From family and friends to incoming Bed & Breakfast guests I'm meeting for the first time, all seemed to have the same response to knowing that I had Cancer... "You look GREAT!" Apparently, Cancer makes you look good.
Here's what I've learned:
1) My hair fell out in clumps. Early in chemo, I'd touch my head and come away with a handful of hair. It was a big risk running a B&B, preparing food, etc., so after a few days we shaved my head. Family and friends gave me beautiful scarves to wear. It's kind of fun choosing a hat and a wig when you have the help of your 13-year-old daughter and a good friend who is a hairdresser. I tried on only a few wigs, because we all chose our favorite early on. It was medium blond with chin-length hair. And it made me look good.
2) I have a great head shape for being bald. No bumps, no discolorations, just a nice round bald head. Apparently I wear it well. After trying the wig and wearing some beautiful scarves, I decided during the heat of the summer that I was more comfortable bald. And nobody cared. Nobody stared. No children pointed. Only one child asked a question, very politely, and I was pleased to answer her. Apparently bald IS beautiful. And perfectly acceptable for a woman of a certain age.
3) While chemotherapy was wiping out about everything - good and bad - my skin never looked better. Go figure! I saw my nephew, an international businessman, for the first time in quite a while, and the one thing he couldn't get over was how nice my skin looked!
4) Although I would never recommend it, the chemotherapy diet is very effective. While I was on chemo nothing tasted good - not even chocolate! I wasn't hungry. A long time "foodie," I didn't even want to look at food. I lost weight without even trying. And that weight loss makes me look good.
5) After growing up with a despised Pixie haircut I am now happily heading back to that style. What goes around comes around. My hair is growing back in, slowly but surely. Although I really don't like my short spikey hair, I'm thankful that I have hair. And I'm right in style. It's all the rage. Who knew that after years of totally ignoring the current styles, I'm finally "on trend!"
I've often chuckled to myself after people looked me straight in the eye, even when I was at my worst, saying, "You look good!" Now that I've had time to ponder it, I think that it's really secret code for, "I'm glad you're still here." Friends and family have eyes that are blinded by love. My tired eyes, skin pallor, ill-fitting clothes... none of these mattered. I had Cancer, but I was alive. And to them I looked good.