I'd planned the date before I knew Hodgkin's disease was going to be part of my life and that the date would happen to fall on a post-chemo weekend, but that was surmountable. Rachel is one of the most amazing women I know and no stupid cancer was going to stop me from helping to show her (and her baby boy or girl to come) how much they are loved. Luckily, having been with Craig for nearly 10 years, I feel very at ease and comfortable with my "second family" and have to say how impressive they are about getting things done. I needed salads and desserts. With the ease of a phone call, aunts and cousins were there with arms full of both and close friends were there helping to set-up, break-down and concoct the all-important Sangria.
Everything went as planned. Rachel looked radiant. All-in-all it was a very good time and so nice to see all of these amazing women (and three very cute babies) in one room. Cancer was all but forgotten, except for my bald head.
It was the first day out of the confines of my house without some kind of hat, bandana or scarf hiding my baldness. It was a decision driven both by fashion and comfort. Comfort in that I knew I couldn't find myself in a more accepting environment. A baby shower full of women was a place where I could show I was embracing my new look without fear of consequence. Fashion in the sense that I wanted to wear this certain black-and-white dress and I didn't have a scarf to go with it. The only black one that I had just wouldn't tie right without looking like a do-rag. No offense to anyone that wears a do-rag but on a little, white girl it just looks obnoxious. So I decided to don cute earrings, pump up the mascara and free-head it.
Before the safety of the shower environment we ran some last-minute errands to the grocery store, the bakery, the dump and no one looked at me funny. No one laughed. No one really reacted at all. Or if they did, I guess I chose not to notice. I felt comfortable and confident knowing that I wasn't going to let cancer ruin a good outfit day by forcing an uncomplimentary accessory.
From now on if I'm going to cover my head it's because I have the perfect, fabulous scarf to match my outfit or the cutest hat to keep my scalp from frying in the sun. Not because I am ashamed of having lost my hair or because I am trying to hide my status as a cancer patient. If anything I want people to know. I want people to see that I have cancer but I'm out running errands, planning parties, taking walks just like anybody else. That cancer does not define me, but that I now define my life around it by making the most of every moment.