Today I went to school for the first time topless…actually wig-less. I have been waiting because I wanted my hair to be longer and more filled in. I also wasn’t sure I could handle the blunt honest comments that were sure to come my way. Kids can be brutal without meaning to. But it has gotten hot with two layers of hair so, I decided today was the day.
The kids were surprised. Some said I did not look like Mrs. Gunnin. Boys with newly shaved spring haircuts thought it was cool that I had one too. One boy wanted to know why I got my haircut. It told him I did not get it cut…it just fell out. That got their attention. I told them my story in kid terms, and they were completely sympathetic. They asked good questions and some of them were tough. “Does cancer hurt?” “How do you know if you get it?” “What does it feel like when all your hair comes out?” “How do they know if the medicine you get will make you well?” On and on they went.
Because we are currently raising money for Relay for Life, I made myself available to the teachers to come and talk about cancer. I had the opportunity to share with 8 classes today! It was an amazing thing to be able to help kids understand the disease they hear about all the time. They had so many questions and almost every one of them knew someone with cancer. We talked about side-affects, low blood counts, surgery, lifestyles, hair loss, chemotherapy, shots, and a host of other related topics.
My teacher friends were all supportive, many said I looked “chic.” I think by coming out with it everyone was proud of me. They felt my victory and saw it in my eyes as I talked openly. It made others more comfortable with asking me about my journey.
I must say that something in me changed a little more today. When my head was first shaved, I hated it. I did not like the way it looked. I felt bad about my appearance. My trip to the mall with Bill to buy clothes ended in a melt down because of what I saw in the mirror. At church on Easter, I cannot describe it but something changed…in my view of myself. I think that God made it clear to me that he thinks I am beautiful. What changed that day was that I received that into my heart. Being stripped of all human beauty has been a part of living in Cancerland. Yet, in the midst of the ugliness of the disease, I found beauty. Today I was uncomfortable with the stares, but I held my head high. My eyes stand out, and I have found that people look me in the eye more now. I smiled at people, because I am beautiful. I do not know it just because God says it…I feel it now.