Boca Raton Forum–Survivor advice on poodle hair and nausea pills

October 9, 2013

The woman was wearing a scarf on her head.

“It will grow back,” I said when she walked by me at the Lynn Cancer Institute recently.

She came over and sat down.

“Really?” she said. “I sleep with the scarf.”

“When it grows back you’ll have poodle hair for a while; don’t get scared,” I told her. “Your regular hair will come back in fine. See.” I showed her mine. “I was bald too.”

“How long will it take?” she asked.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2000 and spent the next year in treatment. I don’t remember how long it took for my hair to grow back.

But the sisterhood of survivorship compels me to offer the poodle hair warning whenever I see a bald woman.

I’ve done it on stage when survivors gather for the final of the Komen South Florida Race for the Cure [it’s Jan. 25 this year]. The woman behind me was bald and in tears one year. She just shook her head. She heard me.

I do this because the longer it gets from the diagnosis, the more survivors like me are considered an inspiration. We lived.

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