I’ve always loved my wife’s hair. I know most guys when they meet a girl look at things such as eye….ears…nose….and…..other stuff. However, that’s not me. When I first laid eyes on Andrea, I thought she had the prettiest hair in the world. As long as I have known her it’s been one of her features I love the most. It’s this beautiful strawberry blond. It has natural red highlights that some women would kill to have. (I’ve always been a sucker for red hair.) In fact, I love it so much I have begged her to never get it colored. I know, I know, that’s mean…..but I think it’s perfect just the way it is.
When we found out we would we need to have Chemotherapy the inevitable question of, “Will she lose her hair?”, came up. It was a hard question to ask and one that was answered quickly. The doctors told us it is very rare, with the types of drugs my bride will be taking, for her to keep her beautiful hair. This reality led to long discussions about what do do. We eventually landed on a few options. First, we would get a wig and second we would get head bands and hats for those days when she doesn’t want to wear fake hair.
Finding a wig was frustrating. What you may not know is that insurance doesn’t cover the cost of wigs. They apparently considered it an elective, cosmetic issues. I could go on for days about how stupid and petty that is but I will refrain. (needless to say…I am less a fan of insurance now and think there should be a new level to Dante’s Inferno added for them.) As Andrea began looking for a wig it became very apparent that either we would need a lot of money to get one or she would look like one of the little children from, “Oliver Twist.” Ratty, disheveled child was not the look Andrea was hoping to achieve.
I know most guys when they meet a girl look at things such as eye….ears…nose….and…..other stuff. However, that’s not me.
Insert Erin. Erin is a close friend to Andrea that has been a God-send to our lives. Both her and her husband have walked with us faithful through this battle with Ole Scruffy. I am forever indebted to her love and compassion for my wife. Erin decided, without our knowledge, to make sure that Andrea has a beautiful wig to wear. So, she began a G0-Fund-Me campaign to raise financial support and began calling around to find the best deal on a wig.
Insert Kristina. She is a women who deserves a special room in heaven for her grace she bestows on women in my bride’s situation. Years ago she had a friend go through Breast Cancer and in the midst of the struggle realized the outrageous costs of wigs. As she began to do research it became apparent that the costs of the wigs in stores were grossly overpriced. She then decided to start a business that would offer high quality wigs at a reasonable price. Currently, she is retired. However, out of love and compassion she
brought all of her wigs and products to our house, sat down with my wife and let her try on a myriad of them. Then gave us a sweet deal on some sexy hair. (Yes, I said sexy because it looks dang good on her) If we would have taken one of her older wigs, she was literally going to give it to us. We considered that option but the price was so good, it was better move to get a brand new one.
Then came the decisions of whether to cut of all Andrea’s hair or let it fall out on it’s own. With the prospect of waking up and looking like one of those sweet zombies from the walking dead, Andrea opted to cut it all off. So, we made an appointment at the salon and waited. Waiting was the worst. Everyday that went by we feared that her hair would begin falling out sooner than expected. It didn’t, and the day was finally upon us.
The morning of the hair removal day was ominous. One of the good things about the day was Andrea’s mom was here. She is currently staying with us for a while to help out around the house and offer emotional support. It was a blessing she was here that day. There was a physical weight in the air. I could see in Andrea’s eyes and demeanor that she was not ready to give up her hair. I can’t imagine the internal struggle she was going through. As a guy, to go bald is no big deal but for her it was a much weightier matter. As the time for the appointment drew near, I asked her if she wanted me to go. She did, so I went. The drive to the salon, one that is normally filled with excitement and joy, was painful. I kept looking in the rear view mirror at my wife and could see nothing but pain in her eyes.
The place where we get our hair cut is call Trendz. We have been going there since we moved to Cincinnati. We have also used the same lady the whole time. Her name is Julie. We have gone there so much people know who we are when we enter. As a side note, Julie informed me recently that I am the only guy that let’s her use product in their hair post hair cut. I laughed when she told me and reminder her that, if I were rich, I would be a lot more metrosexual than I am!
When we arrived Julie took us to a private room. Andrea sat down and we began discussing options. Julie suggested that Andrea not shave her head completely but cut it short. Andrea has never liked short hair and felt that a shorter cut was merely delaying the inevitable. The discussion went back and forth. Every time we got close to a decision, Andrea would get more upset. I could see the water in her eyes fill as we keep discussing the positive and negative of both options.
In a moment, the weight hit her. She put her hands to her face and began to weep. I didn’t know what to do. I was at a loss for words and was frustrated at my inability to console her. I stooped down to her chair and put my hands on her cheeks. I slowly pulled her eyes up to mine and leaned in. Looking straight into her eyes, I began to run my fingers into her beautiful strawberry blond hair and told her, “This is not you, this hair is not who you are. You are beautiful regardless and my opinion is the only one that matters.”
She responded through a soft whisper , “I know.” I leaned in and kissed her forehead, then backed away.
Finally the decision was made. We were going short, not shaved. Now, I suggested she shave one half of her hair, dye the other half some bright color and call it a day. She gave me a glaring look. A look I get often and know the contents of the message. She was not amused and bluntly said, “NO!” O well, it was just a suggestion.
Andrea decided early on to donate her hair. The fact that she think about others even in the midst of our battle with Scruffy is beautiful. So, Julie pulled her hair into small strands, placed rubber bands around them to keep them in place and began to cut. As the process continued I found myself in wonder. With every inch that was cut off I kept seeing my wife in a new way. The new hair cut, short and cute, emphasized one of Andrea’s best features, her face. I couldn’t stop looking at her. Not because I was saddened by her need for a hair cut, not because I had some great empathy for my wife but because she looked super hot. This shorter hair cut shows off so much of her face and looks great on her. Once the cut was done, we took a bunch of pictures, hugged one another and were escorted out.
As we were leaving the salon, we pulled out our cards to pay. Julie informed she would not let us. She took over an hour to sit with us, cry with us and then gave us a free haircut. I looked her in the face, with tears beginning to cascade down my cheeks and told her she will never know what this means to us. It wasn’t just her compassion for my bride, it wasn’t the free haircut, it was everything she had done. In her own way she provided therapy to us during this difficult time. Needless to say, we will be getting our haircuts there for a long time.
Andre hasn’t lost her hair yet. That day will most likely come soon. For now, we enjoy the cute style she is sporting. It has its perks. It take less time to style and is super easy to blow dry. While the context for why we needed to cut her hair short is no fun, at least we found some joy in the midst of a painful road. For that, I am thankful. We move forward now, preparing for our next round of chemotherapy and keeping our eyes on the prize of being cured and one day holding each other close on a cruise ship out in the sea. #LookTowardstheSea