I no longer have hair. Nineteen days after my first chemotherapy shot, I decided it was no longer worth holding on to it. It had already started to fall out quite a bit and on top of that, my scalp was in constant pain.
My Samirah, who is very brave, decided to play hairdresser. It didn’t work out well and my head was left decorated with multiple uneven plucks of hair. So I had to ask Inma to urgently fix the mess. Now I have a decent bald head. An extremely white scalp makes the layer of millimetered hairs covering it look like gray hair. Have you ever washed your head with Head & Shoulders? Being bald feels very similar. My head is now a thermometer of astonishing sensitivity. I feel freshness when the wind blows and the coldness when I open the fridge to get something out. If I put on sunscreen or some other lotion, I can feel it penetrating my skin.
I don’t look as awful as I thought I would. Although I’m not going to lie, I look better with hair. Doing it at home, even with the uneven plucks of hear, was a good decision. My wife and I laughed together, especially when in a Britney Spears-like fit – as Samirah calls it – I unintentionally cut off one of my sideburns. She couldn’t stop laughing and I didn’t know how to fix the blunder. Thank God that Inma took care of me as an emergency and without bitterness for the betrayal.
Tomorrow I will have my second round of chemotherapy, as long as my blood results don’t recommend otherwise. I have not been feeling very well for the last four days. I am in permanent discomfort from my mouth. I have been to the dentist but I don’t have cavities or an infection and yet there is one side of my mouth that I can barely use. After x-rays and examination, the dentist told me that I probably have an inflamed periodontal ligament which is a fibrous tissue that holds the teeth together. The only thing the dentist could do was to sand my teeth to reduce the contact and recommend anti-inflammatories if the oncologist allows me to take them.
I have also been feeling weak and down. I think that I have reached my Nadir during the past few days, but it may also be a consequence of having my period.
I confess that I am not looking forward to tomorrow. Starting over, nausea, sleeping, hibernating. I take comfort in knowing that out of these twenty-one days of my first cycle, at least fourteen have been fine. I have been able to go about my life. I know I haven’t written much, but in these days we’ve finally been able to get together with my family, I’ve seen a few friends, and I’ve enjoyed being with Otto and Samirah. It hasn’t been as horrible as in the movies. We’re not living our own version of Dying Young – Elegir un Amor here in Spain – where Samirah plays Julia Roberts and watches me wither away. No, it’s not that bad. And yet, I don’t want the second round to come. I don’t want it to come tomorrow, I want time to pass and quickly for the year to have passed. I know I can’t skip tomorrow if I want the time to pass quickly. I have to be brave and gather all my strength to surrender to reality.