"Are you still in treatment?" "I was where you are this time last year." "I had to wear a wig." "My mom had cancer, my sister, my husband..."
These are the questions and statements I get daily. Random hugs from strangers and looks of pity when I walk by. I usually tell them immediately that--
"I don't have cancer, I'm just bald."
People try to connect with one another, to try to find a common ground, to commiserate in misery and triumph. Cancer connects. There are so many people touched by this horrible disease, luckily I am not one that it has touched. My burden of baldness is only that. There is nothing sinister lurking to kill me just a disease that attempts to kill ones confidence.
When I was in the Keys I met a woman with a head bald like mine. A connection. Only I asked her if she had Alopecia, she does. She had never met another woman with our affliction. We chatted for several minutes until her impatient little girl pulled her away, back to the beach. Our common ground contained the same stories of random hugs from strangers and living life without hair. I could see what stage of acceptance she was in because I have been through them all and confidence was starting to bud in her, yet it was laced with bitterness. The why me's?
I never went through the bitterness. Instead I embraced my baldness and became stronger for it after seven years I know it's probably not coming back and that's ok. I am me with or without hair, frankly it makes life much easier. I do miss pig tails and I never feel particularly pretty, I miss the girlishness of hair, primping and curling, the accessory of it and the warmth of it in the winter, but as long as I don't have cancer I can deal with it.