Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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June 25, 2012

A woman being bald is a multi-faceted condition

Athens — Losing your hair is not the worse thing during chemo. My two friends, who are currently receiving chemotherapy treatment for their cancer, have recently had to have their heads shaved.

I remember what that was like. A hard decision, but when it started falling out, it has to go.

It brought back memories of my own treatment for breast cancer.

A woman's hair sometimes can be her identity. Me not so much. My hair has never been my best attribute.  It was thin and never really had a good style.

Men don't seem to have the same problem. When they are bald, most people just think their hairstyle of-choice is bald.

The problem was I did not look good bald. My sister, when she was fighting for her life, the worse thing that happened to her, was to lose her hair. And she was a very pretty bald woman.

I haven't seen Nita or Debbie bald, but I know they could not look worse that I did. I did see a picture of Debbie bald. She has a pretty head. Lucky girl.

I didn't mind the hair loss, I just hated the wigs.

I never went out in public without my wig. I never wore my wig at home. Jackie, my husband, told everyone I looked like Yul Brenner.  Not an attractive look.

I do wish in retrospect that I had taken pictures of me when I was bald, just so I could remember.

My friend Nita didn't think her hair would fall out. The doctor assured her it would. And it did.

When you lose your hair, it's like telling the world I have cancer.  Not that you shouldn't let people know, but the hair loss is a sign you are sick, even when you don't feel sick.

The problem I see with hair loss is that when it starts to grow back, at what point do you stop wearing the wig?

My sister was walking in downtown Dallas without her wig, when an older gentleman passed her on the sidewalk, and said, "I bet you really hate the barber who gave you that haircut."

We couldn't help but laugh. All she said was, "Yes, sir."

I stopped wearing my wig in August. It was so hot. My head would sweat all day.  My hair was barely growing. I had enough of the wig. I had been wearing the wig since December. I just didn't want it any more.

The first day I got brave enough not to wear the wig, I had to go to a business open house. No one there had ever seen me with this short of hair. I just assumed everyone knew I had been going through chemotherapy.

Don't ever assume anything. You just could be wrong.

I was standing in a group of people. The man standing next to me said, "Kathi, you got a nice short haircut for the summer."

I explained I had just finished chemo, and my hair was growing back. His response: "Yeah, right."

This nice man did not know I was being treated for cancer. No fault of his own. I felt kind of bad, when I had to assure him I would never wear my hair this short.

When life gets tough, the tough should just laugh. Laughter is your best medicine when you have an illness you have no control over.

Both my friends, Nita and Debbie, can laugh at themselves. The two women will come out on top, because they have the right spirit.

The good side of it is everyone will tell you when your hair grows back, it will be so much prettier. Normally, you will have thicker hair, or maybe more curly hair. Again, not me. If anything, my hair is more thin now than before my treatment.

Next time you meet someone with a bald head, don't feel sorry for them. The hair will grow back. What's important is that they survive the disease.

On a side note  ...It's summer and it's hot.  Children are still dying in hot cars. Don't forget your little babies riding in their car seat, in the backseat.

It is so easy to forget you have a baby when that child sleeps while riding.

Every year, children die accidentally, because they are left in hot cars. Don't let this year be another one of those years.

The same goes for your animals. It is way too hot to leave them in a car with all the windows rolled up.

Babies and animals depend on us for their survival.  Let's make sure the heat doesn't kill them.

Kathi Nailling is a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

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