Chemotherapy drugs work by targeting cells that divide quickly. Unfortunately, they can’t distinguish between cancer cells and other, beneficial, fast dividing cells, such as white blood cells and hair cells.
Chemists have developed a drug, given to cancer patients 24 hours after chemo, which helps re-build the white blood cells, so the bodies’ immunity system is not overly compromised.
However, there is no drug that helps re-build hair cells. That’s why most chemo patients lose their hair two to three weeks after chemo starts. Generally, it re-grows when chemo is over.
Knowing that side effect would come, I went from chin length to pixie to buzz cut for transition, and had determined I would shave my head as soon as the fall out started. I’d always tried to teach the girls true beauty came from a woman’s spirit, character and heart; but I certainly wasn’t looking forward to the most obvious side effect of chemo.
My husband, Brian, told me he was going to shave his head too.
“Please don’t,” I asked. “I love your hair.”
He has thick hair, the color of ripe wheat with the sun on it.
No amount of persuasion would change his mind. He was determined, even when the girls found out and begged him not to.
“It’s bad enough when one parent has to go bald,” said my eldest daughter. “Not two.”
About a week before my hair had even started to fall out, he did it. I was in the bathroom, completely miserable after my first rough week of chemo mess, trying to brush my teeth, so I could crawl back into bed for the night.
His 6’5” frame blocked the light coming in the doorway. I turned my head and saw the shine on his.
“Oh, no. I wish you hadn’t,” I blurted out. “I loved looking at your hair.” I was totally sick, discouraged, blurred by chemo fog and completely unable to appreciate what he had done.
“I did it for you,” he said.
“But that just makes it all seem so much more REAL,” I whimpered.
He turned and walked away. Even in misery, I knew that my response was not the one he had wanted.
I hobbled down the stairs. I knew where I’d find him: the front porch swing. Our spot.
I sat down beside him and put my hand on his knee. Rain was falling softly, bringing freshness and relief from the heat.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
“You have to understand how I feel,” he replied. “All I can do is stand by and watch you suffer.”
“But you support me in so many other ways and take care of me.” I offered. “You didn’t have to do this, too.”
“It isn’t enough, he said. “I would take every needle prick, every scary procedure, every drug that makes you sick, every hurt, every side effect, times 100. If I could suck all the cancer cells out of your body and put them into mine, I would. But, I can’t. I feel so helpless.”
“It’s also not going to feel good,” he continued, “when I wake up in the morning and wash and comb my hair, knowing that you are dealing with losing yours.”
“Besides,” he added, “I want all the men at work to know that I love you, support you completely and am standing by you every step of the way through this.”
My eyes filled with tears at how loved by him I was, finally able to accept his gift.
We sat in silence for awhile, just listening to the rain.
“Thank you,” I said, gazing up at his precious, bald head. “Please explain that to the girls, so they understand, too.”
Later that night, he did, and reported back that they were quiet for a minute, then immediately started calling him “Egghead” and “Baldy.”
I think that was a good sign.
When it comes time for them to choose a spouse for life, I pray they accept nothing less than the complete devotion their daddy has for their mama.
In Ephesians, chapter 5, Paul writes this:
Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle, or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
If you love Jesus, and believe in Him, then you are part of His church. The church isn’t a building, it’s all who call Jesus “Lord.”
As His church, we are His bride.
Jesus didn’t want to stand by and watch us suffer. Being fully man, and yet still fully God, He WAS able to take all the sin cells out of our bodies and put them into His. The death that was ours to die because of sin became His. He carried it to the cross, died our death and was raised to life; giving us life in Him.
1 Peter 2:22-24 (NIV)
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate, when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
Jesus took your place: He became sick with sin, so you would be well, miserable, so you could be free, blamed, so you could be blameless. He chose death so you could live.
You are LOVED by Him.