So, you know that I have been a “shave-headed” pastor for quite some time. Frankly, as early as high school, the dreaded “widow’s peak” was showing up. As a high school actor, I tended to play the older roles. As a college actor, I played a pretty wide variety of roles, but they included some older guys and one or two really old guys. I could grow my hair out, comb in back to accentuate that ever-increasing widow’s peak and pull off a relatively convincing Educational Theater old guy!
Later, after we were married, I was standing in front of the nearly full-length mirror that was on the inside of our bedroom closet door one morning, tying my tie. The other closet door (The doors were hinged and not sliders and BOTH doors had mirrors on the inside) happened to be in exactly the right spot that allowed me a clear view of the back of my head- a place guys don’t see very often! Honey? I said. “Yes?” I have a pretty big…bald spot!” “Yes.” “Why didn’t you tell me?” Pause. “Would it have helped?!” Good point!
That started a growing acceptance of male-pattern baldness. I began to get my hair cut shorter and shorter because I REFUSED to do the ill-fated “comb-over”! Eventually, in about 2004, I went to full-out shaved head and haven’t looked back since!
On the other hand, I have had facial hair, of some sort, my whole adult life. That is, until chemo and radiation! The radiation, target as it was to my neck, made all the beard hair that grew there (and drove me crazy!) fall out. And I do mean ALL. The chemo made the rest of my facial hair, including my eyebrows, slowly fall out. I kept slowly trimming away more and more of the facial hair until I finally shaved the last of it off. There I was- no hair on my head or face and no eyebrows. (I even lost a lot of body fair…and I had a LOT to lose!)
The upside to losing the eyebrows was that, for my entire life (no exaggeration), my eyebrows were so light that they were hard to even see. So, losing them wasn’t much of a big deal. The lack of facial hair was WAY more noticeable. But I have now gone 3½ months without chemo- hard to believe but it’s true. My last “dose” was on October 17. And apparently my body has been trying to heal and return to some sense of normalcy with the absence of the regular infusion of poison into it. About a month ago, hair started to grow back- my beard, mustache and eyebrows all started to “peek out through the snow”! The growth was slow- nearly glacial. But it WAS happening.
And then, almost overnight, it started REALLY coming back. The beard came back fast, full and in some parts of my face darker while we were in Orlando. (Maybe all that good Florida sun!) I went from not having to shave and having a BIT of a 5 o’clock shadow to needing to trim down the “Duck Dynasty” look in about 10 days! Not gonna lie- I am glad to have facial hair again, even if it’s only temporary…until we have to start the inevitable chemo again.
But the big surprise has been the eyebrows! They not only have come back in full and strong- they have come back in NOTICEABLY darker. NOTICEABLY. They are literally darker than they have EVER been…in my entire life. I suddenly have eyebrows that some women pay big bucks to get. I mean, I’m starting to lean just a BIT toward the whole “Groucho Marx paint them on with a black grease pencil”!
In the midst of the uncertainty of the cancer diagnosis and treatment- it DOES hang over you, like a fog, no matter WHAT you do- it has made me chuckle a bit and marvel a lot about the regrowth of hair! I’m not naïve enough to think it will all fall out again here before too long. But I’m enjoying it while it’s here!
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