I thought I'd be writing one of at least two different posts today. In my head, I'd half-composed something about the fact that I was finally asked if we'd had Young Master assessed for some sort of behavioural disorder. Then Mel wrote this intriguing post about communal parenting, and I was going to muse on the subject in a cross-cultural context. But actually what I'm going to write about today is how I've decided to not change my hair colour. Well, it is and it isn't about changing my hair colour. You'll see what I mean.

The first time I met my current hairdresser he asked me, in incredulous tones, how long it had been since I'd last had a haircut, and why. I opened my mouth to explain it to him - some people do with their hairdressers - and closed it again because it was all too hard. I'm not sure I could have conveyed - in fact, I'm not sure I can now - the tortuous year of failed FETs from that first cycle; how in the end we lost Jester and had our recurrent pregnancy loss workup; how something changed, somewhere inside me; how I made the decision to shelve our remaining embryos in order to move ahead with a fresh cycle, a fetching swept fringe and some highlights.

The last time I saw him he asked me, in incredulous tones, who'd cut my hair most recently. I admitted I'd had it done by someone else whilst on holidays - again. The story of my hair is a story of getting bad haircuts on holidays. "For the longest time I told myself it was because I never got time time during a normal week," I told him, "but I've realised that's not it at all. It's actually harder to make time when you're away. And it takes longer, because you first have to find a hairdresser. No - the reason I always get my hair cut when I'm away is because I like the surprise of not quite knowing what I'll end up with. It's a little travel game, like ordering "a coffee" or "a tea" just to find out what comes and in what ways it's different to the stuff you'd get at home."

"But with a tea or coffee, if it's bad, you can't always just stop drinking it," my hairdresser responded, still incredulous. "With a haircut you have to walk around like that for as long as it takes." I shrugged and observed that eventually it grows. Then I explained that since I had no holidays coming up, I was thinking of booking in for a new colour instead. Something other than boring old mouse. I thought about discussing how this related to my life's increasing stability and my aims to start progressing again with my career, but I skipped it because we obviously have different philosophies on hair.

This morning I found myself standing in front of the mirror with my hair brush for a very long time. Young Miss and Master were outside "planting flowers" in the box on the patio, which is code for "spreading dirt around everywhere and tracking mud through the house". I wasn't really paying attention. The forefront of my mind was occupied by the thought that I didn't want to change my hair colour after all. At some point, Young Master wanted help with something, and when he didn't get a good response he peered at me curiously.

"Are you crying?" he asked. And I confirmed that I was. "Why?" I muttered something about Grandma being very sick, maybe. Actually, I don't know what's going on - my parents have never been very good at transmitting this sort of information. I know there was some sort of problem with my mother's last mammogram which happened at some ill-defined point in the past, or perhaps it was an ultrasound, and that the GP is in the process of scheduling some sort of surgery, and that maybe there will be other treatment as well, or not. Is it a biopsy? Is it a mastectomy? They got a "confirming phone call" from the GP earlier in the week. Confirming what? It's like getting blood from a stone, and about as successful. My father assures me he will tell me more as he gets to know more, except he won't - I know I will be hard pressed to draw what he knows out of him, and there will be countless questions he simply won't have thought to ask. Is this a scare or is this the real thing? And if it's the real thing - I mean, it sounds like they've completed several steps of workup already - does that mean the cancer my mother battled twenty odd years ago is finally breaking out, never to be fully contained again? My mother is not speaking to anyone and won't come to the phone. My sisters don't know. I wouldn't either, if I hadn't rung this morning and asked if my mother could chat.

I've always felt that my mother's breast cancer was part of my infertility story, or perhaps it's more accurate to just say it's part of my story. I met The Earl during her initial battle. It informed my sense of timing and my decisions on treatment. I'm not really sure where to go with this paragraph. I don't actually know what's going on - at present, I am only imagining the worst. At least I hope it's only imagining. But it doesn't sound very much like previous scares. And I don't know what to do.

I had a lot more to say in my head. I was going to end with some profound metaphor on life, and hair, and how I like the thrill of not knowing quite knowing what they mean by "tea" in Cambodia and ordering it anyway and perhaps getting stuck with something unpalatable, and how I don't mind if I sometimes walk around looking like a bad eighties music video for a month or two at a time. But there are ways in which I also long for predictability and continuity, and times when the most I can do to achieve it is to fail to visit the hairdresser for a while. In any case, I think, for now, I'll stick with mouse. I don't have much else to conclude with.

One Comment

Lollipop Goldstein said...

It is hard to not know things, but harder still to sense that the information is out there and just inaccessible to you. I hope that you get answers soon and that the answers don't speak to your worst fears.

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