In Search of Hair
My Hair Regrowth Journey
It’s been seven years since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer. My right breast was a cancerous snowfield. The tumor was a large lump that took up residence in almost half of my breast. Vigorous chemo treatments, surgery, and radiation banished cancer from my body. So far, it has stayed away.
But the effort to rid my breast of cancer was a Pyrrhic Victory. I had lost my hair in the process. Now I’m not one that is madly attached to their hair. My face is my moneymaker. My hair has been curled, colored, gel, braided, and loc’d. It has gone through a lot since childhood and I thought it would be able to handle the chemo and radiation treatments. I was wrong.
On my birthday, the same year I was diagnosed, a loc fell from my head as I was doing my hair. I decided right then and there to cut my hair. I wanted to save myself from further embarrassment and beat chemo to the punch. I went to my salon and had the woman cut off my locs. I then went to a barber for a line-up. My head was transformed.
I was bald. But it wasn’t bad. I looked good bald. My head was smooth. I had no ridges on the back of my head. My ears didn’t poke out like Dumbo from the Disney movie. I felt sexy. I held my head up high.
I was still working as I did my treatments. So when I returned to work, my haircut was quite a shock. I had gone from a full head of hair to a shiny dome. One colleague did a double-take when he saw me. The students were kind — for the most part. I had told them about my cancer diagnosis. Most were supportive and helpful to me in the classroom.
After I was done with my treatments, my hair slowly started to grow back. I went from a shiny dome to a fuzzy dome. Soon, I had a nice layer on my head. When I switched from high school to middle school, some of my hair had become long enough to braid. I added in extra hair and wore scarves to hide my growing mane from nosy eyes. But I soon discovered that my hair was very weak.
My hair was brittle and didn’t do well with the weight of braids and other extensions. The hair that had returned wasn’t thriving on my head. I gave up adding braids and attached afro puffs to the back of my head. That worked for a little while but the front of my head was problematic.
Eventually, I took to the easiest methods of hair grooming — scarves and wigs. It was a lot easier to throw on a scarf or wig and head out the door. I wore scarves during the warmer months and wigs during the colder months. I coordinated the scarves with my outfits. I wore wigs that looked natural and went well with my skin tone.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of money on wigs. And while it’s nice to have wigs to change into when the mood suited, it’s difficult when you’re teaching teens. If I worked with only adults, it wouldn’t matter. But students always have something to say about their teacher’s appearance. It can be quite aggravating at times.
I miss my hair. I want it back — even if it’s just a small afro. The back and the sides of my head have a lot of growth. It’s the front and the middle of my head that is slow-growing. I’d love to have my hair braided or grow locs again, but my hair is taking so long to grow. I’ve done a lot to try and speed up the process — rice water, hair vitamins, and changing my diet. It’s helped but the process is still painstakingly slow.
As I search for a growth formula that works for me, I will discuss my hair issues with my doctor. There must be some sort of hair therapy they can recommend for me. It’s 2022, I’m sure hair regrowing technology has something for me. I just want the middle part of my head to fill in. I don’t care if my hair remains short. I’m tired of the “George Jefferson” hairstyle.
In the meantime, I’ll keep wearing scarves, buying wigs, and searching for the right combo on treatments for my hair. The answer for my hair issues is out there and I’ll keep looking for it. My hair journey continues.