This was supposed to have been posted back in April.
My dear friend and fabulous photographer Betsy Prieto had the foresight to think I might want some family photos before my hair fell out and she knew there was a short window in which we could make that happen. Between returning home from a family vacation and her only sister's destination wedding, Betsy hopped on a plane to New York for 3 days. All the stars aligned that week because my two other Vandy friends, Andrea Accardi and Laura Gentles, were going to be visiting as well. Andrea had randomly chosen her dates first, then Laura's OB said this would be her last chance to travel as she was VERY pregnant and Betsy only had those few days between the family vacation and the wedding to make it happen. As luck would have it, it also turned out to the be the week for the taping of the pre-interview for the Today Show.
There was a bit of a slumber party feel to our home for those few days and I loved every second of it. I have to say, I am one of those people who has fantasies of communal living. I'm not so hot on the BIG LOVE communal living...I want my own husband. I do, however, imagine a Kennedy-esque compound where all my family and friends have their own little house on a huge piece of land and there is a big barn where we gather for social events. Okay...now it's sounding a bit like cult. I just want to be close to all the people I love. Is that so much to ask for?
Anyway, back to the photos and my hair. On precisely the morning of the taping of the pre-interview, I hopped in the shower and as I started to shampoo my hair it began to fall out in chunks. My hair was rather long at the time and so as it broke free my scalp and headed south it stuck to my back. I looked like the swamp thing. I swore I didn't care about losing my hair but here was the moment and I began to cry. I shouted to Betsy to grab her camera. I don't know why I wanted to document this moment but I felt I had to be honest with myself. This was going to be harder than I had anticipated. She shot me coming out of the shower and combing my hair as I normally would but this time the wide tooth comb harvested innumerable locks of long wet hair. "Why, today, of all days, do I have to deal with this? I just want to look presentable for this interview. Motherfucker!"
Laura came into the bathroom as I was intermittently holding tears back and letting them flow. "I know it's tough," she said, "but have your moment and let's move on. It's going to be a busy day." I fucking love that girl. It's exactly what I wanted/needed to hear. I had said that losing my hair was not going to be a big deal for me because I had always fantasized about shaving it off at least once in my life anyway. Okay...so it was bigger deal than I thought but we had shit to do and not a lot of time. I got on with getting ready for the day which included blowing out my hair. It continued to be a stressful process because not only were many strands falling out but the ones that were holding on were fraying. I did not see a good hair day in my immediate future. Of course, there was a giant white hair that Laura noticed and tried to pluck but, wouldn't you know, that was the one was making his last stand at the Alamo and wouldn't budge. Seriously, God, you have a sick sense of humor.
I did manage to blow it out and look "myself" that day and for the interview. But we hadn't had enough time or energy to take any photos. The next day Betsy insisted we take some family photos before she took me to my oncology appointment and chemo session. Sadie was about to be picked up for day care so we had 20 minutes to make some family memories. Even with a slight drizzle, she made it fun.
Somehow we made it home from chemo with a little time to spare before Betsy had to head to the airport. My hair had been falling out for two days and was really driving me crazy so she suggested we just go for it. I called my mom and cousin Lara to come over to create a bit of celebratory feeling. We put music on it and my mom started putting my hair in multiple pony tails so I could donate the hair to Locks of Love. The rest is best told in the pictures Betsy captured. See the link below. And have Kleenex ready, the soundtrack can really push you over the edge. Thank you, Bets. I love you!!!