I selected the picture of the man with the green cap to be my on-line face. The particular green hat he's wearing reminds me of a very similar hat I bought when my hair fell out two years ago. I remember being very cold that winter -'07 - as I had lost a lot of weight, had sores, boils and puncture marks all over, and generally felt like crap. I bought the hat for nine dollars as it was unusual, all cotton and was stretchy. I wore it once. My wife smiled at me when I donned it and gave her my look, but it made me feel like an exhibit. That wasn't what she intended, I know that, but I distinctly remember feeling something stab into me. Here I was living the cancer cliche of covering up 'chemo baldness' with a funny hat. Soon after my family - parents, siblings, children, 27 of us - went away to a bush retreat for a weekend. Lots of fun and we'd never had a clan gathering like that before. I had two brothers out from the States where they live, so that was special. By the end of the second day I was sick of people taking photos of me. I knew they didn't mean to be invasive, but it was really obvious that one by one my extended family were trying to get photos of me smiling. I didn't say anything. I'm too polite and passive. But I knew they were wanting to have a nice photo of me in case I wasn't there any more. I felt a bit like an exhibit then. So, I never wore that green hat again. Until now. I do have a cashmere golf cap, which I love to death. I prefer that. I'm not an exhibit in that. Putting on a show, maybe, but not an exhibit.
4 Comments
Occasional Contributor
Harker, with all due respect, are you colour blind? Your avatar's hat is not green, it's kinda brown, but really it isn't a proper colour at all. I did like your little tale of the green hat though. I mainly had scarfs and beenies, being diagnosed in the middle of a British winter, it was freezing - I even slept with a beenie on because apparently you lose something like 80% of body heat out of your head and like you, I had also lost a lot of weight, so being already slim, I had no insullation when I got sick!! A friend of mine who also had Leukaemia bought me a jesters hat, you know the ones you get at the Easter show with the bright colours and the bells? It's interesting that you felt inclined to cover your head. I always wondered if it was just a feminine thing, a kind of vanity that only women feel - I guess not!
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Frequent Contributor
OK, I'm colour blind then. But I'm not known for letting the facts get in the way of a good story. And I'm not starting now. I did want to cover up, I remember. It was cold, sure, but there was more to it than that. Something like this: I usually just go to a barber and say 'Number 2 all over'. It's cheap, easy and quick. My hair had just starterd to fall out and I had sores across my scalp. I said to the hairdresser, a Vietnamese woman, 'I'm taking some medication which is making my hair start to fall out'. I wanted to hear myself saying it, I guess. Her response was 'Oh, well, we are all going to die sometime'. She might as well have slit my throat. It's not just about the cold, but I'm not sure it's all vanity either - even for your lot!
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Occasional Contributor
Bloody hell - some people are just born with their foot in their mouth aren't they? Tact or sensitivity doesn't always come naturally to everyone! My boyfriend left me after I was diagnosed because (in his words) he "didn't sign up for this" - I wondered what made him think I did?? I also agree that perhaps covering a bald head, whether you're male or female, might have more to do with covering evidence of fagility and the precarious nature of your life after a diagnosis, perhaps we're subconciously covering up the fact that we might die? Also, as you rightly point out - some people just get cold!
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Frequent Contributor
I wonder what others might think about the matter of self-presentation?
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