Saturday, November 5, 2011

If you're gonna do it...

Throughout life, there are always choices we must make with reluctance.  Some of these are milestones, enough that we remember them for the rest of our lives.  Not always matters of conquering fear, or overcoming pain, but simply allowing change.  In my own life, I've had a tendency to resist these choices up until I'm really ready to do them.  Then I do the hell out of them. 

When I was a child, one night I spontaneously decided I didn't want a nightlight anymore.  It wasn't enough just to unplug the thing.  I went around my room eliminating all sources of light, no matter how dim.  Covering up clocks, making sure the windowshades were fully closed...  I even blocked the crack of light under my door with a shirt.  Then I slept.

As a teenager, my parents pushed me to get my driver's license as soon as I turned 16.  I didn't feel ready.  I hated driving, and was awful at it.  I failed the driving portion of the test three times before finally passing and receiving my license.  For the next two years, I didn't get behind the wheel once.  Then when I was 18, I needed to go somewhere with my parents and they told me I should drive.  They were astounded that somehow, with no practice and no training, I had suddenly become a good driver.  I was ready for it.

So last night, I stared at myself in my bathroom mirror, and concluded that I needed to shave.  My face, mind you, as I haven't had a beard since college.  Then I noticed that some of my hair had started to grow back (ironically, only directly around the scar on the side of my head), and that the two patches in front that I never lost were starting to grow back in.  I'd been trimming them close, so that I looked like I had a severely receding hairline rather than a patchy cancer-cut.  The rest of my hair had grown to be just over an inch long.  I took up my electric razor and I shaved those two parts back down to the skin, and looked myself over in the mirror again.  I held my hand along my hairline, so that I looked bald.  Didn't look too bad, so...

Hell with it.  Let's shave the bastard.

I started out with an electric trimmer I had purchased just for the purpose of evening things out over the course of my various hair-destroying treatments.  That gave me a close, military-style trim, a buzz cut really, a little shorter than it had been after I first returned to work back in early August.  One month's worth of growth, instead of the four it had been since my operation.  It wasn't close enough, though.  I could still see a distinct, sharp line between my head fuzz and the completely hairless patches left by the radiation.  I took up the electric razor again, and trimmed it as close as I had my face.  Now, my electric razor did not like this.  It's a waterproof dealie, which was very fortunate as I had to disassemble it and clean it three times to get it to finish the job, its three blade discs repeatedly clogging with hair.  I cleaned it, and I shaved my head right down to the skin, as close as I could get it without shaving cream and an actual razor blade.  It's still not perfect, and I can still see the break between "shaved" and "bald," but it's much more subtle now.  Enough that I could go without my bandana if I chose and I wouldn't feel too self-conscious about it. 

Unfortunately it's below freezing out today, and my head is really freaking cold if I leave it uncovered.  Guess it's the thought that counts.

When I was in high school I read a short story about a young woman who had dyed her hair green.  She did this because she had just been diagnosed with leukemia, and knew she would soon lose it, so she wanted to do something spontaneous and stupid and fun with it, to see it off.  As someone who had, before my own diagnosis, gone without a trim for half his life, I can see where that author was coming from.  Keeping my hair the same is no longer an option, so I am free to do anything.  In this case I really do have "nothing to lose."

And hey, if anyone out there knows a better way to get a closer shave, please do let me know.  Depending on how things fill back in, this might be my new look.

Nothing to report on the treatment front.  I'm on day 3 of 5 and feel just fine.  My headaches have faded in their frequency and (already low) intensity as my cold has cleared up, which is certainly a relief.  Just two more days and I'm done with my first cycle.  Piece of cake.  

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