Chemo, Hair and My Mother!

It has been my parents’ goal my entire life to spare me, my sister and my brother from any unsavory news. This probably began with the death of my seven year old sister, when I was only twelve years old. It was a devastating event that changed all of our lives forever. I know that they are always trying to do what is best for us. As an adult I find this very frustrating as they often hide their own medical issues so as not to worry us. I believe that whether news is good or bad, it is meant to be shared. Families need to support and lean on each other, especially during difficult times.

While telling my own children that I had leukemia was not high on my list of joyful news, I have always been very open and honest with them, keeping them in the loop whether it was good or bad news. So, it was no surprise when Joe told me that my mother had secretly told him, that she would like to take me shopping for a wig. She wasn’t sure how to approach the subject with me, not wanting to upset me, but wanted me to be prepared when and if my hair fell out. God bless my mother!

Of course Joe and I have already had the hair discussion and we both laughed about the fact that I am constantly saying that I want new hair. I have never been really fond of what I have so off with the old and on with the new!

My parents live in Palm Desert so once we got up and moving, we headed down the valley. Being that neither one of us was prepared for this vacation; we made a stop to buy some suitable clothing.  Sucks to be in Palm Springs with no clothes. Once we finally arrived at my mother’s, I figured that I would spare HER the discomfort of bringing up shopping for a wig and I just blurted out, “So, let’s go buy some hair!” She said, “Oh honey, I brought you into this world with a full head of hair, and I don’t want you to be without, in case you need it.” Then she said, “Is that OK?” What she meant was, is it OK that she wanted to help me be prepared in case my hair fell out, not, was it OK that my hair might fall out! Of course I found it all right, wonderful even. She feels so helpless and wants to do anything that she can to make my nightmare more manageable and if buying me hair helps her contribute to my well being, then I am one lucky girl! 

My Mother with the Wig On!
God, how I love my Mother! She is the sweetest, dearest and most kind human being that I know. Just thinking about how much my leukemia is hurting her breaks my heart. I think that my Dad was hoping that he and Joe would have a few beers and hang out, but I foiled the plan and drug Joe with us to the wig store.

The gal in the wig store was a kick! I tried on wig after wig, laughing hysterically the whole time. I mentioned that I never really liked my own hair very much and that is probably because I have very little of it. The wigs that I was trying on were beautiful and full, but looked completely ridiculous on me. They were just too much hair! I even tried on a blond one; just to show Joe how ridiculous I looked as a blond. Funny thing was though, since I was so pale, I didn’t look nearly as silly as I did the last time that I tried on a blond wig for Halloween. Finally, somewhere from the back of the shop, the gal brings out a wig that most resembles my own hair. I look in the mirror and I still see me. Viola’, we have succeeded. My Mom also slips in a knit hat that is kinda’ funky and we leave the store.

Joe and I are going to pick up my son and bring him to my Mom’s for dinner, so we decide that I should leave the wig on and see if he notices. He climbs in the car and it is the same old teenage conversation. We get back to my parents’ and my Dad had ordered yummy pizza. Forty-five minutes have gone by and still nothing; nothing from my son OR my father! Finally I cannot stand it any longer and I say, “So, what do you think of my hair?”  My son casually replies, “Mom, I know that it is a wig, I just didn’t want to be rude and say anything.” Ugh, kids!

I think that the other two would’ve jumped right on it. I eventually mention it to my Dad. He says, “Oh, I didn’t even notice. It looks just like your own hair.” Truth of the matter is that it looks even better than my own hair!  C’est la vie; Such is Life. I guess now all I can do is to wait and see just how much of my own hair falls out. Regardless of the amount of hair loss, I have been prepared by my dear Mother, the woman who has also prepared me so well, by example, to fight this blood cancer. Thanks, Mom!


  1. you are ssooo right, dearest of all cousins. sharing the good and bad with family and friends.

    i feel strongly and have always tried to exercise the necessary faith (mine) in allowing " others' " their ABILITY and RIGHT to handle, interpret, etc for themselves. i feel that it is NOT my right to make such decisions for them! and sometimes, that's not so easy.

    your mom and my mom are truly incredible women. words like kindness, sweetness, decency, service to others, encouraging, teaching by example, strength and wacky... well, these attributes only are only the beginning of the list. we are so blessed to have our moms. by the by, happy mother's day!! and may i say how lucky your kids are to have you!

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