Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 11:15, talks about a women’s long hair being her “crowning glory”, her “pride and joy” in the NLT translation, and her hair given to her by God as a covering. Proverbs 16:31 calls gray hair a crown of splendor, attained in the way of righteousness; Luke 12:7, says that the very hairs on our head are numbered by God. Lastly, King Solomon, in Song of Solomon 4:1, complimented his Beloved that her hair was “like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead”. I suppose, in that time, that was high praise indeed for a good head of hair! Not sure shampoo commercials in this day and age would agree…
Since the day I found out I would need chemotherapy to battle uterine cancer, I have known that my hair would fall out. Chemo drugs are powerful medications that attack rapidly growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, these drugs also attack other rapidly growing cells in your body — including those in your hair roots. For most women, this can be the most traumatic side effect caused by chemotherapy because hair makes up such an important part of a woman’s outward identity, closely linked with her self-esteem. According to one recent survey, women will spend close to $55,000 in a lifetime on hair products and treatments. I don’t know if I will spend that much money on my little “flock of goats” but I do know that I do spend an inordinate amount of time brushing, shearing, and pampering them! I guess it’s because I do spend such time fussing over my hair that I felt the loss profoundly when my hair fell out in 2001 after my first chemo treatment, and how I wept when I saw my hair fall out this time around too.
I thought I was more prepared this time. My daughters came with me wig shopping last week, and they selected a “sassy” look for me that is so different from my usual style and colour that I was instantly smitten by it. Still, we hoped that by some miracle, I would not need to wear it.
Over the weekend, and a very busy weekend it was too, my hair was still mostly intact but hanging on for dear life! I was blessed to be surrounded by my entire family on Saturday for a family dinner, and then on Sunday, I watched with delight as my youngest grandbaby, Atticus was dedicated to the Lord! Once again, the whole family gathered to support my son and daughter-in-love as they vowed to “train up Atti in the way he should go”. It was a glorious morning, followed by a wonderful BBQ with Atti’s maternal grandparents, great-grandparents and family. When I got home, I got out of my Sunday attire, and changed into my jeans and a t-shirt and noticed immediately that my hair had finally lost its grip on my scalp. I thought I was prepared for this eventuality, but it still came as a shock to see with every brush stroke, lengths of my hair pulled out with ease, thinning my mane considerably.
It was a tough day yesterday.
Today, however, I woke up and was determined to praise God in all circumstances even while my hair stylist, Bev, shaved my head bald. My oldest daughter had come with me for moral support and she tried to hold back tears but was unsuccessful. In a matter of minutes, my “crown of glory” was lying on the ground at our feet, and I was looking at a new reflection of myself in the mirror. Then we smiled.
I join the ranks of men and women who proudly wear the bald badge of courage as we fight the cancer battle. One day, God will bestow on me a new “crown of splendor”, a brand new head of hair, but more importantly I hope to attain a “crown of life” – referred to in James 1:12 & Revelation 2:10; bestowed upon “those who persevere under trials.”
Until then, my wig will have to do.