Friday, May 20, 2011

Being Judged

There's a Facebook page that I "Like" for Just Ask! about Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer. Yesterday they posted a question asking if you'd be willing to shave your head to show support for a friend who lost her hair due to chemo. Almost everybody who responded, did so with an absolute YES.

I did not. And I explained why. Within the first 20 minutes of my response, I received almost a dozen messages from women I have never met, chewing me out for being a "superficial, heartless bitch", as one woman put it.

I have mentioned an amazing woman several times before here on my blog. Over 23 years ago, we lost my grandmother to ovarian cancer. This is a woman whom I loved and who was almost as much a part of my life as my own mother. If shaving my head would erase the last 23 years and bring her back into our lives, I would do it in a heartbeat.  My hair is pretty, but it won't bring back the dead or cure cancer.

Many women who go through chemotherapy fear losing their hair, and genuinely mourn the loss of it if/when it happens. Chemo patients lose their hair as a trade-off for saving their lives. Many times, the hair grows back once the chemo treatments are over.

Alopecia is different. My grandmother was completely bald by the time she graduated high school. It came back before she met my gramps, and she had her own, full head of hair for a few years after that. She was completely bad again before she turned 30. My mom started finding bald spots when she was 23. They would come and go, sometimes getting so bad she'd have to wear a wig. About 10 years ago, she lost ALL of her body hair. While she likes not having to shave her legs or armpits, she would still prefer not to have to wear a wig.

I'm 33. My hair is still a bit thick, but it is also noticeably (to me) thinner than it was 5 years ago. About 6 years ago, I noticed that my hairline had receeded about 1/2 an inch. While I have not had any bald spots, yet, I do have my hair dresser check every time I go in.  Until you are faced with the very real possibility of losing your hair, and having it never come back, you will never fully understand why I am so unwilling to part with my hair, and you have absolutely no right to judge my decision to keep it.

That being said, I do what I can as far as my hair is concerned.  I grow it out until it is at least 12 inches below my chin.  Then, I get it cut and it gets sent off to Locks of Love.  I grow it out again, and donate, grow it out, donate, etc.  But, I will probably never shave my head bald.


  1. No one has the right to judge another and I am surprised so many instead of thanking you for your HONESTY were mean and rude.
    It was brave for you to comment at all.

    Hope your day is better

  2. I applaud your honesty, and I wouldn't shave my head either. Here's why: I don't have cancer, and I think it's disingenuous and really not concretely supportive to shave one's head as a support gesture to a cancer patient. It's attention for attention's sake (that's how I see it).

    And if I had cancer and lost my hair, and a friend shaved her head in solidarity, I'd kick her and ask why she didn't just come over and clean my house, or bring a meal, or donate to the cancer society, or walk for a cure. I'm grouchy like that.

  3. Did I comment on this? I thought I did but I was having issues with my computer so I am sorry if I repeat myself.
    I commend you for you honesty and it is just so sad that people judge you without knowing the person and/or situation and even then, they should not judge. We all have feelings on things and we should respect one another.


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