Last week was our last session. The central subjects were Intimacy and Relationships and Our Goals.
The first part was covered by the same lady we had the previous week on Adapting/Adjusting. It was centred on the psychology again but of relationships. Although a difficult subject for us all, it was met with a relaxed attitude. I think a couple of the older ladies in the group might have been a little uncomfortable with all the talk about sex and desire (or lack thereof), although it wasn’t just about that. I think I was the only single woman in that group so my worries were very different from theirs. What did transpire is that I am not over the fact that my hair is not what it used to be and that I resent a bit people who keep telling me I look great or that my hair looks great.
However great my hair looks now, it is not the hair that I had before my cancer. I was proud of my hair then and I liked the way I looked. I am not used yet to the way I look now and I still don’t like it. As I said to them it took me 30 years to be happy with the way I look and have the confidence to not care about what people thought…I feel I have gone backwards. I am not as insecure as I was when in my 20s but I am not 100%. I can’t see myself trying to get a date for example. How could a guy find me attractive when I don’t like the way I look?
It was lovely to have people around who understood…my friends and family, they don’t really. They act like I should be grateful that I am ok and that my hair is growing back…and don’t get me wrong, I am. I am very grateful that my cancer was relatively minor and that I went through it relatively unscathed (for now), I am grateful that I am not bold anymore…but just because you are grateful that things aren’t worse doesn’t mean you have to be happy with the way things are…things can always be worse.
I realised that I have to let myself grieve for the person I was as even though some parts of her are still there, the sum of all is not. I don’t have to start from scratch but I can’t pretend that it’s all the same, that I can pick up things where I left of. We all have our cross to bear with the aftermath and already being in a relationship doesn’t make it any easier.
I know that I am stronger than I could possibly imagine but sometimes you have to allow yourself to be weak. It’s ok to be upset, it’s ok to not be happy with my hair, it’s ok to be angry…just don’t let it be the only thing that define you…
Most of my unhappiness with my hair is due to lack of control. I am not controlling what’s happening to it and I am someone who feels very insecure if I don’t have control and I couldn’t figure out a way that I could get it back…until one of the girls said: what don’t you colour it? Because I was told I can’t for 6 months to a year after end of chemo, I was told….Nonsense, she said, my oncologist told me that if it made me feel better, to go for it. So I had my hair done 2 days later! You can use chemical free colours for it….
This was a revelation! I may not be able to do anything about the curl for now, but I don’t have to stay grey! Woohoo!
One of the ladies recommended colours from Daniel Field. He developed them as he or his wife had cancer too. They are water based colours and although a little more expensive than your usual L’Oreal, still affordable. I ordered a bottle as soon as I got back to my desk as I was due to attend my friend’s hen party that weekend and I thought it would be good to trial it before her wedding (in 3 weeks)… Holland & Barretts also has a range of chemical free hair dye called Naturetint but I haven’t tried them yet.
I went for a shade lighter than I would normally do as I wasn’t sure how it would behave. It hasn’t covered all my greys but it works by giving the impression the greys are highlights…It’s more fiddly than the pre-mixed stuff you buy at Boots as it comes in a powder and you have to mix it with water and it takes longer to develop but overall, I am happy. I got some control back and I had a great time at my friend’s hen night, even flirted a bit…. I may not be back to how I was, but I am starting to like the new me… Tadda!
At the end, we all decided to go for lunch together. That last session, we shared a lot more about ourselves than the weeks before…I have also been put in charge of organising a Christmas lunch. They figured quickly where my strengths lie 🙂