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This is obviously not a photo of hair!

A couple of days ago I got a very nice letter from Pantene thanking me for the donation of my hair to their cancer wig program. I first donated my hair sometime in 2002 or so as a memorial to my mother who died of ovarian cancer. But this time the donation was for me.

In 2010 I became very ill with systemic histoplasmosis, an endemic fungal disease exacerbated by a medication I was taking for Rheumatoid Arthritis. After surviving hypoxia and 8 days or so in ICU plus 5 weeks in a stepdown unit, my hair was brittle and lifeless—-and bedraggled. My husband took a scissors and cut it some shorter to make it easier to manage as I needed help in most daily activities. Whenever I combed my hair, the comb would be quite full. I looked much like the Velveteen Rabbit. So I took myself off to the hairdresser and Traci cut it, laughing as she could she where Glen had cut it. It looked nice, but continued to fall out and I returned and asked her to cut it very short. She said she could see new hair growing. The dermatologist had told me that my hair would fall out for the length of time that I had been ill. It was a great blow to my ego.

Then as it grew back, it was incredibly curly—and white! I had a Wisconsin style hairstyle without the smell of a perm. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and only did so on rare occasions accidentally while brushing my teeth.

Traci patiently trimmed and shaped my hair as the months went by and gradually it became about 15 or 16 inches long.

I decided to conquer my vanity but having it cut really short again and donating the hair to someone who (like me) had lost their hair due to health issues.

I’ve had a lot of compliments on it, it is no harder to care for than my long hair and my husband says I look at least ten years younger.

It is hard to admit to vanity, and even harder to conquer it. The feelings of yet another something totally unfair and casually passed off by health care personnel who looked at my age and thought–why should she worry about this? and then my physician thought the initial hair loss and cut was just a style change that women all did periodically. This was hard and unlike some of the other things that happened later, this was visible to the world, a symbol of my un-wellness.

Choosing to have short hair is far different than having short hair.

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