I should have known not to title my blog The Redhead Report. Those kinds of declarations always tend to bite me in the butt. My high school friends remember us making fun of the word “tuuuumor” a week before I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma; I teased my dad for his shoddy hearing before my Cisplatin-induced tinnitus left me more in need of a megaphone than he; I immaturely satirized the Red Cross poster in the hallway across from the gym – the one with the little girl saying, “Are You The One Who Saved My Life?” – until I needed dozens of blood transfusions myself.
But my hair, really? I’ve never made fun of my hair. No, I was always defending it from “fire-this” and “ginger-that.” I had to overcome Carrot Top and Lindsay Lohan as my only contemporaries. I’ve earned my redhead badge of honor. This cancer is going to give it to me where it really hurts.
I’ve grown a paltry 2×2 square inch patch of puce-ish fuzz on the left upper quadrant of my head. That’s it – besides leg hair, of course. We’re talking about the need for a seriously creative multi-comb-over here. I won’t even call it hair because it’s clearly not. I suspect if I slept differently, I’d have this fuzz growing on the back of my head too, but any fuzz that falls out just by rubbing on a pillow doesn’t even deserve a hairy appellation.
I’m sure many of you are sending encouragement: “Just give it time – it will grow back!” Well, I have given it time. It’s been four months since chemo. I’ve consulted the pictures, and chemo the first time around only kept my red hair away for a month before it was resurrected. Yes, I realize this round of chemo was more severe, but it’s not looking promising.
You know it’s bad when you ask your doctors if some people’s hair doesn’t grow back and they respond with some version of, “What are you talking about? Your hair is growing back! I see it!”
If this is what I have to look forward to, we have a problem. A freckle face doesn’t go with anything else.
If you care more about my health more than my vanity, you’re in for fairish news. I have some newfangled virus but this time my immune system is trying to kill it to some avail. The virus’ copy levels (measure of how it’s replicating in my blood) are going down routinely, but they’re not zero yet. My doctors are monitoring it closely, sending me on all sorts of merry road trips to Mayo.
Let’s just hope my probably blonde- or brown-haired donor’s immune system isn’t mistaking redheadism for a virus to be rid of too.
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