Wennie is a 27-year old physics teacher residing in Houston, Texas. She discovered after multiple trips to the ER for chest pain and being misdiagnosed with pneumonia that she had lymphoma -- specifically, stage IV, non-Hodgkin’s, primary mediastinal diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. She is currently undergoing treatment.
I’m sitting in the doctor's waiting room when my phone rings a distinct tone reserved for one, little person. I answer the video smiling and say hello to my wide-eyed, open-mouthed 5-year old. Instead of saying hello back, he screams “Mommy!!! Is that a wig???”
I casually glance around to see if anyone overheard, mortified even though I am not ashamed of my newfound baldness. Oh boy, you must appreciate how honest and unfiltered children are! He curiously asks if I could remove the wig to confirm that it was not my hair. ***face palms***
I started to lose my hair after my first round of aggressive R-EPOCH chemo. I literally woke up with hair one day and by the afternoon found I had patches of hair missing on the side. I looked like a human Dalmatian with those patchy spots, it was so unflattering and made me feel sicker seeing it. I had tried cutting my hair short to lessen the maintenance of the expected hair loss, but I was still not ready. The next day I got all my hair cut off feeling that it would look better bald and not patchy. I cried in the barber’s chair, not liking all the things happening to my body that were out of my control.
However, by voluntarily going bald I was able to take some control of this chaotic cancer journey. I put on some makeup and owned it. You can catch me on my #BaldHeadedCancerIsh now as I fight this cancer battle. This journey often leaves many scars, hair loss and other visible side effects are usually temporary. So, in this momentary transition I will cherish the body that I so harshly ridiculed before my diagnosis. It is hard looking in the mirror not recognizing yourself one day to the next, but I am so thankful for life and learning to love me more each day.
Apparently, everyone is infatuated with my new look except for the 5-year-old. He has made it very clear that mommy needs to wear a hat to help her hair grow back. I have had long, thick hair all my life until five months post-partum shedding prompted my first major cut four years ago. Since then I had grown it back and it was flourishing until -- Cancer. Going bald revealed a scalp that was about ten shades lighter than the rest of my body. The contrast was so startling a friend from work came to visit me the same day I cut it all. She exclaims, “Oh lovely! Look at your hair, it’s so pretty. Looking like Amber Rose.” I laughed and informed her that I did not have blonde hair and that was in fact my scalp color. I still appreciate the compliment, because who said we as women need hair to be beautiful.
I choose to be bald and happy! Much love to everyone going through the struggle of embracing their self-image whether it be due to a sickness or not.