Saturday, June 21, 2008


I wasn't sure what the topic was going to be for today when I sat down here, but after looking at a few blogs I follow regularly, Jen had a post that was almost crying my name!

Jen got her hair cut...12" of it!

When I was young I had long hair. One summer Saturday my dad took my brother and me to see my aunt and grandma (his sister and mom). My mom stayed home and was able to get some things done, as we would be gone all day. They lived about an hour and 20 minutes away.

My aunt happened to be a beautician and her shop was in her house. She didn't work on Saturdays, so it was the perfect day to visit, especially since my dad was off that day too. I'm a little fuzzy on exactly how it "went down" because I was only about 6 years old, but someone suggested I get my hair cut. It could have been my dad, but more than likely it was me. My aunt, always happy to oblige, cut it. My hair is naturally STRAIGHT and very fine, and I definitely did NOT want to sit still for a permanent, so I came home with short, straight hair.

Apparently my mother almost cried. She had made an appointment for my brother (four and a half years younger than me) and I to have our pictures taken. Way back then, having a professional picture taken wasn't at all like it is now. Nowadays, you can basically just show up at Sears or Wal*Mart any time. Back then, you needed to go to a studio to have it done. She was not able to cancel the appointment, so off we went, just a few days after the haircut.

Still hanging on their living room wall are two of me and one of my brother, taken that summer. Heck they were taken so long ago that the pictures are in black and white!

That was the last haircut for a while.

The summer between 5th and 6th grade I went to Girl Scout camp for a week. I had been asking my mom if I could get my hair cut continually, so she finally agreed. It was much easier to take care of when I was at camp with it short. The woman who cut it asked if I wanted to keep it. Of course! What a great idea! So I took it home and put it in my jewelry drawer. She had cut my long hair to shoulder length and gave me bangs.

After that, except for occasional trims, my hair wasn't cut until I was in my last year of college. It was well past my waist and it was at the point where it was really getting in my way. Besides, I was thinking ahead to job interviews and wondering how many teachers were out there with long, straight hair, parted in the middle, and worn behind the ears. Not many, I was sure. So it was time to have it cut off. My aunt cut it for me again. And I kept it again. It was a little above my shoulders this time.

A year or so after getting married, I got it cut pretty short. This time there wasn't enough to save. And this time I kept it short for a few years. And I also started doing the permanent thing too. Then the time came to let it grow again.

When I had Joey it was a little below my shoulders. When I had Alex, three and a half years later, it was a little shorter. Coincidentally that's when I had absolutely NO more time for anything like haircuts, so it began to grow. I had Ted just trim some off the ends occasionally. I mean, how hard could it be? Just hold it and cut straight across, right? I rarely just wore it hanging down anyway.

Sometime around 2000-2001 I decided to get it cut again, and saved about 8" of hair. I even got a loose perm, so it didn't look too bad. A year or so later, I got it cut again, but didn't save it.

In late 2002 I had a hysterectomy. In early 2003 my hair suddenly started coming out by the handfuls. In the shower I would wash my hair and have all these strands in my fingers when I finished. I was getting really worried, so I went to my doctor. He told me that it was a combination of the anesthetic, the immediate change in hormones, and my age.

Gee, how crappy was that?

He told me it would last around 3 months, then it would stop falling out and most of it would start growing back in.

I also went to a beauty salon for a consult. I needed more than just the doctor's opinion. The hairdresser they "assigned" to me was great. She looked at my hair really close, checked the follicles and texture and she basically gave me the same info the doctor did. She also suggested a shampoo and conditioner designed just for people who have hair falling out. It was supposed to help keep the follicles open so that new hair would have an easier time growing. I wish I could remember the name of the stuff, because it really did help.

I made another appointment with her for a cut and perm. This time before I could even say anything she suggested that I keep my hair.

My thoughts were that if for some reason my hair did NOT grow back in and it kept falling out, I might have enough hair saved to have a wig made for myself. Apparently that's what she was thinking too, but at the time she didn't know that I had hair at home.

A couple of years later she cut my hair again. By this time a lot of it had grown back in, so it was a little thicker. It also grows fast, so she braided it for me and then cut it off. She didn't even ask about saving it, but put it in a bag for me. She knew I would want it.

Since then, I get my hair cut about once a year. I usually get about 6" or so cut off. I just tell her that I want it long enough to be able to put it in a ponytail, and that's it. I usually have her perm it too, so I can have a little bounce to it.

A few months after my cancer surgery in 2005 I sort of expected it to begin falling out again and it did. About three months later, it stopped...just in time for me to have my colostomy "take down" surgery. And it happened again. By the time August of 2006 rolled around my hair was starting to look a little thin. Thank goodness I had been blessed with really thick hair when I was younger.

Now a lot of it has grown back in, but it's not nearly as thick as what it was when I was a child, but if it all falls out for some reason or another, I have a LOT of hair in my dresser drawer.

It's about time for my annual cut and perm and I'm really ready to have it cut now. It's about a third of the way down my back and I'm ready to go short...I'm sick of messing with my hair. If it didn't grow so fast I would probably go with a stylish, layered cut, but I don't want to be tied down to going to the beauty shop every six weeks.

But maybe I should start seriously thinking about it....


Paulie said...

I was surprised to hear that you have saved it all. . . since your hair grows so fast, why not donate to a cancer patient that would need it? I know your medical background too but your hair seems to keep coming back. But then, it's your choice. . .

Jen said...

That's a handy thing to have, if you ever need it!