Hair Loss During Hodgkin's Lymphoma Cancer Treatment

Hair Loss because of Illness Becomes a Symbol of Awareness
As a born redhead, my hair was a tremendous part of my identity. I didn't appreciate how unique my auburn locks were at a younger age, as I was often teased and singled out in school. It wasn't until college that I learned to embrace the rare and vibrant hue I was born with. Cancer wanted to take my identity, but the hair wasn't necessary to prolong my life. 

My body no longer resembled its former diagnosis, but I hoped to inspire and help others reinvent themselves beyond cancer by sharing images without my hair. These are temporary scars from the battles we face. Even if it isn't easy, it's important to love oneself. 

You're in control of how you wake up every morning and look at yourself in a mirror. Don't look away from the face of a person who has endured more than any human could comprehend. Be proud of the reflection staring back into the depths of your eyes. 

Sitting in front of a small mirror in a swirling chair with a cape draped around me, I wondered how the next year would be. The hairdresser carefully braided my hair into multiple sections with a rubber band as high as she could and effortlessly cut each braid off. My hair went neatly into the bag donated to a nonprofit organization making wigs for cancer kids. 

A few days after my first chemotherapy treatment, I shaved my head in preparation for the hair loss. It was about the third treatment that my scalp had a burning sensation, and even after shaving, I still had specs of hair left behind that began to fall out. The short auburn hair stuck to my hand as I rubbed my head, and even though it didn't come out in clumps, that moment was still emotional because if felt I was no longer in control.

Shortly after, I lost my eyebrows, eyelashes, and other hair.  Instead of dwelling on the loss, I appreciated the opportunity that being bald gave me. I was able to bring awareness to this blood cancer and have a more profound connection with myself. 

You'll learn to love yourself from the inside out, not be consumed by what others think of you, and accept your imperfect features. Being bald is your symbol of awareness. 

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