These days getting ready to go out feels somewhat like a “build a bear” experience. Getting ready and dressed is one thing but when you get into putting things together to complete yourself, its a whole different ball of wax.

Most of the time before my diagnosis, getting ready for me meant throwing my hair in a pony tail, tinted moisturizer , gloss and go. The project has gotten more involved since the cancer. First is dealing with a prosthesis aka “Jane in the box”. I still haven’t gotten mine “fitted” yet, apparently fine lingerie boutiques perform this service. For now I have a fiber filled fake friend which seems very attractive to a toddler as a throw  toy and God forbid if I leave it lying around, my self esteem could be flying across the living room. Then, the head of course. En route to a hairless Chihuahua,  I have opted to wear a wig on my bald head and that is an enlightening experience as well( no not because I look like a light bulb). Its amazing how well these things are made. When my hair began to fall out about 2 weeks ago, I wore a wig to the salon where actually I was going in to get my head shaved. When after getting it shaved and having put the wig back on, I came out in the waiting room, I got a lot of compliments on my hair.It took a lot to keep a straight face and not giggle.Sometime though when I am feeling particularly impish, I will tell people who compliment my hair that its a wig and I am bald.

I still have some hair on the scalp and I am still conflicted about whether to shampoo my head or use a body wash on it? I have always been quite near sighted since childhood so contact lenses have been my old friends. I then wonder, if all of it is necessary? What if I step out with one boob dangling, a bald head and my thicker than the base of a beer bottle glasses? How does it really matter? Well, from a 6 yr old’s standpoint, I look like a “man” with my bald head so he is usually pleased when I dress up. But I debate, am I hiding something or do I just crave being ‘normal”?The other day I was cleaning underneath the couch and found a hair pin, which I absent mindlessly tried to put in my hair and then stopped. A part of me wants everyone to hear my struggle but  then a part of me wants to blend in and not stand out.One other assault in the looks department is the blackening and pigmentation of my nails. Apparently nail changes are common with chemotherapy and pretty soon, nail color would be another component of build a bear. I look at myself in the mirror  and there are times that I miss my old exterior self. But then in the same mirror, I hope to see all gray hair some day and many wrinkles of life experiences , and to able to see that some day, I will have deal with all of this today. I will keep putting the pieces together so someday I can feel whole again. Ending joke : ” How are chemotherapy and labor similar”?, “They are both painful and you end up with a bald person!”. Until next time….

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