Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Disease

As far as I can figure, almost everyone in America has been touched by cancer in some way. Maybe you have had cancer, maybe you know someone who had it and beat it, maybe you know someone who died from cancer. Maybe you know someone who knows someone with cancer...Whatever your connection, I am confident everyone has been affected by cancer. There are many terrible things associated with cancer and the treatments used to try and beat it. People undergoing chemo get very ill, their immune systems are destroyed, they are emotionally drained from the fight, they have to watch their families watch them suffer. These are monumental and terrible things associated with cancer.

My friend, Yellow Daisies, is trying to increase cancer awareness because she was recently saddened by the incredibly devestating death of her young nephew; please check out her links to cancer awareness organizations and the fight for a cure for cancer.

One of the not so seemingly monumental affects of cancer treatment is hair loss. Now, I can't imagine how terrible it is to lose your hair. Like, if a person chooses to be bald then that's part of who they are. If a person is involuntarily forced to be bald, an element of themself is suddenly taken from them.

I have long, curly hair. When I was in high school I used to fight it but then I learned to work with my curls rather than fight them and now they are definitely one of my defining features. I wonder, if I were forced to go bald would I even be the same person? Not only do others define me by my curls but I define me by my curls. How much of myself would I lose if I lost them? Possibly, I'm being dramatic and placing far too much emphasis on outward appearances; however, it seems impossible to not place some kind of emphasis on outward appearances when a) they equal first impressions and b) society is constantly asking us to judge others and ourselves by how we look.

See, I've been thinking about this for a few days now. I've been thinking about what kind of person I would become if I were to lose this defining feature. Or any other feature; what about women who are forced to struggle with the emotional hell of suffering through a masectomy? I want to believe I would maintain perspective and recognize the superficial nature of self-definition based on appearances. I want to believe I would have faith in treatment and a cure. Most of all, I want to believe I would have the strength to still be me.

For all those who have been affected by cancer, BE STRONG and GOD BLESS.


yllwdaisies said...

I think about those things too. I think I would def try wigs. Not for others, but for myself. I know what you mean by defining yourself by it.

In my nephew's 1st month of chemo, one of his biggest concerns/fears was ppl seeing him after he had lost his hair.

yllwdaisies said...
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