Skip to main content

Looks Like Frodo

In the twelve months since I lost my hair to AC chemo, I've gone through several transitional--and sometimes transforming--looks.

When I was bald, I felt alive and powerful. Like Yul Brenner in "The King and I," standing barefoot, legs apart, fists on hips, one eyebrow arched, beautiful oval head catching some rare air. (Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!) I went bald at home. To work, I wore a very pricy wig. My co-worker E. said that when I wore my reading glasses I looked like Nana Mouskouri. He googled a photo of her and emailed it to me. "She's cool looking," I said, realizing at that moment just how gracious and kind E. is. I didn't look like Nana Mouskouri in that wig. I looked like a 46-year-old communications manager with no eyebrows, gray skin and a very shiny brunette pageboy with permanently sideswept bangs.

A few months later, when I began to grow a weird, felt-like substance on my head, my son announced that I'd just been promoted from sargeant to dyke. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...) When the felt grew into actual 1/4-inch-long hair, it produced a dark brown hairline that stood in stark contrast to my pale skin. The straight hairline, with several inches of forehead below it, was a disconcerting look. Those were the "I, Claudius" days.

It's now September 2, Labor Day, and I'm sitting at my kitchen table writing my first entry in this blog. In the mirror on the armoire in the hall, I can see myself. "The sun will come out tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow...there'll be sun!" This--the large, soft fro--is the Annie phase, having passed agonizingly slowly through the Liza Minelli, Ziggy Stardust, Kramer and Frodo Baggins phases.

If I do nothing to my hair, it dries in tight little curls. It'll take at least another six months, or another three inches, before gravity can pull it down. At my brother's lovely wedding in Dana Point this past June, his fiance hired make-up and hair professionals for herself and the wedding party. As I was the best man, I was thrilled to be able to have an expert try to do something with my unruly do ("the do that doesn't," my ex calls it). I showed up with wet hair, as instructed, and was sat in front of a large full-length mirror in the bride's luxurious suite at the St. Regis. My stylist had long, tight black curls, and they looked amazing on her. "Let's go with the curl," she announced, "running her fingers and some Bumble and Bumble shpritz through my hair. I let her experiment with the look for about half an hour before announcing that there was no way I was going to walk onto the St. Regis lawn with what looked like a curly brown swim cap on my head. "Ok," she shrugged, and proceeded to blow-dry it into a nice little matronly bouffant, the only thing she could do with what I had available.

Now, I know that instead of writing about bad hair days (months, seasons), I should be writing about the "gift" of cancer and how it's transformed my life. But sometimes a girl just needs to whinge about her hair.


Popular posts from this blog


I love my daughter.

Last night we went to Cheesecake Factory in Palo Alto and sat at usual table by the window. We ordered our usual stuff and did our usual thing: which is to make each other laugh.

Katie downloaded the "Fatbooth" App to my iPhone and took a picture of herself that she then "fatified." Then she texted it to my fiance, Kevin, who was down in Anaheim with his son. "Look who's excited to be at Cheesecake Factory!" she wrote underneath her morbidly obese photo.

I laughed until I cried.

I have always loved Katie. I loved her when she was little: From the second she opened her newborn blue eyes and excitedly took in the world around her, to watching her drive her Smurf car--naked--in a continual loop around the kitchen and family room, to pedaling her in a Burley at Sun River Oregon, to holding her in a backpack at Costco while she whacked my head, to watching her wrap her "abba" or blanket around her neck at Tahoe to stay warm.

And …

Roots: Part III

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you." ~Kendall Hailey, The Day I Became an Autodidact

(Confession: I found this quote this morning on Quote Garden. I had to Google Kendall Hailey. And I had no idea what the word autodidact meant until I located it on

I met Ocho on Many of you probably have never had a Match date, so let me describe for you a few that I experienced:

Tom smelled myseriously of Clorox bleach and wore a fanny pack. I might have been able to handle the fumes (hey, it's a turn-on that a guy can clean his house, right?), but the strain of imagining what was in the fanny pack (Handi-wipes? Anti-bacterial gel? Latex gloves?) was more than I could bear.

Bob, who was as tall as a 4th grader, over the course of two hours and a plate of fettucine alfredo asked me 20 times if I was bothered by the fact that he was so short. Answer: No…

Obon for Mrs. Edwards

I'm sitting here in my cubicle, watching the cars drive by; watching our IT manager brave the rain in a noble attempt to get some winter exercise.

And I marvel at the ordinariness of their driving and walking. I wonder how, knowing that Elizabeth Edwards died from breast cancer yesterday and that millions of women will die from the same disease, they can drive and walk with what seems like pure oblivion.

I wondered the same thing, when as a mom who had just returned to full-time work two months prior, I listened on the phone at work to my radiologist gently tell me that my ultrasound/biopsy revealed the fact that I had 10 lumps in my right breast. "Infiltrating lobular cancer," she said. Not, "Infiltrating lobular carcinoma." I listened as I stood in the corner of the stairwell by the elevator. I listened as I watched someone drop a pat of butter on the carpeted floor as they walked back to their cubicle with their lunch. I listened as I watched the receptionist…