Sitting at the kitchen bench tonight my daughter handed me a clump of hair.
I took it from her as though it were something everyday – a bit of rubbish or something she no longer wanted to eat (four year olds do decide mid chew they don’t want what they are eating and hand it to you)- and I put her hair clump in the bin.
I looked at my husband with a sad sort of bewildered face and called the boys to dinner. No words exchanged. The sausages were ready.
There is no denying one month into treatment Ruby’s hair is falling out. It is thinning. We can see her scalp. Not sure how long we have before she has no hair. Then she will look like she has cancer. No denying it. Everyone will know. Even strangers.
A part of me wants it gone as I know it has to go so it can grow back when she is better. I want her to be better. So goodbye blonde beautiful hair.
Another part of me wants the hair to stay. I wonder what if she is the child who doesn’t lose her hair. I keep being told all children are different. Maybe Ruby will be the girl who keeps her hair.
I know that this won’t be the case. But my mind still cannot stop wandering in all sorts of directions, hopeful directions.
Ruby and I have been reading Rapunzal of late. And watched Tangled a few times on television. Lots of television watching when you have cancer!
I am not a fan of fairy tales – the whole happily ever after and the prince marrying the beautiful princess, and so on. But have to say after the, what felt like, 100-th time reading Rapunzal, both Ruby and I stopped at the end and said “Rapunzal is like Ruby” … She had long blond hair and it was cut off, but everyone still knew she was beautiful (her voice did not change, her kind heart did not change) and her hair grew back! (and she married the prince). Ruby is adamant though she is not marrying a prince!!
Strangely this story has really connected with Ruby (apart from marrying the prince that is) and her inevitable hair loss. Maybe that is why she handed me the clump of her hair tonight without even a blink of an eye.
Ruby is okay I think with losing her hair. She is going to be like Rapunzal after all. Who knew a fairy tale could help a four year old on her leukaemia journey. Not sure the author ever intended it that way …
Oh and one more thing to add. The nurses keep telling me that when hair grows back it is usually dark and curly. How crazy is that … can’t wait to see!