Friday, January 4, 2013


That's what I am now. From the time I was diagnosed with cancer, I never really thought I would care about losing my hair. That might sound dumb or untruthful, but there were much more significant things I was worried about than losing my hair. You might remember it was one of the things I joked about with my students to lighten the mood when I first told them I had cancer. We laughed about my baldness and joked about what color my hair would be when it came back.

"Then I will look awesome."
"That would be so cool. I will definitely come show you guys if that happens."

And since I'm going off on a tangent about funny student comments, I HAVE to throw this one in. The whole class was telling me I need to visit, they were making supportive comments, etc. etc., when one of my students said, "Um, Mrs. Christensen, if you do come visit will you PLEASE wear a wig. Bald people, like, really freak me out. Especially bald women." I had to suppress my laughter. "Yes, I think maybe I could wear a wig." "WHEW. Ok good." One thing I love about 5th graders is the wide range in social development. But that is totally a topic for a different day. This was supposed to be one of those DEEP posts where I, you know, talk about emotions and stuff.

My doctor told me I would probably start to lose my hair around Day 14 of treatment and by Day 17 it would be gone. We left to go to my in-laws' house for the holidays around Day 14, so we were sure to bring all my hats, scarves, and my wig with us. I was lucky because my hair didn't even START falling out until around Day 17. Let me tell you though, I had no idea the emotional toll it was going to take on me. My poor husband. Often at night I would just go to bed and cry. And really, it wasn't about the hair. It was about saying my final goodbye to the life that I had wanted for myself. I can't run, I feel sick a lot and tired most of the time, I'm unable to teach, Michael and I can't have children right now . . . it seemed like nothing about my life was normal and cancer-free except for how I looked on the outside. I truly felt like my appearance was the last normal thing I was clinging to, and now even that was leaving me. Michael was so good though. I would be sad and he would just tell me how much he loves me and how beautiful I am and how he was excited for me to shave my head. I look back and am still impressed by him. There were so many wrong things he could have said to me, but he didn't say any of them. I love him.

Anyway, as I ran my fingers through my hair, strands started to come out. It started just a few hairs at a time, but by Day 20 it was a mess. We're talking almost handfuls of hair coming out. It was weird. I was losing so much hair, but because I had so much hair to start with you couldn't tell that my hair was thinning. Despite continuing to look normal, I decided to shave my head just because of the mess my hair was starting to make. My sweet mother in-law first shaved my hair into a mohawk, then just left a nasty little patch on the front of my head, and finally finished shaving it all. I feel pretty proud that I kept it together the whole time she was shaving my head and made it all the way up to the shower before giving in to a good cry.

Then you know what? An amazing thing happened. I got out of the shower, spent an extra long time putting my makeup on, put on the new J.Crew cardigan I got for Christmas, and felt good. I didn't feel hideous, I just felt bald. I then went and put on my wig. It turns out the wig looks better than my natural hair. Amazing. I still totally covet people with hair attached to their heads, and Michael was making fun of me as I frantically wrote down the phone number on the infomercial promising "a full head of hair" to middle-aged men with receding hair lines (Just kidding. Sort of). But I really am surprised that women shaving their heads isn't more popular.

Ladies, let me tell you the benefits of shaving your head:
-Amount of shampoo used to wash hair: I use a bean sized dollop of 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner
-Time to dry hair: 3 seconds to pat it dry with a towel
-Time to fix hair: 0 seconds
-Time spent throughout the day worrying if your hair is in place: 0 seconds
-Points for being "edgy": At least 6
Love this man.


  1. You are freaking beautiful Crystal, though I'm sure shaving your head at first was a huge shock no matter how long you had known it was coming. If I wasn't trying to catch a husband right now, I might have shaved my head with you! I wasn't blessed with a perfect face like you so my hair is all I've got. I would trade my looks for yours with your bald head any day. I love you! Let me know if you need anything.

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey, Crystal. I'm sure it was really hard to do, but you do, indeed, look beautiful!

  3. Yeah, not even joking, I've been talking about how good you look bald to everyone. Hope that's not weird.

  4. Your words, your face, YOU are beautiful. Your thoughts on this journey are amazing to read, love you!

  5. Wow what a great writer you are. I love reading and getting to know the great woman you are becoming.

  6. you look pretty good there! I think you should keep it, all the models are doing it! Seriously, my brother went through chemo and the day before he entered the hospital we had a head shaving party. Then on the day it really fell out we bought swimming caps and wore them to the hospital to visit him. He was pretty yucky, so he didn't think it was too funny, but we enjoyed it! :)
    I'm really proud of the way you are confronting your cancer--that's a good sign for better things to come!

  7. You look beautiful with or without hair! We are praying for you at our house. Thanks for your updates. You are a gifted writer, and an inspiration to all who read your blog.

  8. You absolutely amaze me! You're such a strong woman & an inspiration to us all. You're beautiful inside & out. To me, only gorgeous women can pull off being bald & clearly your gorgeous!! You're in our prayers every day. Keep strong & please keep posting. It may sound selfish on my part, but reading your posts is helping me become a better person by learning from you how to handle adversity. We love you!
    Beckie & Gabriella

  9. I am inspired by your attitude towards the situation. =D You are simply beautiful because of your bravery and your love for life. No wonder your students love you that much. Stay strong and keep us posted! I want to read more of your inspiring stories.

    Paola Basilio

  10. Hello Mrs. C!!! This is Eliza (note passer/shortie) and Annalyse (tall one) from fifth grade (four years ago), when you taught at hobble creek! We were the first class you taught! We miss and love you, and we always talk about how you were our favorite teacher!