The Tell-Tale Hair

My husband and I were on our way to my Sandostatin injection (the injection I get every 14 days for my Neuroendocrine cancer) at the hospital when we started talking about my hair & the fact I had been growing it out. I told him how much better I liked my hair long, but that it was so much work that it takes twice as much time & energy to do something with it.  However, I have kept it short for the past 6 years or so purely for the wash & go factor. He posed a question to me that I had never really thought about. He asked me if I wished, at times, that the chemo would make my hair fall out. Hmm….

I have never really thought about it but in a lot of ways, yes, I do. To be clear, I am grateful that I am lucky enough to have kept my hair & that I “Look healthy”.  I say it like that because it really is a double-edged sword. The types of cancer drug I get don’t cause you to lose your hair, or if it does happen it is very rare. When I go into the oncologist’s office I don’t get the same treatment as some other people who are being treated for cancer because I don’t look like I am, so therefore it must not be that bad.

Typically cancer patients would get a form they filled out to rate their symptoms they have with their treatment, such as how tired they are, if they have nausea, or vomiting, and other side effects. I don’t get this form to fill out, even though I have many of the the same side effects as traditional chemotherapy patients, minus the hair loss.  The exclusion me feel as though my cancer doesn’t count and that my side effects are less important than everyone else’s.

The double edge sword is that sometimes people don’t get it. They see me for how I look on the outside and they have a hard time understanding I have cancer. That even though I look good on the outside it doesn’t mean I feel good.  I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, but just once I don’t want my illness to be questioned: “You look so good… You can’t be that sick.”

So yes some days I do wish my hair would fall out.


4 responses to “The Tell-Tale Hair

  1. I never thought about it like that. I hope your side effects don’t kick your tail too hard…and that you are cancer free very SOON!

  2. That’s just a shame that you would be treated different because of appearance but not very surprising either. What a sad commentary on human nature. You are beautiful with or without the hair! xoxo

  3. I understand how you feel. My son is 11 and severely autistic but unless he talks or acts out, he looks like your average child. The number of people who think he is being rude from not talking (which he rarely does) when they try to talk to him or say thinks like “he doesn’t look autistic” is amazing.

    While his condition isn’t as deadly as yours I can understand your frustration but I’m still going hope that you keep your hair and people stop being so foolish.

    • Thank you, I think so many people can relate to this & you do not have to have a life threatening disease to understand. I hope with all the awareness for autism that people will stop to think about it when they encounter an autistic person without coming to quick decisions about that person. I know for me personally, since my daughter was diagnosed with a spectrum disorder it has made me much more aware of kids & even adults who act out. I am less likely to judge because I do not know the background.