Wednesday, March 6, 2013

So, apparently being asked to shave my head is a trigger...

It's been forever since I've posted, but I figure, while lots of places on the Interwebs are not my blog, this IS my blog and I can put whatver I want whenever I want and be as self-indulgent as I want.

I got a hair cut today, I've been putting it off forever for no good reason, but got round to it today. This was also when I learnt about an insta-outrage button I didn't realise I had. I'm guessing because I've not encountered the level of presumptuousness that it took to press it.

My hair

I entered the budget hair cut place (I figure I want a trim, I don't need an ongoing relationship with a hairdresser for that, and if she messed up horribly I'd just get it trimmed again to be level). I enquired about the cut, got directed to a chair. I sat down, she walks over to me, picks up my hair and asks 'Have you considered getting it cut for World's Greatest Shave.'

I abruptly responded 'No'. In my opinion her question was rude and presumptuous. She looked at me as though I was the most selfish individual to ever wal gods green earth, so I followed it up with I had cancer when I was 21, and figure that's enough.' Afterwards I was overcharged for the cut so I can only assume I got charged a bitch tax. Whatever, I know where I'm not going again. 

I was outraged and it took me a few hours to work out why. It brought up memories of that time, and that time wasn't pleasent, and my biggest reminder that I've survived them and don't have to go back is my long hair. I posted my outrage on facebook, and was asked 'Did you really?' by a woman I went to school with and is now a hair dresser.

It's apparently my day to be asked rude and presumptuous questions by hairdressers. Who knew? Anyway I'm proud of my response and it was very difficult and led to tears to write out, so I wanted to spread it further. 

I'm not sure of the question. Did I really say what I claim to? or did I really have cancer?

Did I really say what I claim to? Yes, the question was rude and presumptuous and deserved to be treated as such.

Did I really have cancer? Also yes. 

I was diagnosed with Stage IIA Hodgkins Lymphoma early January 2003. Stage IIA means that I was mostly asymptomatic (if you can call sleeping for 14 hours a day asymptomatic), and the cancer had spread to two different areas, both on the same side of the diaphragm. In my case that was my neck and near my heart.

I underwent 4 months of fortnightly chemotherapy that damaged my lungs and was all round not fun at all. After that finished I had to stay in Sydney for three weeks to get daily (business days) radiotherapy to my throat and chest which combined had the outcome of making me unable to swallow without pain at the time (The inside of my throat essentially felt sunburnt), and has left me with a legacy of three tattooed dots across the top of my chest. 

Not to mention the legacy of a 1 in 4 chance of getting breast cancer before the age of 50. That's twelve times higher than the risk level of the general female population.

Out of all the unpleasant experiences that year, there are two that really stick out in my memory. The unquestionable single most horrible experience was a bone marrow biopsy taken. The second was losing my hair. 

While there's nothing like school for pointing out ones flaws and letting them know they're not beautiful, I felt then, and I still feel now, that my one beautiful feature is my hair and I cried when I lost it at the time, and grew it out again as soon as possible.
(badly pixilated image of me with short hair)

And anyone who wants to make me feel bad for not wanting to go through that again can go to hell.