For my cousin Joanne, her words tell our story best.
“You will lose your hair.”
Quarter one 2018 had been what felt like a never ending downward trajectory of doctor delivered bad news since x ray and abnormality but “you will lose your hair” was the first time I tuned out. Instead of listening to treatment options I drifted off into a string of incredibly vain thoughts and questions; ‘without any layers I’m going to be a set of walking chins’, ‘I love Dad dearly but I don’t want to actually look like him,’, ‘what if my skull is really weird? Or scabby? Or both?’ A desperate search for positive, ‘I might save some cash’.
Not my finest moment but there you go. Mum spoke to Macmillan and found a hairdresser who specialises in working with cancer patients and my hair was chopped shorter than I can remember it ever being in preparation for it coming out; part empowering act, part fear of a bill from Thames water.
I went into hospital and spent my first 96 hours attached to a drip. 14 days later, bang on time the first hairs came out. First just 1 or 2, then handfuls until I sported a never fashionable friar tuck look. The parting continued, well, part until it looked like the Red Sea listening to Moses. Mad professor followed, then combover and eventually a fortnight ago I succumbed and headed down the road to try out skinhead as a look. Good news – skull not that weird.
Whilst Britney 2007 was not a look I ever planned on, I have sucked it up confident that each hair also signposts a lymphoma cell meeting an equally abrupt ending. My fabulous mother, god mother and a swathe of cousins however have, with no such silver lining, bizarrely, bravely or fool hardily (I can’t make up my mind) signed up for Macmillan’s BRAVE THE SHAVE, and so for the myriad of family parties that litter this summer, you’ll find not one self conscious female baldie in the mix but rather a cool gang of six.
Families can be pretty awesome.
Feel free to tell them how great they are or chime in on the foolish/unwise debate below. You can sponsor one and support a fabulous charity at the same time (pick a cousin, any cousin). And finally if you are in Liverpool on the 1 July feel free to pop down and join in the festivities. I think there’ll be some drink flowing…