But I do like characters!
A year ago, I started the hair growth adventure with a freshly shaved head. It took a couple months to really get things started. Then I let my dandy hair-dos inspire some characters.
In February, my straight hair suddenly turned curly and annoying. I tried a new color, but I still looked like I had a bad perm. Luckily I found some characters that enjoyed my hair.
One Year Down
In recent months I've sported nerdy and retro hair-dos, raggedy Brillo Pad hair... and hair so dark and festive, it makes me want to stomp grapes or drink Margaritas!
It's been a slow process these 12 months. But maybe it's time to get on with more important things and stop focusing on my head. Then again, I don't want to miss any new character inspirations.
Let the next year of growth begin!
New Hair Color
Yesterday, I got a new color. I'm jolted every time I walk by the mirror. I thought my days of cringing over my image were over.
But I can give it a few days and make changes if I want.
I learned a year ago, that the best way to face your hair woes (or lack of hair woes) is to go see your barber! So today, the day after getting my new hair color, I went to see A.D.!
Richmond Barber Shop
I called the shop at 8:30 this morning and A.D. answered. After I fumbled a moment with my reason for calling, his voice boomed out. "Beth! How are you! We've been wondering how you were doing!"
I was giddy to hear his enthusiasm. He said the picture I'd sent him a year ago, was sitting right there near him. I told him I wanted to come show him my hair and he said he'd be waiting.
I took Don with me to meet A.D. during the lunch hour. I was eager for Don to meet this wonderful fellow, who refused to let me pay for my luxurious, head pampering last year. When we walked into the shop, A.D. happily greeted with a big hug.
I was sorry we missed the customer who had just left. A.D. told us he'd been cutting his hair since 1960. I asked A.D. to pose with me, when Don grabbed the camera. Then A.D. reached in a drawer and handed Don a disposable camera. Don snapped another.
Sitting a Spell
A.D. invited us to have a seat in one of the chairs along the wall. He laughed with Don, recalling how still I sat in his barber chair, last year. "That's because you had a razor on my head!" I reminded him.
A.D. told me that he'd been visiting with his friend, Silven when he got my call a few hours earlier. "Silven wanted me to tell you hi!" A.D. added. His buddy comes daily and he was there a year ago, graciously using my camera to document.
Hanging Out in the Shop
There were no customers so Don and I got to look at old photos and ask lots of questions. A.D. filled us in, on some of the history of the shop that opened in 1949... after operating in a nearby building since the 1800's. He laughed about the stories that had been shared, not just from the barber chairs, but the seats along the wall. Men and boys of all ages...ranchers and a few notable Texans... but no women asking for hair cuts or head shaves, besides me.
Remembering Last Year
Next thing I knew, A.D. was on the phone talking to someone with the Richmond paper. "Yes, she's in my shop right now." I laughed with Don, because I'd already told Don that the shop made me feel like I was in Andy Griffith's Mayberry. The fact that A.D. picked up the phone and dialed the newspaper without looking up the number, made me feel like we'd stepped back in time.
So on Monday, I'll be back at the shop, meeting with A.D. and someone from the local paper.
I have no idea what will happen with this, but I'm just excited to have another reason to stop by and chat with A.D.
And who knows. If I'm still jolted with my dark hair by then, I can have him just shave it off!
I'm not a big shopper and I don't like malls. I don't like the crowds and I also don't like it when the mall's quiet... and I become a magnet to sales help. The music often annoys me and the strong scents make my eyes water.
With only 22 days until Scott and Chali's wedding, I hit the mall today. I already have two maybe dresses at home, but it's time to make a decision.
At Macy's, I rushed past the cosmetics department in search of formal dresses. I probably looked like the perfect candidate for a makeover, but I shook my head towards 2 different beauticians. I didn't have time for beauty advice.
Mother of the Groom Hair
I wasn't in love with any of the 6 dresses. I wasn't in love with my hair either. A year ago I started growing my hair back.
I thought I'd have more than this for a November wedding. But my friend reminded me yesterday, that the focus at the wedding will not be on my hair. Good reminder!
Luckily I still had lots of energy, since I needed to make the cross country hike to Dillard's. The mall was fairly quiet on a Wednesday morning, which meant there were fewer shoppers to dodge. But there were also no crowds to hide me from the sales people standing beside their kiosks... looking for victims. I tried to remember my daughter's advice. "Don't be so nice, Mom. Avoid eye contact." I scurried along, close to the shop entrances, but I was still invited to taste this and smell that. I was also invited to answer questions.
