Storytellers - Heather
Heather's Story about Hairloss

Heather has been going through chemo for about 10 days. She has continued to work at her waitress job while getting her treatments. Her partner, Dorothy, has been supportive of Heather while she has been dealing with side effects from her chemo.

Heather [getting out of the shower]: I think my hair is beginning to fall out. How am I going to work at the cafe

Dorothy: Well, the nurse told us you were probably going to lose some or all of your hair. Why don't we cut it off. It may not seem so drastic that way.

Heather: But my hair is supposed to be long to show respect for motherhood. Since my own kids have been so bad to us (because of being lesbian), I really didn't want to lose my hair. Plus what am I going to do without eyebrows and eyelashes if they fall out too?

Dorothy: Okay, if you don't want to cut your hair and it is beginning to look like it is starting to fall out, how about if we check into getting you a wig? Since you've still got most of your hair, we can match your hair color pretty well. If anyone at the cafe says anything, you can just say you tried coloring your hair.

Heather: Yeah, but I don't have any money to pay for a wig and with no insurance, can't get one that way either. I think I'd like one.

Dorothy: Do you remember those women who rode their motorcycles to raise money for the Komen breast cancer group? Remember? They were both straight and gay. One of them, Janet, was telling me that they had cut their hair to donate for wigs for children with cancer. I bet we could get some hair from their organization and have a wig made for you. Or better yet, since you're just starting to lose your hair, let's cut it and see if we can have a wig made you're your own hair? She said there was another group of wig-makers who volunteered to make wigs for cancer patients who can't afford them. We can get you one right away from the American Cancer Society and then when your wig is ready, you can wear one with your own hair.

Heather: Yeah, I've been thinking about it. You know I didn't tell you what that Indian woman from the support said to me. She said, "Oh, it won't matter if you lose your hair because you're gay. You can just do a butch hair cut or something. Don't you two trade off who is being the male and who is being the female any way?" Oh, she was so mean. She made me so mad. I'm so sorry she found out about us. I told her, "No, we don't trade off being male or female. We both like being women. And we both like having our hair."

Dorothy: No, you didn't tell me. I'm so sorry. She is just a mean, angry old woman. She just likes to hurt other people. She behaves in a bad way and she doesn't matter to us.

Heather: I just know I am going to feel so out of balanced without hair. I can't explain it. I feel like I'll be stripped naked in public or something. I'm so afraid of this. I go to work and I just forget that I've got cancer, but when I lose my hair, how can I pretend or forget about it. It is just depressing.

Dorothy: then how about calling into work and let them know you'll be a few hours late. Let's go down to the American Cancer Society and talk with them about wigs. They'll help us.

Heather: Yeah, okay, I guess I will.

To read more stories about Heather, click on her leaf above or click Here
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