photo: Me and my sisters Linda (l) & Amy (r)
I had no idea how much my image played a part in who I am. Though as I look back about 18 years, I should have known. When my youngest daughter was just an infant, she was a mommy's girl and didn't like others to hold her. Well, if Mommy took a shower and came out with wet hair, she wouldn't let me hold her. She didn't recognize me until my hair was blown dry and back to blonde.
Such is the case with most of my friends today. People I have known for 20 years, do not recognize me with a bald head. My girlfriend and my sisters and I went out to support a local breast cancer event a couple nights ago and I left with conflicted emotions. The event was held at Rain Lounge, a place where my girlfriend and I have frequented for years. I love walking in and seeing friendly faces and grabbing hugs from people we haven't seen in a while. I wish I could say that this is how it went the other night, but until word got out that it was "Shelly" under that bald head, I was barely recognized. A few knew me, but others looked at me and most likely thought to themselves "I know that girl but can't place her name." Or at least that was the vibe I got.
I have a wig. I intended to wear it to the event, but it is quite uncomfortable. It itches my head and makes me really hot. I put it on as I was getting ready but before walking out the door, I took it off. I put my winter knit cap back on. This too, itches my head but not as bad. Basically, I prefer to wear nothing and go bald, which is why I am just more comfortable staying at home. Several other cancer survivors that I have spoken to, all say the same... they just preferred to wear nothing.
It's hard enough to just get through the treatment of chemo - so worrying about hair or no hair, wig or no wig is really not as big of a deal as I had originally thought it would be. I don't think I will be going to many more events though, I want to be remembered by my friends as I was before cancer.
The event itself was really fun, the queens put on a fantastic show, and I enjoyed the hugs and support from friends in my community. We might be small but we are strong! Below are photos from the event - hosted by a local non-profit organization called Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer.
I posted some photos below of the event and will apologize now for the poor quality - they are all cell phone photos, taken in a very dark environment...