I was recently asked by a hair care company to contribute to their blog speaking about the process of losing my hair during chemo. They sent me a list of questions and I answered them. The funny thing is, none of my answers seemed to have much to do with losing my hair. Yes, there were specific questions about the how, when, and emotion of it but overall, I had to dig to actually have my experience relate to hair.

The process of answering these questions did however bring me back to something that I love…sharing my experience. I realized that writing my caringbridge posts throughout my breast cancer journey has been a huge outlet.

This “post cancer” time has not been an easy one for me. It feels like the time when everyone is happy to see me “finished” feels anything but finished. I am not finished. I really only just started to process what has happened to me and I’ve been doing that in secret because I feel like I should be moving on. So here I am…stuck between the heartfelt good wishes and awesome support of people wanting me to be “all better” and the voice wanting to scream back “I’m not finished!” I’m not finished with treatment, not finished realizing I even had cancer, not finished digesting that this ugly, awful, evil disease that stole my own mother at 36 and my mother in law just showed up in my own body! I’m not finished trying to recognize my new body or my new hair in the mirror. And I am certainly not finished with the scary ups and downs of what it means to be “post cancer”.  I meet people for the first time now and I want to introduce myself and say, “this is not really me, I used to be someone different”.  This statement never more true than the day in May that I had to renew my license at the DMV.  Now every time I have to show my license, I either laugh a little or cringe.  Gosh, I wish I sucked it up and smiled in that pic!!!  lic copy 2I guess it’s all part of the process.  It’s really not about the hair, it’s just a reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.

I know, though, this IS me and now I move forward. The way I will do that is by helping others. I don’t quite know what this will look like but I know I’m on the right path by sharing my experience. And maybe by sharing my experience, it will help another to process something they are a going through.  I know for sure that letting my thoughts, feelings and experiences out makes everything much clearer and light.  So for now, if you’ve ever felt the way I do about anything, turned on the smile but kept those scared, sad feelings pushed down, know that you are not alone.

Each of us has the outside story and the inside story. The more you share that inside story, the less power it will have over you, the more others will connect and share themselves this way.  That is real power.

Power of connection.

Love Carlene