Yesterday at lunch I returned to Hair with Care to have the final (at least for now) touches put on my customized wig.  I can’t begin to say what a difference there is between the customized version and the original.  Jennifer has done such an amazing job with it!  The first time I tried the wig on, it looked like an animal of some kind was attacking my head.  But now it looks uncannily close to my real hair (which might still look like an animal attacking my head, but at least it’s an animal that I’m accustomed to).

Jennifer makes a few little trims here and there, shaping it to my face perfectly.   We discuss putting bangs in it (I cut myself bangs several months ago in a fit of boredom), but I decide to live with it for a while before going down that road.  Because face it, it’s not going to grow back; if you don’t like it after you cut it, you’re stuck with it.  Besides, it’s cute just the way it is, and Jennifer has even trained the hair to sit off of my face the way I like it.

She shows me how to care for it, how to spritz it with water at night, and place it on a foam mannequin head with t-pins to hold it and shape it the way I want it.   She shows me how to put the headband on which helps hold the wig in place.  How to put the wig on, and center the ear tabs just over each ear to ensure that it’s sitting correctly on my head.  How to brush it and tease the little “baby hairs” at the forehead.

It may need further tweaks after my hair falls out, but for now, she’s perfect.  And yes, it is a she.  Jennifer says everyone names her wig; what am I going to name mine?  What’s the model name of the wig?, I ask.  She says, It’s called Pretty Woman.  So I guess I’ll call her Julia, I say.  Jennifer laughs, puts Julia pinned to her mannequin head in a tote bag for me with all her accessories, and I head back to work.

Even though it’s September, it’s still steaming hot in Atlanta, so I’m scared to leave her in the car.  She’s real hair, so I don’t think it’ll hurt her, but I feel better taking her with me.  Julia’s foam head has a super-long neck, so her scalp is sticking up over the top of the bag a bit.  As I get on the elevator, I realize that it quite possibly looks as though I’m carrying a severed head in my tote bag.  I don’t worry too much about it; stranger things have happened at some of my workplaces.

Julia’s quite a hit back in the office.  Everyone wants to see her and touch her.  Our CFO is fascinated by her.  He keeps saying, It feels like real hair.  I keep saying, It is real hair.   Another friend plays with her for a while before putting her back in the bag, saying, Well, I’ll get out of your hair now.  We both crack up.

Going home that night, I put Julia in the passenger seat.  I mean, where else is she supposed to ride?  So Julia rides shotgun, and we head home.  At one point, I have to hit the brakes a little hard, and Julia plunges head-first (or maybe scalp-first since she’s only a head?) into the floorboard.  I scream, Julia!! Noooooo!!  My three thousand dollar wig is upside-down in my cheeto-dust infested floorboard.  It’s a frightening moment.

When we pull in the driveway twenty minutes later, I’m finally able to rescue her from the grunge pit.  She’s fine, not a single cheeto in her hair.  Julia is one tough cookie.  I take her inside and give her a home on my dresser.  There she sits, looking lovely, ready to spring into action if I should need her.  And I will most likely need her soon.  Today was chemo infusion number two.  Normally this is when patients start to notice drastic hair loss.

To get myself ready for this, I took a pair of scissors last night and whittled my hair down to a short ‘do.  I’m thinking “baby steps.”  Let’s just get used to it being much shorter before I have to get used to being completely bald.  I haven’t had short hair since the 8th grade, so this is quite a change.  But I find it fun, and sitting in the sauna this afternoon without hair stuck to my neck was quite nice.  I even got a few compliments on it today, so I guess it can’t be that bad.  And if the thought of whacking your hair off with scissors makes you shudder, don’t worry; curly hair is very forgiving.  If my hair had been straight, I would have left the whacking to a professional (And of course, by that I don’t mean the godfather, but a hair stylist).

I imagine, at most, I’ll have the whack-job for a week.  Then Julia will get to step in and do what she was meant to do in life, her raison d’être, i.e. giving me a semblance of normality in a time that’s suffused with the abnormal.   We’ll hit the town and see if anyone notices that she’s just along for the ride.  I’m not sure if I can take her out without humming that song to myself though.  I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth/ No one could look as good as you.  Hopefully, no one will guess that she’s not “the truth.”  But I have to say, the second line sums her up perfectly.