Raquel is a bitch!!

I often walk past Raquel (who when I don’t need her sits quietly on her stand in the bathroom) and tell her she’s a bitch for making my head itchy and hot and for giving me a headache by sitting snuggly on my head all day while I’m at work.

Raquel was with me on my recent road trip to the Victorian High Country and she was as boring as bat shit on the 13 hour drive! Not once did she make an effort to sing along to the new cd I bought especially for the trip, not once did she offer to drive to give my back a break and not once did she respond to the comments I made about the beautiful countryside or the quaint little cottages along the way.

Raquel was my first wig and she cost me $500 from Bonnies Wigs in the Adelaide Arcade, which has been helping women feel girly again since 1968. My girlfriend Tricia took me wig shopping and as soon as we spotted Raquel in the shop we both knew she was the one for me. I walked into Bonnie’s Wigs with hardly any hair and feeling like crap but I walked out of Bonnie’s Wig with a huge smile on my face and I felt like a million dollars.

Tricia and I then had lunch together and discussed life, work, our kids, we laughed about our beloved pooches and then went to Bupa to hopefully get some money back from the new wig purchase. We were expecting to get maybe $100 back from my health fund but within three hours Bupa had refunded $450 back into my bank account! So in reality Raquel is cheap tart who is only worth $50 so I’ve decided to replace her… Rapunzel is on her way from China!!

road trip

Raquel on my recent road trip – boring as bat shit she was!

raquel on the dash

Raquel on the dash where she is flung at the end of every work day.

First day out without the wig.

Yesterday was the first day I ventured out without my wig on.  Just over a month ago I would never have thought I would be hitting the hardware store without any hair!!  I sat in the carpark of my local hardware store for quite some time before I could step out of my car with only a scarf covering my bald head… its funny the things we take for granted until they are gone.

I felt very self-conscious, I left my sunglasses on and was desperately hoping I wouldn’t bump into anyone I knew.  The thing about any kind of disease which causes you to lose your hair is you feel naked without it.  It’s like rocking up to the shops butt naked and expecting people not to stare or wonder what the hell is going on in your life.

I have always taken great pride in getting good haircuts, having nice colours put on my hair and I never leave the house without make up on and my hair done but why is it that now that all my hair is gone I feel ashamed and embarrassed?  It’s not my fault this has happened, I haven’t done anything wrong!  There are plenty of people at my local shops who look like they’ve been dragged through a bush backwards and don’t even bother brushing their hair before they go out – but maybe that’s only in my non-affluent neighbourhood 🙂

I was lucky today because there were only four women in the garden section of the hardware store and all four women treated me as if I had Julia Roberts kind of hair – not like someone who appears to have cancer and has lost all her hair from the chemotherapy.

So as I walked about selecting new vegetable plants for my garden I heard this quote from The Help in my head… “you is kind, you is smart, you is important” and guess what – it really wasn’t that awful being out there in the big bad world without any hair because it doesn’t change who I am.

no wig

Life is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you’re going to get.

Have you ever heard of Alo-fucking-pecia? Possibly not as the medical term is Alopecia but I prefer to add a descriptive word in the middle – makes it sound more interesting. A year ago my lovely hairdresser discovered a small bald spot about the size of a 20 cent piece on the back of my noggin so I went to visit the Dermatologist who said I have Alopecia Areata and I would most likely just get random bald spots here and there. My hair was the longest it had ever been which meant the bald spots weren’t noticeable and I decided I could cope with the bald spots even if the hair never grew back.

In the middle of March this year my hair started falling out in huge handfuls and within 4 weeks my hair was gone. One of my nicknames growing up was brothpot heed (not head, heed, said in a strong Scottish accent) interpretation = large head! As well as having a rather large noggin I had finally grown my hair to a healthy and very feminine length and style which I loved so I was not happy about losing all my hair. I have always loved Bruce Willis but I never wanted to look like the bugger!!

Being bald has challenged me in a way I never thought I could deal with but the amazing thing about this whole bloody situation is it has made me realise how lucky I am. My incredibly brave sister shaved off her beautiful thick hair so I wouldn’t have to be on this journey alone, my parents have always supported me no matter what but they have also been there for me every step of the way, my daughter has called me regularly to make sure I’m doing ok and sent me messages that make me feel lucky to have such a wonderful daughter, my son has given me very long hugs that make me feel like life is worth living, my close girlfriends (you know who you are) have hugged me as I cried about not feeling like a girl anymore, they have taken me wig shopping and made me laugh when I wanted to hide from the world.

When I get home from work not only does the bra get instantly removed so does my wig (in the next decade it may also be my teeth that get popped in a jar by my bed) but I can honestly say that even though I am as bald as a fucking badger I am a very lucky girl.

(Ma, sorry about the swearing but as I tell my precious kids, sometimes the f-word is the only word that fits).

before and after