I wasn’t prepared for the physical pain of losing my hair. My scalp felt like it was being stabbed by thousands of tiny needles. On my way home from work, I stopped by the shop in Wheaton, Maryland, where I’d bought my wig. My head was on fire. I was crying when I went in and asked a woman there for help. I didn’t know what she could do for me. She knew. She took me to a sink and gently washed my head. It was soothing, both physically and emotionally. A lot of my hair was washed off and went down the drain. My head looked patchy, but I felt relief.
The remaining hair still hurt my head. I asked my sister, Cheryl, for help because I couldn’t deal with it. She came over and carefully washed my head. She brought an old pair of pantyhose to catch the hair that came out in the kitchen sink. Most of the hair vacated my scalp, except for one little patch in the back. The process and pain of losing my hair was almost over. She made me laugh when she looked at me and recited, “Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear. Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair. Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he?” Only my sister….
A close friend, Donna, and her husband, Nilante, came over to visit. I took off my little bandana scarf to show them my head. When Nilante saw that last stubborn patch of hair, he said, “Oh no, that’s got to go.” He came back the next day and gently and expertly shaved it off. I was so grateful for that simple act. The transition was over and my head was no longer crazy-patchy. I was transformed.
I told Donna it was too hot to wear the wig, and I didn’t know what else to do. She and Nilante had an African seamstress make five colorful scarves and they showed me how to tie them. I experimented with different looks. The scarves made me a stylish survivor.