A lifetime on my head, in minutes, on the floor: my wig-fitting haircut

I was born with long curls. I had long, long ringlets at six. In Grade 6, my hair was to my waist. Except for one brief moment of weirdness when someone got me a pixie cut when I was seven, and brought tears to my Dad’s eyes, I have had thick, shiny hair that went from shoulder to mid-back, to jawline, to waist, always long. But, I hasten to make clear, I wasn’t “all about the hair.” I own neither a curling iron, nor straightener. I don’t own a hair dryer. Wash, finger-comb, let nature dry it. If I had lots of energy, I might braid it wet to get waves the next day. Most of the time it was twisted up and back using a sharp pencil, chopstick or clip. Maybe a rubber band. But I love my hair.

My daughter Tessa is much the same way, although she uses a brush and goes for sleek, and can do the most amazing ’40s Victory Rolls do for military balls. Here we are, side by side, each of us 18 at the time. Check the hair.


Me on the left, at 18; Tessa at right, 18 too. Hair is good!


I wrote earlier on this blog that on October 21, 2013, Tessa and I took the plunge to lop off our almost-waist-length hair and donate it to Locks of Love, a charity that makes wigs for kids with cancer and other illnesses. My longtime friend and hairstylist extraordinaire, Laura, who works at Distinct Hair Design on Maitland, did it. I loved my new style, and Tessa, hers.


Tessa and I on the day of my pre-going-bald wig-fitting haircut.

But chemo for TNBC (triple negative breast cancer) is aggressive, and my oncologist said I would be bald as a billiard ball by the third treatment, which was four weeks away. I contacted Laura, and she said she would come out to the house to do it. She’d bring Liam, her 6-year-old who loves cats and dogs and crafts and video games (we can keep a kid like that busy for 10 years!), and we’d have a few drinks and get through it, tears or laughs or whatever would come. Tessa was the official before and after photographer.






The last photo with my longish hair, with my stand-up friend Laura, the one who wields the shears!

And then this:




One of the many advantages of Laura doing me the huge favour of coming out to my house is there is no mirror in my kitchen. I couldn’t see what was happening, except on the floor, where piles and piles of hair were amassing. With LEGO Batman Xbox, dog, kids, Tessa and Laura and me talking up a storm, she was finished before I knew it. I went upstairs, trailed by Tessa, who knew of course I would cry as soon as I looked at myself in the bathroom, and wanted to be there for a big hug and comforting.

     I looked in the mirror. I cried. I didn’t recognize myself. I looked like someone who chewed a stick instead of a toothpick after cooking’ up the deer she shot that afternoon. NOT ME! It’s like some people said—the process of losing your hair is the most traumatic thing. I never would have believed it—it’s a side effect in the big push, it’s temporary, it grows back. Doesn’t matter. I still don’t look like me.

      And I can’t find a single pic of me, despite Tessa’s incredible skill with the camera, that I can post here. But when there is one, I will post. Promise.



4 Responses

  1. OMG you and Tessa are gorgeous twins!! With or without hair I might add. 🙂 Been thinking about you my dear. xoxoxoxox

    • Hey Julia! Thank you for the double compliment—Tessa spied the “twin” aspect when she saw my pic, and matched them up. It is spooky. My mum has always maintained that if you gave Tessa blond hair in all her pics growing up, she was “the spitting image” of me. Now I want to go back and Photoshop like crazy!

  2. Awww, look at little Clover I hope he is helping to keep your spirits up. I cried in the car this morning when I saw Tessa’s profile pic on facebook. I can’t find the words to say to you how much I really really miss you… As you said, you are having trouble with no office, work, social network… Well we’re all having trouble without you. So keep up the fight and come back soon… That tussled hair looking up pic is pretty darned sexy Mrs… You better keep that in mind when you feel yucky from all of this! Love you… And your kids. See you soon my good friend! Gotta go now ’cause the tears are tripping me again! I am so selfish thinking of how I feel about what you are going through! I just really miss you!

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