the cat on my head


The blog has been quiet recently, but I just read an article yesterday titled “The Cat On My Head” by Jenny Allen. She shares her thinking and experiences after being diagnosed with cancer and needing to undergo chemotherapy. She muses how she will wear her disease when she loses her hair — would she cover it up or announce it to the world? At first she decides to wear a scarf, but as the chemotherapy progresses and she eventually loses her eyebrows, she experiences a shift. Her hair was a part of her head, but her eyebrows are a part of her face! And having no eyebrows makes her feel very vulnerable. She realized that she wanted a buffer between her head and the world to take the attention off her hairlessness. She goes to a wig store in New York City and selects a wig with the help of a Frenchman who is also a cancer patient — but she does not immediately start wearing the wig. When she does, it is disastrous, and the wig winds up being stashed in the back of her dresser drawer.  Two years later, after losing several friends to cancer, she comes upon the wig. Will throwing it away seem too cocky? She questions who she is to say that she is done with cancer . . . but then she comes across an article about decluttering closets and drawers. As part of this process Jenny must ask herself if she will ever  wear or use the wig again.  Ultimately she discovers her own truth, and she writes, “Realistically? Realistically, I might need those chemo drugs again, I might lose my hair again, but I would never, ever wear that stupid wig again. Better to wear the scarves and have people look at me as if they are about to cry. Better to let the other women walking around with no hair see that I’m one of them. And I threw it away.”

I have been thinking over the last couple of months that since this blog’s reach has increased, it would be good to open it up to others who may wish to share aspects of their own journeys with cancer. It does not have to be just breast cancer. And you do not have to have cancer to be on the journey — you may be journeying with a friend, a parent, or a sibling who has cancer. I know some of you have your own stories to tell. If you would like to share, please email me with your story and advise whether you would like your name used or have it posted anonymously. If I feel it is appropriate for this blog, I will be happy to put it up.

I finally told my doctors that I have decided NOT to take the drug form of an aromatase inhibitor. I know we will discuss my decision and holistic options when I next see Dr. DuPree.

. . . and so it is

3 thoughts on “the cat on my head

  1. sandy chernow says:

    Can I please ask you what went into your decision not to use the hormone therapy drug. I am at that point in my breast cancer treatment and have to make that same decision. Thanks so much.

  2. Bille Jean says:

    HI There Deb! this was a great entry. I hope you’re feeling well…I hope you ARE well! I’ll be anxious to hear Dr. DuPree’s suggestions on the holistic route. I just finished WILD…an amazing book!

  3. Hi Deb. As Billie Jean has already said this is a great entry. Maryann gave me the link. Meeting my oncologist Wednesday week to discuss again my desire to stop the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen. Agreed to it in the middle of all the treatments last July but it is causing me a lot of issues since. When I met her in Nov she asked me to think long and hard about it and we could discuss it again. (Mcdonegal)

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