Let me tell you about P…
She’s a lot like the older sister I never had. She’s my friend, my confidant, my mentor and she does kick ass hair. We worked together at the hair supply place for many years — she supported my move to a more flexible job that let me finish not only my BA but my Ph.D. coursework. P is one of those friends you can be separated from for a long time and things just click back when you’re together again.
About 3 years ago I walked into her salon in Omaha and shocked the hell out of her. I was bald from chemo.
I couldn’t figure out how to call her and tell her on the phone — it was just too hard. I wanted to see her, to let her know what had happened to me and I needed her hug and hair advice — so I went to see her. I also wanted her to see that I was ok — to be able to look me in the eyes and know that this was just something that happened to me, it wasn’t the end of me.
Since the ex stopped teaching in Omaha, I saw P less often — but when I’d have to go to Nebraska for dissertation things I’d make a hair appointment (because my hair did come back) and we’d talk — I miss her whenever someone else does my hair, because neither the hair nor the conversation is as good as it is with P.
I found out today that P has two kinds of cancer… breast cancer and a much more scary kind of cancer… she’s in the middle of chemo and having some trouble. It makes me sad to be 400 miles away from her, even though I know she has a wonderful husband and family and many friends around her — I still want to visit her, give her a hug and have a chat..
I want to tell her that it’s ok to be bald.
She’s a picky eater anyway (nothing spicy, she’s a good Nebraska girl after all) — so taste changes won’t be huge for her –
I want to tell her that there is life after cancer. All of this is scary — as it should be — but that doesn’t mean you become a CANCER PATIENT…. which is oddly like being a HUSKER FAN, except Husker fans get to drink beer… cancer is something that happens to you, it isn’t who you are. The medical professionals around you will make it easy to become CANCER PATIENT — and I’d love to be around to help her stay P.
I want to bring her avocados — because they taste amazing during chemo.
I want to bring her all the hats and scarves I couldn’t wear when I was bald because they were too small for my enormous head. P knows that I have an enormous head… she comments on it when she does my hair. I also have a lot of hair for a natural blonde… and only P knows when I started getting gray hairs..
I want to bring her the one hat that fit — because it has good karma… and I don’t need it right now.
I want to give her a hug, talk about our lives and give her some time to be distracted from the hospital routine until she needs a nap.
I want to go to her house and cook and clean — lots of small portions of mild food — and some normal food for her amazing husband and family.
I want to make things ok for the woman who is my soul-sister…. and I’m afraid I can’t.
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