The Shrub

When patients lose hair to cancer, it’s slow at first and then it falls out in clumps leaving self-esteem heaped on the floor along with the hair. The word chemo conjures thoughts of bald women draped in scarves and wraps and those that boldly display their beautiful shining heads. My hair dropped out midway through radiation.
duchess-diaries-the-shrubCounted myself amongst the lucky when the doc said, “Your chemo drug doesn’t make hair fall out.” Whaaaa? Sisterella and I danced in his office. He claimed that a first but I don’t know about that. I can’t be the only vain woman in the world.

My hair fell out beneath the razor sharp line created by radiation crossing the back of my head. Like all that lose their hair, it was a tiny bit and then clumps in the hairbrush and at the salon. Miss V, who does my hair, was careful but informed me more than once how large the amount left in the sink. She was a master at making sure the remaining hair was long enough to cover the unusual balding. It grows back in much the same way, slowly at first and then in spurts. She cheers its growth at every visit.

They say some hair returns a different color. Some with brown or blonde hair get treated to gray—torturing them with what the rest of us face in coloring bills. I’ve been coloring so long, only God himself could venture a guess at what color actually sprouts from the roots. Turns out, if my natural color is what’s under there it’s dark brown without a hint of gray. Grays, evidently like to stay up top where they can be seen.

One surprise. It’s growing in really, really curly. So curly that this weekend, Miss V had to round brush it to make it behave. The curly mass causes the longer straight hair to stick out, kind of like a “bump it” that fell down the back of the neck. So twisty curly is the hair that it resembles a shrub protruding from the back of my head. I fear a strong wind.

We christen it “The Shrub” after I tell Miss V it looks like a bush. We decide against calling it “The Bush.” Think about it.

Tamed, The Shrub does make for a more bountiful look in back and layers appear curled in all on their own. It’s not long enough to do anything with, and it won’t get into a pony.I do, however, have a habit of pulling all my hair up and twisting it atop my head for Netflix viewing parties. Usually I remember to pull it out before company so as not to scare anyone.

Oldest Chicken arrives sans invitation and blurts, “What is that on the back of your head?”

“Oh that? It’s my shrub.”

“Oh,” says he and opens the fridge. He doesn’t even ask anymore. Go figure.


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