Sunday, July 22, 2007

A rag, a spleen and a hank of hair

I am troubled by a recent awareness of my spleen. For the last two or three days, I've awakened with a dull backache on the left-hand side, and a feeling that there isn't enough room in my thoracic cavity for all the things that want to fill it. It is probably a side-effect of the drug Neulasta, which I self-injected on Wednesday. The drug, which is intended to stimulate white blood cell production, also causes spleen enlargement.

In ancient humoural medicine, the spleen was regarded as the source of black bile, or "melancholia," an excess of which could lead to a dark and brooding disposition. This last month has given me much to brood about. The dark thoughts, mostly about the big dirt nap..those have been with me as well, although daylight and friendship can usually dispel the worse.

In light of such spleenic thoughts, it seems silly to dwell on that ephemeral crown of women, or at least for yours truly: hair. I was always good at growing hair. Even in my mid-30s, I had a thick cascade of the stuff that fell to my waist. It was a powerful feminine totem: in absence of a high cheekbones or hourglass figure, I was still the woman with the big braid. It may not have been the most flattering look, I'll admit. In my wedding album, there are a couple of photos of my husband in blissful pas de deux with what looks like Cousin Itt from the Addams Family. I tried short hair before, but was always dispirited by the number of times I was called "sir," and the feeling that I just wasn't really pretty enough to pull it off.

In anticipation of hair loss due to chemo, I had a little hair-cutting party at Big Hair, in Roscoe Village. My friends Celia and Kerri provided emotional support and also documented the shearing. It wasn't as traumatic as expected. Just remember to call me "sir" with a smile, and I promise not to hit...very hard.




More from Celia's album

C & K: love and thanks


kw said...

just remember these 8 words:

"Ma'm, you can't bring your son in here."


mylibrarian said...

I once got my hair cut very short in the early 80's, and my husband, a paragon of diplomacy, told me he "liked the shape of my head," and really made me believe he meant it.

However, I think that your cut is very successful.

silentspring said...
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silentspring said...
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The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

K: LOL- I so wanted to tell that story, but it just ain't right to poach other people's awesome anecdotes. I'll always carry a little "son" around with me, now.

My: yes, I know that I sometimes wonder if the shape of my head is still exciting to my man.

Erin said...

Your cut looks great. I heart Big I miss the old Roscoe Village.

The Fifty Foot Blogger said...

Thanks, Erin! Isn't the Village the best? The butt-ugly condo crowd hasn't spoiled it yet, tho I don't think it needs another baby store.