Angels and Hairwaves

There were a couple of instances this weekend that I recall thinking, "I have to remember this moment." That, in and of itself was pretty cool, and as I feared I of course have forgotten a couple of said moments. At least for right now. As far as the ones I do remember, I suppose I had better write them down before I forget.

Angels. We were driving down to Tubac on Saturday morning. I'm pretty sure we were on our way out to Larry and Jan's as I think Greg and I were the only ones in the car. The new Jack Johnson album was playing, and I looked up into the sun directly to the south. It was shining brightly and seemed to have a unique glow around it. Perhaps it was the contrast of the cloudless sky. I found myself lost, all of the sudden, and while looking into the sun I had this vision of myself dancing. I had my arms in the air, and I was spinning, almost as if in slow motion - as if I were dancing in the rain - in white flowing clothing. The whole scene had this ethereal and peaceful, yet joyous quality. It could have been a couple of seconds or a couple of minutes later, but I found myself riding along, looking at the sun, and listening to Jack sing once again. I recall thinking that I wanted to remember that moment...

Hair. We were sushi rock stars this past Saturday. After a long day in Tubac and driving back and forth, we decided that sushi would be the ideal meal for the evening. We headed to Sakana, and it proved to be a fortuitous choice, because for some reason, we were treated like rock stars. As far as sushi bar rock stars go. The sushi chef that was attending to us noticed and commented on my Red Sox hat, and it was all smooth sailing from there. We got a fabulous plate of assorted sashimi including a bluefin toro and a fiji albacore that we might not have ordered otherwise. While waiting for our next ordered items, he handed us something... I still don't know what it was, but it was spicy and delicious, and on the house. After indulging on the rest of our ordered items, the waiter brought us a halved tangerine topped with whipped cream. They were all simple additions to an otherwise nice night, but they did not go unnoticed. Anyhow... somewhere between the unagi and the tangerines, I had the following hair-related thought: it's growing. We all know this, but I still find myself surprised when looking in the mirror that there seems to be more and more each day. To be expected, right? When I first shaved my head this time, I was very self-conscious, even when I still had the full complement of eyelashes. I felt, as I always have, that if nobody could see it, I could go on feeling strong as long as I looked strong. I equated the baldness with the outside world's perception of sickness. I know I've mentioned this before, and I also know that most of the time it's not quite accurate. After time, I learned to live with it, and while I was always covered up when out in the world, with the 3-Day being the exception, I struggled to come to terms with the fact that in my mind, baldness=sickness. Probably because back in December, I felt... sick. I kept going nonetheless, but I felt like I looked. Back to my original thought...these days, my strength is almost back and my hair is growing. I find myself not always wanting to be under a baseball cap because I find myself equating the re-growth of hair with healing and life. I realized that the fuzz signified strength to me and that if people were to see it, I assume they would perceive the same. Healing. Life. Coming out the other end of an ordeal, and still smiling. I am not embarrassed anymore, when people ask how my hair is growing, or when Greg tells me to show people my hair. I find myself whipping off my hat and proudly grinning. This doesn't mean that I'm waltzing around the office all fuzzy headed quite yet, but in a couple of weeks, I will be.

Aha! I remember another thought.
Mt. Whitney. Six months ago yesterday, I was standing on top of the world. My hair was still long, I was strong and unflappable, and I had accomplished something that not many people do - never mind the fact that it was two days after my second chemo treatment. I had no idea what I'd feel like 18 weeks from then, and it was the farthest thing from my mind. I wish I could have captured and bottled the feeling of standing up there, hugging Greg, and crying tears of elation and accomplishment. I remember holding the "Cancer Schmancer" sign he had made for me... stretching my arms out as far as they would go, feeling the wind at nearly 14,497' whipping through my hair, and knowing that there was no way in the world I was going to let the cancer get the best of me. I'm not sure I've ever felt that invincible, and while I know that invincible is just a feeling and not a reality, I knew at that moment that I was going to win, and that the person that hiked every step of the way beside me wouldn't let me down. These past six months haven't always been easy, but I've kept climbing uphill, even when I had to stop every three steps to catch my breath. Just over a month from today we'll be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and I'll see the Colorado River up close for the first time. I'll make it in, and I'll make it back out, and I can't wait. And I'll dip my toes into the frigid water and stand there proudly with my re-growth of hair, knowing that once again, I can conquer the uphill ahead of me. I'll probably cry, as I tend to do sometimes, and then I'll laugh, and together, we'll hike out to the rim with thoughts of the well-deserved beer waiting in the El Tovar Lodge at the other end.

Yet, lest I forget, always human.


    That angel you saw? Well, she is the one I sent to watch over you....and now she's watching your hair grow too! :)

    We need PICTURES!!!