My husband is bald.
He's been bald before. And he's a good looking bald man. But people who know him ask quiet questions.
They know things have changed around here, in regards to the tumors. They know we're on higher alert, that we still haven't balanced seizure medications. That we're getting more frequent MRIs and now EEGs and that things are not as constant and simple as they had lulled us into believing they were. Each time I think about how much time has passed, I can't help but recognize how unfathomably fortunate we've been. Seven and a half years. We've been doing the astrocytoma thing for seven and a half years. And I haven't seen M bald for seven of them.
M's hair never really grew back quite right on the radiation side. And it's been thinning rapidly over the last year or so. So M made the call to bic the lot of it- return to the cue ball aesthetic.
It works on him, the handsome devil.
But it means things. It must mean things.
No matter how shapely his skull or how bright his eyes, people wonder when they see the scar.
He's fine. He's fine. He's fine.
(Part of a panicked part of me deep in my chest wants to scream, He's NOT!, and I ignore that. Most of the time.)
We're cutting our Christmas in Minnesota a little short for him to make it to his next set of MRIs, to make sure he gets them before his doctor has her baby. Because you accommodate your friends like that, and M's neurology team, they're are friends.
We've known them for years. Years. And we all know that really, M is fine.
(Even if the RNs we joke with suddenly seemed stone faced and breathless when they ordered more frequent tests. That was just me seeing it, right? That wasn't real. That wasn't what was happening. That was nothing. I don't have to think about that.)
And let's face it, the baldness works for him. He's tall and handsome and manly and broad, his eyes are brighter when they're not competing with his receding locks. They twinkle brighter. His eyebrows seem darker, more dramatic. Sexier, even.
Baldness works on that man.
I had worried that the kids wouldn't recognize him. The toddler, anyway. I worried she'd freak out when Daddy appeared looking like a bad rendition of himself. But of course she didn't. Instead, M stormed into the kids' bedroom, and announced, "Guess what? I wouldn't let Mommy brush my hair, and look what she did!!!" Today he even helped me get them all to agree that really, they could use a trim, too.
(What's good is now they see him bald and normal. Now if the tumors are growing or back he won't have to lose his hair, and he'll look normal to them. Now if he's sick and he gets sicker and I have to tell them about how sick their daddy is, at least he'll always look like Daddy to them.)
I like it. He likes it. He likes that he can snuggle up under my million of blankets with me and not overheat, now that his excess heat escapes through his giant hot bald head. I like that I can warm my hands on it, as I sit up holding my kindle after the kids are asleep.
I like tracing my fingers over its topography.
No amount of hair clubs for men can make it grow back. And that's okay, because this time it's not chemo and radiation making it fall out. So that's okay.
|M's first bald day, seven and a half years ago|
(But suddenly it's not for me, because it doesn't matter if he's young or if he's old. I don't want to lose him either way. I don't want to lose him to cancer or seizures or Alzheimer's or heart disease or diabetes or anything. I don't want to lose him period, and if he gets old someday he has to die.)
He's fine. He's a fine bald man. A foine bald man.
I can not panic. I can differentiate between irrational hysteria and what truly is.
(It's not hysteria if it's true. It's not hysteria if it's right.)
Still, as always, I am comforted by that little voice of panic. Because I know something true about myself- when the shit gets real, I am a rock. I am solid. I am unyielding and unbending. I take care of what has to be done. I take care of it. If the panic is there, things are okay. things aren't so bad. I have the luxury of harboring a few waves of fear.
Because M is just fine.