I Have Questions

I Have Questions

I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but I have one of those lighted 5x magnification mirrors in my bathroom. In fact, since I’m compensating for my bald head with makeup each day, I’ve been spending a great deal of time with Ms. 5x. I know she’s a woman because only another woman can show you that your pores are large enough to trap a small toddler AND tell you that you look good enough to go out of the house in the same 5 minutes. Large pores exposure notwithstanding, Ms. 5x highlights several questions I have about chemotherapy and my hair. These are not deep questions that will change the course of beauty care and cancer treatment for women across the world, but I imagine other women have these questions as well.

  1. When I lost my hair it was full, curly and the darkest black possible. Sure, I had a few gray hairs here and there, but I am talking ink black hair.  I want to know why am I sprouting stick straight white-gray spikes where my hair is trying to grow in? Seriously, all I can see is gray! Where are my black curls?
  2. Why have I lost only half my eyebrows? The entire brow has thinned by at least 75%; isn’t that enough? I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but the half I’m left with demands attention every single day. It never fails that when I sit in front of Ms.5x I am taken back to the memory of reading picture books with my 4 and 2 year old kids. I can hear my son in his sweet, 4 year old voice saying, “Mumma! I don’t like that guy. He has angry eyebrows! Is he the bad guy?” My 2 year old daughter would echo, “He’s mean!” So I faithfully draw the outer half of my eyebrows so I don’t go out looking like I’m scowling all day long. No angry eyebrows allowed.
  3. Why, oh why, in the the name of all chemo induced alopecia have I not lost the hair on the rest of my face?! Ms. 5x assures me that I still have sideburns and all the fine hairs along my jawline. I would like to file a protest.  I sneeze all the time because I’ve lost the fine little nose hairs that bothered no one. They stayed in my nose, never peeking out, just filtering the air as they should. All the facial hair does is remind me that I could someday look like my great aunt (name redacted to protect the loving but very hairy matriarch)! The facial hair stays while the eyebrows and nose hairs get nixed? Raw deal.

Aside from highlighting all my flaws, Ms. 5x has also shown me a good time. I’m learning to compensate for the random darkening and peeling on the tip of my nose, and that my eyes are one of my best features. It almost makes me feel guilty for nicknaming her 5x. Maybe I’ll switch to some other euphemism like Big Beautiful Mirror. Or maybe not.


21 Replies to “I Have Questions”

  1. From my personal experience you grow back kinda like baby first hair and it thickens I colored my baby hair purple pink and told everyone it’s from the chemo many actually believed me but not my oncologist!

  2. Oh my, how I love my Yolanda! Your attitude needs to be bottled and sold as an elixir for self-pity. You are a gift. Hugs and hi to your beautiful Mom. So happy I got to meet her.

  3. Hi, Yolanda! I see you’re keeping your spirits up and I love your blogs…I don’t love why you have this blog, of course, but you’re witty and funny and pondering really deep questions, as I can tell. It’s just the whim of the universe, I think, that takes your nose hairs but leaves the rest. And usually people, after they lose their hair, grow back with curly hair (if they had straight to begin with) and I think the same is true for you: you started with curly so of course it’ll come back in straight. (Now you know what I have to put up with, stick straight hair). Most people say their hair does go back to normal after some months, so there is hope for you and your hair. The gray? Don’t know what to tell you about that, sister-woman, but I have silver hair myself and like it. Go with the flow! (right?)

  4. I love that you say things that people think but never say. I really don’t like mirrors they are too truthful. Love you. God bless you pretty lady.

  5. Yolanda, you are a blessing to all those who are following you thru your journey. I wish my sister could read about you so she can stop pity partying herself. You are a strong woman and I love your journey. Each day just to let you know I pray for your health and strength. Never read about anyone like you. You are one of a kind. Stay strong Yolanda. I send you my love and peace be with you. I love your mom and think a lot of her I have known her and your uncles all my life. Dellavon McCurdy.

  6. Are they giving you any steroids prior to Chemo? Steroids are great for messing with the hair you want and the hair you dont want. After being in Prednisone for a year, still trying to get the hair on my head to grow in, but not the facial hair!! Chemo is known to change the texture/ color of your hair, it may just take time for the melanin to kick in. You are beautiful. Magnified mirror are evil for everyone.

  7. My mirror’s name is Evil Mirror. Your perspective is refreshingly honest and appreciated. Your after chemo hair will never be what it was, but it will be beautiful.

  8. I see you kept your sense of humor on your journey. that is the one thing you can count on, yourself and your ability to keep it real. everyone is allowed a pity party at times, but the rest should be the ability to put it all in perspective. everyone has their battles. yours cancer, mine organ transplant. so hang on to that gift.

  9. My cousin was diagnosed 5+ years ago. It was in her left breast, she said take both. She balked at the chemo, it’s not losing my hair she said, I’m so afraid it will kill me, not the cancer, the chemo!…we were so worried she wouldn’t go! A small spot popped up next to her scar, I was there when the doctor said, just scar tissue, I’m sure it’s fine. Take it off she said. He did and turns out it was cancer too. She met with the oncologist, didn’t like him and made her own appointment at MD Anderson. She did 6 months of chemo and radiation. Every 6 months we wait anxiously to hear that she’s still cancer free…best words ever!! She has, like you great faith, which leaves no doubt that God can and will! ,,PS: she had curly, thick, mostly gray hair…it’s still gray, but so soft, and a lot less curl!

  10. About the hair….. God has a sense of humor. I lost all body hair and felt like a Martian. ALL EXCEPT big toes! It’s just a couple, but seriously? My hair texture changed a bit, and the eyebrows have a mind of their own, but it’s all good. Your family and friends will still love you, with your strong spirit,strength, faith and bright mind and humor. Praying for you, dear lady. God is with you.

  11. I lost all hair everywhere!! Is your hair really growing back already?? Chemo does odd things to all of us, some different for any of us. You are a joy to all of us .

  12. Thank you, Yolanda, for sharing your journey. One way to get back in the good grapefruit of Ms. 5X is to use Witch Hazel on your pores after you wash your makeup off.

  13. Keep up the great attitude, it’s such a blessing to all that read it. May our mighty loving, merciful God continue to bless you, comfort you and use you for His glory. Love you and praying for y’all.

  14. I think you should name 5X mirror “Clarissa” because, as you said, she is a female and between the two of you there are great discoveries. Your gifts of humor and candor bring light and hope to all of us who are on a similar journey. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

  15. I think of you so often and hope and pray for the best results possible. You are a wonderful, caring and insightful woman who kept JTH on the straight and narrow. You’ve kept your sense of humor and it’s invaluable at this time of tour life. Stay strong! Keep the faith and all will be good.

  16. Remember, it is not what’s on the outside that matters. It’s what’s inside your heart that really counts. You have a beautiful heart and you are a beautiful woman, no matter what is on the outside. And, if you ask me, from my perspective you’re outside is beautiful, as well. So, walk proud! Trust God! He is teaching you a lesson in all of this. And, it is a good lesson and will strengthen your character and your faith. You are loved!

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