Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tonight I helped my husband shave his head...

To say this wasn't how I expected to spend my evening is putting it mildly.  But then, I didn't expect that we'd still be in the midst of his battle against cancer a year following his diagnosis.  I didn't expect him to have to start chemo again so soon (the doctor said, "You know how I said it could be 6 months or it could be 36 months?  Well, 6 months it is").  I didn't expect my husband to lose over 100 lbs in a year.  And since he didn't lose his hair last time, I didn't expect him to lose it with this wave of chemo treatments.  But it's a different cocktail, and so Friday morning I walked into the bedroom to find him sitting on the edge of the bed with his pillow in his lap, showing me that it was covered in hair that had fallen out of as he slept the night before.  Switch the pillow case and repeat Saturday morning, then again this morning, and now it's Sunday evening and as I type this my husband is sitting in front of the mirror shaving his head.

We didn't think it'd be such a long, difficult process, this hair removal thing.  For starters, I didn't realize that in the last year he threw out his clippers.  Those would've made things much easier.  But we don't have them anymore, so I got out the scissors and cut his hair as close as I could, then he busted out the shaving cream and razor.  He gets worn out really easily, so 5 minutes into the shave he asked for a seat.  

As always, I think it's more upsetting for me than him.  He keeps saying, "It's hair, it'll grow back eventually."  But I think for me watching this happen is a visualization of just how sick he is right now.  He looks like a cancer patient now.  I can't hide from it anymore.  And I can't hide from the fact that I'm scared.  

So I should be working on this week's lesson plans, or the slide show for our school family assembly that we're holding this week.  But instead I'm sitting here typing, trying to hide the fact that I'm crying, while I watch my husband shave his head.  


  1. Rachel, your poignant post leaves me speechless. You have a gift. tonight when you could have withdrawn into yourself, you shared a glimpse of the reality of the challenges you and John are living with every day. Thank you for reminding me love has many facets. Please know you and John are loved and we are praying for you each day.

  2. Keep sitting there crying. Your lessons will teach themselves because you are a more than capable teacher. Sitting there with John, helping hold his grief, and then writing so that the world can share your grief with you, is the single most important thing that you can be doing right now. You are not alone. People all over the place are sending love, prayers, and strength your way. Even when we don't tell you. For now, know that I'm sending a hug and lots of love...

  3. And yet, the fact that you're typing this, sharing it with all of us, means that you're not hiding from it. You're not guarding your heart from it and tucking it away for later. You're not just putting on a brave face so that people will think you're strong. You're being open and honest with us, but more importantly, with yourself. That shows more strength than you may know. I'm so proud of you.

    I know you're scared and I know you feel alone sometimes. Don't forget that you have Someone you can turn to who knows all that's happening and feels all your pain and fears.

  4. Holding you and John in my heart. ❤️

  5. Dear Rachel, you are LOVED by your school community, and by those of us who have been school community. Ditto on Rebecca's comment. The Lord knows this all. He is with you, He is mighty to save and will fight with you in this battle. There are others who are fighting with you in this, the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who are already in the fight, and others who will go through the fight with you. Sending many hugs your way, dear friend!

  6. Rachel, my heart aches for you. I remember the first time I saw my mother without her hair as she was battling cancer. Your words are so poignant. Seeing her without hair drove home the reality that she was indeed battling cancer. But keep that in mind, John is battling. He is fighting cancer with all his might, supported by your love and care, filled with powerful medication and anchored in the prayers of so many who are praying that God would heal him but more importantly give him peace as he walks through these difficult days. That is my prayer as well; that God would heal John and give you both the peace and strength that you need to endure. Thank you for sharing your journey. Keep the faith. Cry when you need to and be sure to take care of yourself. I love you!