I made it halfway through the mall when I heard an older voice behind me. "Excuse me Ma'am..." Those are the very words I usually ignore, but the voice made me turn back. An older, African American woman, wearing a fanny pack, was obviously doing a mall walk. But she had a question.
Back of My Head
A few moments later she responded. "I lost my hair with chemo, too. It was harder losing my hair than my breasts." Then it made sense why she stopped me. I made an attempt to bond with the sweet looking woman. "Yes, it's tough isn't it." But she didn't have much else to say, which again made me wonder why she'd stopped me. If I'd answered, "Yes, my curls are natural." Would she have had more to say? Since she'd brought up the curls, I wanted to ask, "Wasn't your hair curly before cancer? Do you have tricks?" But of course I didn't. Usually this kind of people encounter would sort of delight me, but it felt odd. We chatted awkwardly a bit longer before going our separate ways.
An Odd Encounter
I spotted the woman again, striking up a conversation with a younger African American woman. The young woman had curly hair and her gestures told me, she was answering questions about her hair.
At home I continued wondering about the woman and wondering about my hair. I glanced at a photo from another shopping attempt and I thought.
The curly-head-image was one that I never would recognize as my own. So maybe the back of my head is kind of fun. Maybe I'll miss these curls. My hair is already getting straight in areas.
As for the woman... Was she just curious? Was she plain lonely? Was she a pickpocket and I'm missing my wallet? Or was just friendly, in an odd way? I guess I could go mall walking tomorrow and find out. Except, I don't like malls.
Thursday Doc Appointment
I don't usually worry over my routine doc appointments, every 3 months. But when I headed to see my oncologist yesterday, I found myself dreading the blood pressure cuff more than the needle for lab work. I hoped the stresses of the past 8 weeks wouldn't be revealed in my blood pressure. Luckily, my worries now aren't about cancer. But they seem to be about everything else.
On Monday, I woke to the news of the wildfires in California. As Don and I watched the images of Santa Rosa on TV, our good friends waited to hear if their house would survive. We had just stayed with them in California, 3 weeks before.
Even though John and Lorrie were safe in Texas, I worried over them and California for 3 days. By the time I headed to my appointment on Thursday, the fires were still burning and their beautiful home was gone.
Floods Before Fires
One day, we stopped at a CVS and I decided to find out if the stress was affecting my blood pressure. I felt like a kid getting a bad grade back on a test. I hoped no one could see my numbers.
Yesterday, as I sat in the waiting room, I took deep breaths and focused on peaceful thoughts. But the images that came to my head were of lovely vineyards and our friends' view in California and all the heavenly scenes that had been destroyed.
But at least the TV in the waiting room was turned to HGTV and there was no remote, tempting me to change channels. At home I've had a hard time turning away from the news. There's been a steady stream of disasters between Houston's devastating floods and California's horrific fires. Even after Harvey, I was glued to the TV for updates on the hurricanes headed towards Florida and Puerto Rico. Then I was suddenly staring in shock at the images of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Along with all of the disaster updates in the news, I've been cringing and fuming at the constant drama in the White House. This can't be healthy.
As I tried to distract myself in the waiting room, I noticed the desk staff wearing pink. "Oh it's October." I reminded myself. How could I be so unaware?
I looked around and noticed a few weary patients and wondered if they were just starting treatment... or if they had been dealing with cancer for years. I suddenly remembered why I was sitting in that room.
And then, I began to think about all those who have dealt with cancer plus tragedy in these past weeks. Chemo patients in Houston, who had their treatments and care disrupted... cancer patients in Santa Rosa who have no home to return to after a morning of chemo or a radiation... or what about all the people who received a cancer diagnosis on October 1, the day we learned of the Las Vegas mass shooting...
When I finally saw Dr. P, he asked about hurricane damage, before asking health questions. Then he studied his clipboard and rattled off a few comments in his doctorly way. "Your labs look good. Your weight is fine. Your hair's looking nice..." The comment cracked me up, because only your oncologist can offer a hair compliment with such a business tone.
After all my concern, Dr. P. didn't even mention my blood pressure. It was closer to normal. I left feeling grateful that my appointment was so dull. I drove home feeling lucky that Pink Month was not as stressful as last year. By the time I reached home, I vowed I would find a way to keep up with the news, without being addicted to it!
Less focus on TV and more focus on people. That might even put my blood pressure in the normal range!
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my Covid vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!