Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

This is the wig I chose!

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll braid my hair today.’ 
So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror
and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
‘H-M-M,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.’ 
So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed
that she had only one hair on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘today I’m going to wear my hair in a pony tail.’ 
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and
noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. 
‘YAY!’ she exclaimed. ‘I don’t have to fix my hair today!’

Attitude is everything.  

I took this attitude with me a few days ago when I went shopping for a cranial prosthetic, an official term used by the insurance companies for a wig.  I carried this attitude with me again on Friday when I had outpatient surgery to have a portacath surgically implanted in my chest.  And again this Saturday when water was pouring from my walls in the dining room from a main pipe leak.  There will always be trying times in our life, some harder than others but the secret is a good attitude, always seeing the bright side of life. 

Even when things don’t seem so bright, like the risks involved in surgically implanting the portacath, I was somehow able to laugh and make others laugh.  The port is used to administer the chemo.  As the doctors operated only centimeters from my heart, punching a hole in my jugular to insert the catheter, with the risk of heart failure, lungs collapsing, possible rejection of a foreign object and infection, I woke up and began chatting with the doctors during the procedure.  I remember my nurse, Alex, mentioning that his favorite band was Placebo.  I perked up and stopped snoring for a minute to yell out “Meds”.  The doctor thought I needed more medication but I was trying to tell them that “Meds” is my favorite Placebo song.  All of the nurses and doctor’s cracked up.  Once calm was restored, the doctor told Alex to give me some more meds.  Guess I was a bit too awake for their liking or they just wanted to shut me up.  Either way, finding humor in the absurd, the good in the bad, and meaning in the ridiculousness, keeps me smiling when I should be crying and sane when things are insane. 

Losing my hair is insane and makes me want to cry.  It is a side effect of chemo that most women fear.  My doctor told me that my hair will fall out after the second chemo session.  I have decided to shave it first, before painfully watching my hair fall out in clumps.  I don’t want to shave my hair.  I love my hair.  It’s soft, sexy, and feminine.  And, like my breast it makes boys stop in their tracks.  I love to twirl my hair around my finger, brush it, bounce it and flirt with it.  And when my man runs his fingers through the long silky strands, I feel loved and safe.  Short, long, thin, thick, curly, straight, red, blonde or brunette, hair makes a statement like flappers and bobbed hair, hippies and long hair, Rastafarians and dreadlocks, punkers and Mohawks, skinheads and shaved heads, rednecks and mullets, breast cancer and wigs.

Yes, wigs!  I went shopping for a wig with my friends Raundi and Isis last week.  I needed a second and third opinion.  Purchasing a cranial prosthetic is not the same as going to get a haircut.  If it’s a bad cut, it will not grow back.  The wig I decided to purchase is made of human hair.  The cost is exorbitant, more than most people’s monthly mortgage.  It is strange to me that I will be wearing another woman’s hair, and it is ironic that I will be shaving my head and donating my hair for someone else to wear.  The whole idea is very surreal and a bit weird.  But, I can go through the wig shopping experience kicking and screaming or I can take a deep breath and make a day of it which is exactly what I did.  Raundi took pictures while I had fun trying on lots of different wigs, seeing myself in a different light, in new skin if you will.  So don’t be surprised if I show up at your door someday as a blonde.  Could be a lot of fun.  My mom used to wear wigs back in the day and she told me that a few people thought my dad had a girlfriend. 

 

It’s just hair, or is it?  Doesn’t matter, what truly matters is my attitude about it.  So I am learning to take things in stride, accept the weirdness and make the best of a situation.  For example, did you know that the plastic surgeon used a piece of cadaver skin on the reconstruction of my breast?  Yes, cadaver skin!   A piece of skin from a perfectly dead stranger has been implanted in my breast.  They used to use pig skin a few years back so I guess I should be grateful.  I typically would spend hours trying to learn everything I could about cadaver skin, pig skin, etc, but I have since learned that there is no point in wasting energy trying to comprehend every little detail.  I am learning to accept the fact that some things are just simply bizarre and I will leave it to the experts, let it go and simply be grateful, a huge colossal lesson for me.   

Honestly, I find that I am truly grateful for the person that donated her skin for my breast, appreciative of the technology we have for a portacath, thankful that there is a treatment for breast cancer and indebted to the men and women that gave up their hair for me.  These are all gifts from caring and dedicated people that will increase both the longevity and the quality of my life and give me some sense of normalcy in these crazy times. 

And, I will no longer have to spend time washing, blow drying and curling my hair every day.  No more shaving or waxing or plucking either.  No more pesky chin hairs.  No more razor burn.  See, there is always a bright side to everything.  Attitude!  Attitude!  Attitude!  For you Monty Python fans, remember the last scene in “The Life of Brian”?  The guys were nailed to a cross, vultures hungrily standing by waiting for them to die as they were happily singing a little ditty, “Always look on the bright side of life”.  If you haven’t seen it rent it today.  It will make you laugh, lift your spirits, and help you to find the humor in the absurd.  I would not want to go through life any other way. 

I will leave you all with the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

 

Tomorrow at 9:00 am, my first dose of chemo will be administered.  I plan to be singing!

Thank you Aunt Marilyn, for sharing the “Attitude” story with me.

7 Responses to “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

  1. Sonya Says:

    Well, I don’t know how you will choose since you look utterly fabulous in every single one.

  2. John Alvarado Says:

    I love the wig you picked, but Wow, you look great in all those wigs! I think it’s your great smile and your attitude shining through. Everything else is icing on the cake! XOXO

  3. Stacy Says:

    Deanne,
    Bravo to you and to your ATTITUDE! I may need to read and reread this to stay on track w/my own attitude now…losing mom is going to rock my world – mainly b/c she was my ROCK! And what a rock she was! But for you, tomorrow, I will be sending out good thoughts and positive energy while you take the next BIG step in your battle! I love you!
    xo
    Stacy

  4. Deanne Says:

    My heart goes out to you Stacy. I am going to miss your mom. She was one strong lady and you are too! I love you too girl!
    XO back at ya.
    Deanne

  5. Aunt Marilyn Says:

    Keep that wonderful “attitude” Honey, you are amazing.
    The afgan, with a prayer in every stitch, is in the mail. Enjoy it and snuggle in its warmth
    whenever you need a hug. Love you bunches.
    Aunt Marilyn

  6. clare Says:

    Deanne
    At last I can read your blog in the Galapagos, where every shop emblazoned with boobie T-shirts reminds me of you.
    My eyes didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You look so stunning in all those wigs. I wish you could buy them all. It is so moving to think of all the unseen kindnesses of strangers in our life village. I love to think of someone else inheriting your own sexy hair, too.
    You are totally fabulous. I hope the chemo is not as bad as you fear and that you can get out and about in your new persona.
    Huge hugs and mountains of love
    Clare

  7. Debi Says:

    OMG Chica – you look amazing in all of those hairstyles…!! So wish I could have been there :) Tight but gentle hugs coming your way. Love you my Daisy!

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