Embracing Grey Hair

Catherine’s Adventure: 

Embracing my new post-chemo soft, curly and stunningly silver..ok maybe gray hair.. No more hair dyes for me. 

Why was this important to you? 

For me, it was important to acknowledge that I made it through chemo and radiation therapy. Yes, things happened to my hair, but I was proud to be a survivor.  It gave me strength to embrace the new me.

What was the risk for you – what worried you about going forward?

My friends supported me throughout my journey. They saw me with my wig or with a hat, they saw my peach fuzz turn into hair. The risk for me was my work colleagues who never saw me once during that time and what would they think. I still had that sense that as a woman gray hair signifies someone considerably older than me. (I just turned 55)

How did you overcome the worry (emotionally)?

I became proud of going through treatment and that I was a stronger person to do so. I also loved how soft my hair was and wondered what hair dye chemicals would do to my lovely downy hair. I had a fear that people wouldn’t recognize me (some didn’t and that was kind of funny). I also feared comments from people that didn’t know about my journey, but that inner strength came through.

How did you physically decrease the risk (as opposed to overcoming it emotionally)?

As my hair grew, the wig was not comfortable. I wore hats and started slowly by taking them off for longer amounts of time. In social settings, the hat would come off until I got cold and on it went. I quietly did that and took baby steps to become comfortable. People commented on how nice my hair was and that was an affirmation that all is well. I see it also as being a public statement of being a survivor of cancer especially with extremely short hair. I became a stronger woman, ready to confront anyone who might say – dye your hair!

What did you gain from the experience?

The knowledge that I am strong. I can do things I never thought I could. I never considered not to dye my hair prior to this.

Was there a downside? (it might not be the thing you worried about)

My wig looked like my hair so I could easily do things and not be a topic of conversation. I didn’t tell people and they never knew what I was going through. Then when I took the wig off – there was this short gray hair. I never thought about that change when I started this journey.

What should you have done differently, if anything?

I might have worn hats more in public, but I just wanted to go out of the house looking like I wasn’t undergoing treatment.

Would you do it again?

Yes – I won’t dye my hair. I love the wackiness of the curls.

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