New Hair, New Perspective

Cancer Blogs, Inspirations — By on June 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I had a great dream the other night.  I dreamed that my hair had grown back and it looked really beautiful (I just finished 4 months of chemotherapy) .

In the dream my hair was the same brownish tone I’ve always had, and yet the texture was different.  It now was straight, more course and thick than my hair typically is – I’ve always had fine, curly hair.  Another new feature was bangs – I’ve never worn bangs with my real hair, but the wig I wore had very stylish bangs.

I awoke from this dream feeling very excited, as I saw this as an omen that my hair will be growing in soon.  But while playing around with the images of the dream, it occurred to me that perhaps the dream represents growth of another kind as well.

Going through the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer has really changed me from the inside out, and at this point it seems virtually impossible to return to life as it was before.  At moments this causes me considerable sadness and anxiety, because I now live with a heightened sense of uncertainty that I suppose I didn’t have before.  But life is uncertain – for everyone, no matter what the circumstances.  Coming to terms with that reality has a good side as well.

I am far less prone to take anything for granted – my health, my children, family, friends are the obvious examples that come to mind.  But even in the small daily ways, I have learned to savor life more.  I find myself thrilled when I am able to walk down the street at a rapid pace, enjoying all the sights and sounds around me, and not feeling deeply fatigued and out of breath by the effort, because I know what it feels like to be in the lethargic fog of chemotherapy.  And I remember vividly that only 6 months ago I was barely able to walk up and down the halls of my apartment building following the extensive reconstructive surgery I had.

Such experiences have helped me put so many unimportant matters into perspective.   These days it’s hard to get too worked up over the size of my thighs (a lifelong obsession, I must confess!),  being a few minutes late to an appointment or discovering new scratches on the coffee table that the kids made.  That’s new perspective for me.  As I move on, I don’t want to slip back into automatic, mindless behavior and attitudes.  I’d like to think that, at least some of the time, I will be carrying forward the lessons I’ve learned.

So getting back to the dream – like the hair color, my essential self has not been changed by this cancer experience, and yet because of the cancer, my life has taken on a new texture and dimension, a different quality of being in the world.  And just because my hair grows back, it doesn’t mean I have to go back to the way things were before.  I can still wear colorful scarves and bangs to remind me of where I’ve been along the journey.

    1 Comment

  • Cori Thomas says:

    I know your new hair is coming soon and whether it looks like the old or is a whole new thing, I know it will be beautiful. Thank you for these postings. Will read them as long as you post them.

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