Wednesday, June 15, 2005
It's Official -- We Shaved Johnny's Hair Off
Last week in anticipation of Johnny loosing his hair, Mike shaved his head. BALD. Not a #1, but BALD -- as in Mr. Clean bald. A few days later at Johnny's next clinic visit, the nurse told him that some kids don't loose their hair. I laughed so hard! But Mike likes his hair short. So he will probably keep it.
Today Jon was in a great mood, almost my little Johnny hoo-hoo again. Happy, singing, jumping around (kinda). Each day I do a "test" on Johnny's hair to see if it has started falling out. Nothing. Until today. Every time I ran my hands through his hair, a pretty good amount was falling out. Then, Johnny started to see what he could get out! When I asked him in the hospital what he was going to do, shave it or let it fall out, he NEVER answered me. Just ignored my questions. He loves his hair. I mean really loves it. I knew it would be hard for him. But today, he didn't seem to have a problem -- he said "Let's Do it!". I got the razor, Mike, Joey and the camera. We went outside and Johnny sat down on a stool. Mike started to shave his little head.
At first we were all joking around. Mike gave him the "Flock Of Seagulls" haircut -- shaved on one side, long on the other. Then a Mohawk. Suddenly no one was laughing. Especially Johnny. He was real quiet, and I got all choked up. Mike and I try not to get emotional in front of the kids. Johnny's head is down and I am just staring at my baby. It's hard for me too. Now he is really sick. Cancer sick. Suddenly, his cheeks become more pronounced as with his belly. His arms and legs are like twigs. His joints are bigger than the rest of his limbs. He looks pale. It was like Mike shaved off the "healthy" part of him or something. It's hard to explain...
Mike finishes up and I take Johnny's picture. WOW. I'm sad. Mike is sad. Johnny is sad. But no of us show it. We all have fake grins and say it looks good. I hand Johnny the mirror. He looks at himself in utter shock. I think he wants to cry, but he stays strong. He gets his hat collection and takes them to the mirror. He tries them all on and quickly finds out that baseball caps don't cut it -- they don't cover enough of his head. Next he goes to his sock hats, and they go all the way down to his hair line on the back of his neck. "Perfect", he says no one will know. He takes his hat off again and looks at himself for a long time. His eyes are as big a saucers, just staring. I think it has hit him too, that he is seriously ill. Hard stuff to take when you're only seven. But the little guy is strong.
The worst thing you can do to a cancer patient is say they look good with their heads shaved. Because they don't. I know that everyone is trying to be nice, or trying to make conversation, but telling them it looks good is like saying "this cancer thing looks good on you..." Or "it's a good summer time haircut". I know it might be extreme, and I am his mother, and all hyper sensitive to everything. But let's face it. No one CHOOSES this look, they don't do it because it's not attractive. Also, I think most cancer patients don't want to hear that it will grow back thicker, or a different color or texture.
That's just me. I could be wrong, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. What should you say? I don't know, I wish I had the answer, but compassion goes a long way...