To baldly go

Getting your head shaved is one of those big moments. It’s such a bold statement. You can no longer pretend cancer hasn’t happened. Some people get it done as soon as the treatment starts but I waited as long as possible.

For most of my chemotherapy I wore an ice cold cap which protected the hair follicles by freezing my scalp. It worked pretty well but was so painful that in the end I had to ditch it. Thats when the hair loss began properly.

I didn’t go completely bald. Oh, no. I was left with big freaky tufts of soft fluffy hair. It was a cross between a mullet and a mohican. A mullhican if you like.

Meet the mullhican

I really needed to get it shaved off so it would all regrow at the same length. It’s more than five weeks since the chemo ended. Amazingly my eyelashes and eyebrows have already started to reappear. It won’t be long before my hair also comes back to life.

It was good to be doing something kinda normal again. The last time I visited Daniel Galvin, my hairdressers in London, it was a few days before my massive cancer operation. I had a cut and a bouncy blow dry. I wanted to go into hospital with it looking lovely. I’m sure the surgeons appreciated the effort.

My friend Angela has been cutting my hair ever since I moved back to Britain. When I was abroad I had plenty of bad hair days – it had been “accidentally” dyed orange and subjected to many dodgy styles. Angela helped to nurse my hair back to good health. It was finally in great condition and I really liked how it looked. Now I was getting her to chop it all off.

As Angela set to work, she kept checking that I wanted it all gone. I certainly did.

Here come the clippers

It’s taken me months to feel okay about losing my hair. Compared to what I’ve been through it shouldn’t have been a big deal but it was. It’s bad enough to have to fight a killer disease twice. I didn’t want to have another Sinéad O’Conner. However, I slowly got used to being a skinhead again.

Sitting in the busy salon with my tufty mullhican I wasn’t upset or even embarrassed. I was ready for my new look.

I’d thought I was going to get a baldy head, all smooth and shiny. I was worried that I was going to look awful. Instead Angela gave me a number three all over. I managed to avoid getting a close shave. I’’m really happy at how it turned out.

Hey cancer – look – I still have some hair!!!

Tah dah!

Before the drastic cut, I was scared to touch my hair because it would just fall out in my hands. Strands of the stuff got everywhere. It’s now very very short but it feels thick and strong.

With my real hair sorted it was time to introduce Candice and Raquel. This was their first trip to the hairdressers. I needed Angela to work her magic on my wigs and she couldn’t wait to get her hands on them.

The trouble with wearing a wig is that it can so easily look fake. Like a lump of unnaturally big hair that’s been plonked on your head.

Angela, me and Raquel

After both getting a trim, they looked much better and a whole lot less wig like. Even so, I won’t be wearing them all the time. They’re far too hot and itchy.

I’m so glad to have finally got rid of the fluffy mullhican. It was actually making me appear a lot sicker than I was. I had started to hate what I saw. This was something that cancer had done to me.

I’ve taken back control and now when I look in the mirror I see a new start.

14 thoughts on “To baldly go

  1. only very pretty people can cope with short hair – writing as someone with a big nose and knobbly skull…….! you look lovely with and without wig! I DO hope to see you back in the newsroom soon. xxxx

  2. Helen – you look amazing with your no 3! I totally agree with the previous comment: your ‘perfect profile’ looks terrific. Well done on a momentous and decisive act!

  3. I agree with the comments above! You look fab with a #3. You’ve got great bone structure. Like Sinéad O’Conner, you can totally pull it off! It’s a great look. Tough and zesty! xxx

  4. My fav haircut. I get scissored short on the top, then fade from eartop down with numbers 3-2-1. Even though the hair is thinning a bit since I’ve been taking the new meds, it still looks pretty much the same. It’s hard to have a bad hair day when you hardly have any hair!

    PS – You, my dear, look totally fierce and amazing in short hair.

    • Me, fierce? Ohhh that’s a fantastic compliment, thanks! You’re right, there’s now a lot less to get wrong. I feel so much better now I’ve had that cut.

  5. Oh, wow, what a difference between the mullhican and #3. Like it was two completely different persons. I totally agree with the comments above. You look amazing with #3! Not many people can pull it off. It is a fresh, strong start for your hair, as well. Many men I know shave their heads in attempts not to go bold. Unlike their futile battles against genetics, your hair WILL grow stronger, fuller and thicker. Love!

    • Hey thanks so much Una, very kind of you :) I def prefer the #3. It really does make me feel like a different person, much more stronger. I’m amazed at how fast my hair is starting to grow. My eyebrows n lashes will be back in no time! It won’t take too long for my head hair to follow suit!

  6. Wonderful – love that bit about seeing a new start. The hair will grow back soon, and in the meanwhile you have your wig (or an incredibly stylish short do – just give it a month or so). I remember how emotional it was to cut away the hair . . .but it looks like you got through well. And cheers to the eyebrows and lashes returning. Awesome!


    • Thanks :) Oh wow yes in a months time I bet there will be a real difference. It seems to be growing so fast. I’m getting more and more used to wearing my wigs. By the time I have my hair back I may not want to give them up!!

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