Monday, March 11, 2013


Me With  Short Hair - Tremblant, Fall 2006

A couple of weeks after my first chemo treatment was the trip to Mont Tremblant with the FPU (my girlfriends from high school) that I had been looking forward to for weeks.  The planning for this had started months ago and as you might imagine it took quite awhile to nail down a date that all nine girls were available and then to decide where we would go.  In the past we have done some fun weekends away including a trip to New York City where we stayed in the youth hostel (all in one room), a houseboat on the Rideau Lakes that we all slept on for four days and trips to various cottages.  This was a big year however because it was 2006 and most of us turned the big 4-0 this year.  We really wanted to celebrate this and mark it with something fun so we had rented a beautiful chalet that we would all share.  After the cancer diagnosis, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the trip but the timing actually worked out very well.

My friend Trish flew to Ottawa and her and I drove together to Mont Tremblant in Quebec.  Along the way we talked about the stupid cancer and then she told me that she felt helpless and that she wanted to do something for me.  She felt like she was so far away (geographically) and wanted to know what I needed.  I told her that I just needed her to be my friend.  I told her that I might need to call her more often.  I told her that I might need her to listen more often.  I told her that I really didn’t even know what I needed but that her friendship was something that I needed to be able to count on.  It occurred to me that many people were feeling like that.  They didn’t know what to do or say or how to act or anything.  Plus I’m not the type to ask for help.  I’m told that I can be very stubborn but I guess I just don’t want to bother anyone with my problems and I just deal with things myself.  And I have Mike.  Perhaps I needed to think about how to let others in a little bit more.

Trish & I - Tremblant, Fall 2006
On the second day of our little getaway I was in the bathroom with one of the girls and we were getting ready in the morning.  I put some gel in my now very short hair and when I took my hands away from my head they were covered in hair!  My friend just stared at my hands.  I pulled at my hair and it just came out without the usual pulling feeling.  It simply came out.  I couldn’t even feel it coming out.  The first thing I thought was, “Wow – the chemo is working!!!”  The first thing my friend thought was, “Holy shit your hair is falling out!!!”  So I guess that was my second thought.  I knew it was going to happen but until I saw it with my own eyes it was hard to imagine. 

That day we all went to the Scandinavian Spa and had massages.  I was really enjoying my massage until the end when the masseur started to massage my head.  I freaked and sat up and just yelled at the poor guy, “Oh my God don’t touch my head!”  I was sure he was going to be covered in hair and I was feeling pretty wierded out by that.  I imagine he was kinda freaked out by my reaction too.  Must have thought I was a lunatic.  Anyway, he was really good about it and in fact invited me to come back for a complete head massage once I was totally bald.  That sounded pretty good.
Spa Scandinave - Mont Tremblant, Quebec
 After the massages, we all went outside to enjoy the hot tubs and other relaxation facilities like the saunas and steam rooms.  One of the hot tub pools had a waterfall that you could sit under.  That made me feel kind of self conscious about my hair as well.  I could see that any pressure (like the water falling on me) would take out some more hair.  I was sure that the pool and drains were going to be completely clogged up with my hair and they’d have to shut everything down.  How embarrassing.  I was imagining all the bathers pointing at me accusingly, “It’s HER fault!” they would say and I would be sitting there all alone with one half of my head all bald and the other just kind of patchy and strange looking.  Sometimes my imagination goes a bit off on its own.  I know that. After all it’s my imagination and I’ve had it my whole life.  I was glad to get out of there.

It started hitting me that I was actually going to go bald.  Very soon.

Whip My Hair - Willow Smith

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