Wake up you sleepy head
Put on some clothes, shake up your bed
Put another log on the fire for me
I’ve made some breakfast and coffee
Look out my window and what do I see
A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me
All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh You Pretty Things. David Bowie
My hair has started to fall out.
Its timing is immaculate. They told me at Chemo:101, that this usually happens at about the three week mark, and sure enough, just a couple of days shy of the end of my first 21 day cycle, it has indeed come to pass.
I actually was beginning to think that I might have dodged this particular folicular bullet. In fact, I have to admit to recently having harbored a quiet, but growing feeling of invincibility. In almost all other respects, these chemo drugs that everyone makes such a song and dance about, seem to be just bouncing off me. Perhaps I am somehow immune to their charms. Perhaps, like Keith Richards and Bruce Forsythe, I just can’t be killed by conventional weapons.
Yes that must be it. I’m some kind of modern medical miracle. The first of a new breed. Homo-Superior.
So. In spite of me making light of the whole hair-loss thing since day one of this little adventure, now it’s actually happening, I’m surprised to find myself quite upset. Shocked even.
I still don’t think it’s a vanity thing. Not in the obvious sense anyway. I mean, I’m not going to get all self-conscious about being a slap-head. A chrome-dome. It might even look quite cool in a Yul Brynner sort of a way. It’s hard to say at this point. I might turn out to have one of those perfectly formed craniums. Like Shinead O’Connor, or it might look like an old potato that’s been kicked around the market car-park. It will all become clear in a week or two, at the great unveiling.
I’ve always been a little mystified about why some men get so knotted up about the whole baldness thing. What is it that drives them to invest small fortunes in guaranteed not to work snake-oil cures, Toupées, hair transplants (I wonder where they transplant it from. Do they use your short-and-currlies?), and that most tragic and absurd of all male vanities, the comb-over. No definitely not for me. I’ve kept my hair quite short for years now, so an extra couple of millimeters less isn’t going to make a huge difference is it?
So why do I find myself mourning this morning?
On reflection, It’s not because I’m worried about looking different. It’s actually just the opposite. I’m upset because it turns out I’m just like everyone else after all. I’m not the exception that proves the rule. Not special in any way. Just another cancer victim who people will spot in the street, or on the bus, nudge and nod at, whisper about, toss a sympathetic smile towards. I might as well have it tattooed across my forehead.
V. I. C. T. I. M.
That’s why I’m sad this morning.