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Why are you all smiles?

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

I’m still extremely high from the news earlier in the day. I can barely contain myself and my patients are curious at my excitement, given my perma-grin. Comments such as, “Are you so happy because it’s Friday” and “Why are you all smiles today” are sprinkled throughout my visits. My patients know nothing about what is going on and as my day progresses, I continue to have difficulties keeping myself in check. I somehow manage to make it through my patient visits, unfocused, but for completely different reasons than the previous day. No other tumors! The words echo in my mind. The proverbial box is wide open and I have no intentions of tucking my emotions away today. It can freely take over my consciousness right now as the feelings of negativity and fear are gone, replaced by complete elation.

The evening plans surrounding my first haircut continue to evolve. I had been extremely apprehensive until hearing the positive results. That cloud of fear, however, had lifted and I wanted to welcome it with open arms! Let’s get this transformation on the road! Slowly my friends begin to arrive. They are filled with accolades and tears, warm and loving embraces. I realized I had been waiting for them all day to help celebrate my good news! I’m excited and tearful. I’m elated, but even more so, determined.

Preparations continue and pictures are snapped before the haircut, in order to commemorate the event. Then “snip”, 16 inches of long, dark, curly hair are gone! I hadn’t realized the extreme weight of all those curls. I felt physically lighter as I held onto the long tail of hair, now separated from my body. Michelle continues to style as I reflect on my day and its emotional extremes. My hair, and all its weight, was taken so quickly from me, just like the burden on my heart I had been carrying just this morning. The pendulum had swung to its polar opposite and I felt free. I also felt exhausted, not realizing the toll fear had physically taken on my body. I replayed my morning monologue. Ruminations of leaving my teenage children behind and the potential loss of my physical life had caused such enormous amounts of pain. Pain which I had an inability to even wrap my head around. I had never experienced the depths where pain and fear can lead, a place threatening to suffocate and drown me in hopelessness. The news I received stating I had no additional tumors was that life raft I needed just as the waters were about to overwhelm me. Michelle finishes with the last touches and I glance at myself in the mirror. It has been a long time since I’ve seen this look, but I’m happy to see her back as she represents a new beginning.

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