On October 30, 2012, my entire life changed. I was brought in to Lutheran General Hospital for emergency tumor removal surgery, and my cancer detour began. This week, I recognized the one-year anniversary of that day, and while I remember it as a blur, this Wednesday, the feelings I relived were all too familiar. Luckily, my family, friends, and sorority sisters were behind me 100%, and I made it through the day (and the few subsequent ones) feeling stronger and more loved than ever.
I was planning on celebrating Halloween dressed as Alice in Wonderland, my all-time favorite book and cartoon character. However, when I sat to think about things, I made a different choice. One of my biggest insecurities in returning to “normal” post-cancer life has been my hair. It’s growing longer every week, and I’m hoping that soon, it discovers that gravity exists and begins to grow downward instead of outward🙂 I wear my wig still almost every day, and admitting that it is a wig is very difficult- these days, the only person who sees me without my wig is my amazing roommate, Carrah, and that’s only because I don’t sleep or shower in it (though she does continue to assure me that my mop of curls is adorable!).
I decided to embrace every single aspect of my recovery this Halloween, and I went wigless. It took more courage than I would have expected, especially considering how much I loved being bald for a while. I hate that going wigless makes me feel like Cancer Girl again, like I’m still the ugly, broken mess I felt I was when I first finished treatment. So last night, I took the first steps in regaining my full confidence again. It won’t be much longer that I have my beautiful auburn ‘fro, so I designed a whole new costume around it.
Halloween is my favorite holiday, mostly because I can dress up as anyone I want and not be myself. But this year, being someone else was elevated- I showed the real me to the whole world, and while many people just thought I donned a cool throwback movie-character outfit (I can’t count how many frat bros high-fived me for my cool idea), for me, it was amazing for the people who I know and love to embrace me as I am, and for many of them to see my real hair for the first time. I no longer have anxiety about wearing my curly Jew-fro out in public- the only people whose judgments matter are the ones who know how far I’ve come. Special thanks to my roommate Carrah, her friends Katie and Tori, and my sorority sisters (Shannon D, Shannon S, Megan, Lindsey, Kori, Tina, Katie C, Laura, Ashley, and so many others who helped me amp up my confidence during Happy Hour yesterday) for bringing the extra smiles to my face.
Happy Halloween from a very happy Napoleon Dynamite. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go make myself a damn quesadilla and dance to “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai like there’s no tomorrow.