but I'm some glad you did. Be Blessed my new friend.