I’ve always had a love affair with my hair. The Moore men and many of the women have/had jet black hair. It comes from both sides of my father’s tree, The Moores and the Loucks.
As I was growing up, it was a point of family pride and became part of my identity. My grade school teachers could not seem to keep their hands off my hair. “It’s so black and thick,” they’d exclaim. We’d go to family reunions and I’d hear things like, “Gary sure is a Moore. Look at that hair!”
My mother always told me that when I was born, before she actually got to see me for that first moment, the doctor and nurses began to laugh, and the Doc said, “Look at all that black hair!”
In 1988, I went on an all liquid diet which was the rage at the time. My hair started thinning and I was assured it would grow back, but it didn’t. No bald spots, but the thickness was gone, and I always regretted going on that fad diet.
Now I have cancer and am in chemotherapy. Every day when I wake up, I seem to have lost a little more of my hair. Add to the fact we are in quarantine and can’t get it trimmed, my head is beginning to look like a mangy old coyote during the heat of the summer. I wear a ball cap around the house. I’m avoiding mirrors and am in denial. A friend recently said, “just shave it off. It will grow back.” (I’ve heard that one before) Another said, “And when it grows back it will be curly and a different color.”
A different color? Not black? Really? As of now, my thinning hair would be considered “salt and pepper” and I’ve been fine with that because the pepper was still black. But curly and a different color?
Cancer can strip you of more than your hair. I’m in the fight of my life and I plan to win. To fret about my hair seems ridiculous. I must face the reality that sometime soon, I’ll head into the bathroom and probably just shave it all off. I get weird thoughts like, “Will I still be a Moore? Will people stare at me? If they realize I have cancer will they pity me?”
Being a columnist, author, and speaker, you must fight for attention. I’ve always enjoyed standing in front of large crowds to share my stories. I’ve never shied away from being in the spotlight. Now I find myself happy for quarantine so no one can see me. Silly ... I know. Silly or not it’s the truth.
I haven’t taken the step yet to shave what’s left of the former thick and black mop on my head. I’m a fighter. Some things are worth fighting for and I’m realizing that my hair just isn’t worth it. I’m fighting for my life. My hair should be the least of my worries.
What is it I’m really worried about? I guess I don’t want to die bald and that’s a thought that I must strip out of my head and heart because I’m not giving in or up. Stage 4 Stomach Cancer has met its match. I’m going to beat cancer and you can take that to the bank … although you’ll have to take it through the drive-in window as quarantine seems to have the lobbies closed.
So, is bald beautiful? guess I’ll soon find out.
PS - There is nothing to take lightly about cancer, but contrary to the belief of some, cancer doesn’t have to be a death sentence. It is serious business, but the attitude of the patient plays a major role in treatment and recovery with any health crisis. Do not allow a medical professional to place a time stamp or expiration date on your life. It’s your life. Fight with all your might. Only speak positive and uplifting words into your head and heart. Only associate with others who do the same. Do your own research. Read about positive imaging. Be up to date with what the universities, major cancer centers and research hospitals are doing. There are advances and breakthroughs daily. Be optimistic, be positive and fight. Never give up or give in. Cancer is beatable. Believe it and fight.
GARY W. MOORE is a freelance columnist, speaker, and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com