What did you do to your hair? and other questions about my health.

Hair. It keeps our head warm in winter and prevents sunburn in summer. Some of us have hair and some of us don’t. I started out with very short hair. My mom used to cut it, over the sink. She would cut and cut until she got the bangs straight – or so she thought. I didn’t care, I was a tomboy. In fact, I will never forget the owner of the Chinese restaurant who looked at me in my plaid shorts and Eisenhower Elementary School t-shirt, and asked, “You boy or girl?”

In the 90s, I became a mom, and I had really long, curly hair. That only lasted a few years, and I couldn’t stand it anymore. It literally gave me a headache. So I got it cut, back to a pixie. It was so liberating. Since 1999, I’ve gotten a haircut every three weeks. Every time I sat in the chair, my stylist (and friend) Diane asked, “Same as usual?” And I just nodded. She would change it a little bit every once in a while, and it evolved with time.

Today, I sat in that same chair, and when Diane asked, “What are we doing today?” I said, “Shave it all off.”

dinabandanaYou see, most of my hair fell out over the last few weeks, as a result of chemotherapy treatments. I’m undergoing chemotherapy treatments because I have breast cancer. I guess you’re supposed to say that in the present tense, but it really feels like it’s in the past. My surgery was completed in June, and the prognosis is very good. I won’t go into details about the cancer because that’s not what I’m writing about.

I’m writing about chemotherapy. This weirdly barbaric, kill-all-that-bad-shit-and-maybe-some-good-stuff, you’ll-get-through-it, my wife’s sister’s husband’s cousin’s aunt’s father’s daughter went through that last year, make sure you flush the toilet twice because that stuff is poison, so-called treatment. It ain’t an easy ride. It’s sickening, but it’s different for everyone. I’m doing my very best to deal with it.

Some of you have seen me in the last week or so, and you know that I’m wearing the bandanas regularly. Of course that was easy for me, but I’ll tell you what, it gets tiring. Remember what I said about my long hair literally giving me a headache? The bandana can give me a headache too, after a long work day.

I’ve been working shorter shifts at my day job, and sleeping a whole lot. My gig schedule is very light for now. Once chemotherapy is complete, I’ll start to beef things up again. But, here it is, August, and I expect to see many of you at Musikfest at least once during the 10 days. I have three shows scheduled, and I promise to give you my very best at each one of those.

So, I pondered this for days. Why should I write this? Is it really necessary? Gail and I came to this conclusion. In her words, “People care about you. You can tell them. Also, if they know ahead of time, they will be able to just enjoy the show and not wonder what’s wrong with you.” I agree with her. Please know that I appreciate every one of you, and I know that you wish the best for us. I also need to say that I don’t want to talk about the cancer. I’m focusing on a healthy outcome and that is all.

I want to publicly thank my very dear friends and family for helping Gail and me during the past few months. Regina, and Beth, for stepping in when I really needed to lean on someone. They took the pressure off me and took the show into their own hands. Andy, for doing the heavy lifting when I was weak. Nick, for wrangling the cowpokes for rehearsal. Nina, for dropping everything to take care of me, when I needed it most. Kiera, for so many little things, and reminding me that I am amazing. Donna, for babysitting me and almost giving me a bath. Ramona, for holding the net while I rested. My sister Judy, there is no bond that is greater. And Gail, my Wonder Woman, she is holding up the universe right now.

Peace and love to you all. I’ll see you very soon!

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