I've made a lot of friends online who are going through breast cancer at the same time as I am. Many are on the same chemo drugs I am, and nearly the same schedule. It is a fantastic place to learn about treatments, side effects, research, etc. These women have been great for me, even when we're all just complaining to each other. I feel a lot less guilt when I complain about a side effect to someone else going through it, instead of to the people who have to live with me.
While having a discussion with these ladies recently, I revealed another one of the 10,000 things that I hate about cancer. Now that I've lost my hair, I've lost my anonymity. Before the hair went, I could go out in public and blend in as just another woman in the store. Now, I'm the sick woman. Yesterday, during lunch, I told my friend that I hated looking sick. She said that I didn't look sick to her. What I meant, though, was the obvious lack of hair.
I just can't bring myself to wear a wig. That is my choice, and I get that. I am much more comfortable in a hat, buff or a bandanna, although they make it obvious that I have no hair underneath. Everywhere I go, it's apparent that I have no hair, and the assumption is made that I am going through chemotherapy. That brings one of two reactions: I get the "pity look," or the instant gaze aversion.
I'm doing fine. I'm getting through it. I'll be halfway through chemo after Wednesday. Having no hair has cut my shower time by more than half. There are little silver linings everywhere. I just miss blending in. I miss being just another mom, shopping for toilet paper.
Although I cannot wait until a year from now when I have the reconstructive surgery and this is all behind me, I mostly want chemo to end so my hair can come back, so I can be just another face in the crowd. When the pity looks and averted looks stop. Yup. Give me back my anonymity.