Saturday, September 17, 2011


My hair started falling out in earnest yesterday. Quinn and I were playing on the floor after daycare, when I picked him up for a hug. He leaned in - mouth wide open, drool spilling out - and grabbed on tightly to my hair to pull my face in for a kiss. I love his snuggles. And I knew as it was happening what I would find in his little fist.

Earlier in the day, my scalp had started hurting, like I wore it too tightly in a ponytail and the hair was having trouble lying flat again. A nurse at the infusion center explained that it's the hair follicles dying. Fine, as long as the cancer is dying, too. I am fascinated by how easily my hair comes out when I pull at it now, but I'm trying to be gentle and not tug on it too much, so I can keep what I have just a little bit longer. And my legs? They are almost as smooth as a baby's butt (almost). Bonus: no need to shave anytime soon.

On a side note, my 33rd birthday was this week. On Tuesday morning, I awoke to forty-six new Facebook messages, and the posts continued pouring in throughout the day. My best friends all posted photos of themselves (and their kids) wearing pink bracelets in support of my fight. My dad flew into town from Texas for the occasion. I got flowers delivered and cards in the mail. I am so far behind on emails because my inbox was flooded with notes from well-wishers and happy birthday-ers. My brother, sister-in-law and mom gave me a collection of hats and scarves for me to wear once my hair is gone. And Chris and I went to bed at about 9:15 that night, laughing at ourselves because there were so many birthdays past when we didn't even start getting ready to go out until 9 o'clock. But you know what? We got a full 8.5 hours of sleep that night, with only a quick middle-of-the-night feeding of our drool-Bug. It was a really good birthday, as far as birthdays go.

And then yesterday, Chris told me, "Oh, we have something at the house tonight at 6, for your birthday."

"Do I have to clean up? Are people coming over?"

"Not physically," he said.

"Are you having a seance?" my dad joked when I told him Chris had something up his sleeve.

I was curious, but I had no idea how blown away I was about to be.

Just after 6, Chris sat me down in front of our computer, and then started a slideshow put together by my eight best girlfriends from college (yes, eight; we are a lucky and tight-knit group). The slideshow opened with a video of two of my friends in a beauty shop, telling me what they were about to do. And then it cut to the photos - from Amman, Jordan; Boston; NYC; San Francisco; Baltimore; and Washington, DC. These eight women collectively cut off what I'm guessing was about 75 inches of their hair to show their solidarity with me as I go through treatment. I was choked up and crying as I watched. When the slideshow was done, the screen faded to black, and then there they were, live and on-screen via Skype, showing off their new, short hair-dos and wishing me a happy birthday from around the country.

Have I mentioned how lucky I am? My friends are some incredible and beautiful women - with or without their hair.


  1. Your friends are as wonderful as you are. K

  2. Jen,
    You are a wonderful, beautiful, courageous, and strong woman. We are keeping you and the family in our prayers.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are an inspiration!
    Much love,

  3. What a tribute to you and your friends. Wow!