The hairs that were the last to go are now the first to return. My eyebrows and eyelashes are making a rapid and welcome, albeit stubby and slightly punkish, comeback. The nose hairs are a little slower. Head hairs (which left me long ago-- just after chemo #2-- while brows and lashes hung in until after chemo #5!) are snail’s pace slow on the return.
In their absence, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the specialty functions of the brows and lashes. Besides looking sexy—the brows and lashes really do protect the eyes from sweat and dust particles and small flying bugs of which there are many during monsoon season in the India Himalayas. It seems I was always rubbing something out of my eyes while these uniquely shaped and purposely positioned hairs were missing. As for the nosehairs— no not sexy, but in fact they do have an essential job. Without their fuzzy protective filter-- my sinuses have been assaulted repeatledy even though I wear a bandana over my nose and mouth more often than not. I’m just now getting over the last (hopefully) in a multiple series of sinus turned chest-colds that started near the end of chemo#5 after nose hairs departed.
I can’t say what the absence of head hair does other than make people stare (if you’re a woman) or think you’re a nun. Here in Dharamsala, I’m spared the staring since the bald heads of Buddhist monks and nuns outnumber the fully-haired heads. I can say that my personal experience of baldness has given me a new understanding as to why bald men rub their heads so much—it really (really!) feels great. In general, head hair seems dispensable as far as physical function-- a scarf or cap can keep the head warm. And my niece, Jen, early on pointed out the advantage that I wouldn’t need someone to hold my hair back while I was vomiting. But I do miss the aesthetic funtion of having head hair. The new ones are a motley bunch, not much on aesthetics. I couldn’t even name the mixed colors. They are taking their time to grow-- still shorter than my eyebrows which rushed right back. But the hairs that have arrived are soft and silky. Time to get a brush.