When I was confirmed as having the BRACA1 gene mutation, complete with the risks of breast and ovarian cancer, I spent time in tears, thoughts of the what if’s constantly on my mind, draining my energy. The fear of losing my breasts, and the ultimate fear of ovarian cancer taking my life. Survival stats aren’t typically great for ovarian cancer – there is still no good screening for it (none of the screening I had done prior to my surgery in October showed any concerning results) so often by the time it is found it is well advanced.
The call to come back to meet with the surgeon that had removed my ovaries and fallopian tubes, bringing a close friend or family member with me for support, was horrifying, had me shaking and hardly able to get out to my girlfriend the plea to come and get me and take me to my appointment. I clearly knew walking in what would be happening and hearing he words that I had ovarian cancer wasn’t as bad as the fear that one day it might come. It had been found, it was found early, “they” were on it, and my sister’s words ring in my head daily “you are not alone on this”.
The fear of being alone. Yep, I live alone. But golly I am the farthest thing from being alone. The people that have come to help and support and care and share and laugh when I have needed them is truly humbling. And yet ultimately I know that this journey is one that I rely on my own strength to travel it authentically.
Today’s fear…one that has plagued me for some time, the idea of my hair coming out and leaving me bald. For the last number of days I seem to have collected a rats nest each day….who knew I had that much hair to lose. Be it of I showered, brished it, ran my fingers through it (as used to feel so good), I was leaving presents for little spring birds to build their new nests.
My scalp has become tender, and yet I continued to watch…was it all coming, should I try to hang onto it, what will I feel like when it is gone? Is it my last remaining piece of physical femininity after all?
Today was the day. I went to a most compassionate woman, still unsure of it would be for a hair cut or a shave. She ran her hands through my hair once, judging the fallout, looked at me with kind and gentle eyes, and asked what are we doing? Are you ready? and I was.
I admit, there were tears in my eyes as I waited for her to begin, but once again, as has so often been the realization of late, the fear is worse than the reality. I understand already how much energy that fear was sucking from me….energy that can most certainly be put to better use, especially at this point it life.
And so today I faced the fear of saying goodbye to the long hair I had grown, conditioned, curled, straightened, highlighted, and played with….and today I became free of holding back.
And NOW I get to play!!!!
May you too meet your fears and learn that the monsters hiding under your bed, in your closet, and toying with your head are not nearly as powerful or scary when faced head on!
With much love,