It was completely gone. All of it. We had prepared for this moment for weeks but now it was official.
Wes and I shaved our heads before I started chemo to make the “final hair loss” less drastic, but before we knew it the day where it would all fall out had arrived. I made the motion to dry off my head after showering and the remaining stubble that had grown back from the initial head shave found its final resting place in the towel that I stared at in my hands.
I thought I was prepared for that moment, but when it arrived I was frozen. The intravenous chemotherapy that was making its best efforts to destroy my cancer had officially made its ravaging impact on my hair.
Losing my hair felt much better when I was in control of shaving it: I even felt empowered that I had made the decision to remove the hair myself, but that day the cancer treatment that had the final word. It was unsettling to say the least.
I found myself reading Scripture in a section titled “Have No Fear” that evening. I was encouraged as it reiterated my value and uplifted me with words of victory, but I was thrown off a bit when I came across this verse:
“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” -Matthew 10:30
I read it again and then rubbed my hand across my cold, ultra-smooth head as I pondered those words.
“Zero, God,” I whispered quietly. “I have zero hairs on my head.”
What is that verse supposed to mean to a cancer patient like me? Everyone around me can see that the answer is “zero.”
I prayed and prayed but I couldn’t seem to find an answer. The question fled from my mind in the days to come as I was focused on battling the chemo side effects that only grew stronger each day.
I had no idea that I would find the answer to my question in a very unlikely time and place…
Months had gone by and my blood counts actually hit a somewhat normal level. This gave Wes and I the opportunity to go on an outing together! We got dressed up and went to the Renaissance Festival. We love dressing up so I was really excited to put on some medieval clothes and spend some time with Wes. I barely wore wigs during treatment, but I thought it would be fun to complete my costume with a long brunette braid.
After a couple of hours at the festival, my side effects started kicking in. I felt weak, exhausted, and nauseated. The hot sun and humidity was impacting my fatigued body. I needed water and a shaded place to sit down to rest. But there was no shade anywhere to be found.
We searched and searched and Wes finally caught a glimpse of a shaded spot to sit at across the grounds.
“This way, babe,” he said as he held my hand and led me to it. “Thank goodness,” I thought. I was getting close to passing out!
When we were just steps away from the seating area, we saw a couple running towards us looking up ahead. It was just the “perfectly wrong” timing where they didn’t see us and one of them ran into me as they passed and kept going.
“Are you okay,” Wes asked me with concern.
“I’m okay,” I replied, but my eyes welled up with tears.
Couldn’t they see that I was sick…?
Before I had even finished the entirety of that thought, I remembered I was wearing a wig. Of course they wouldn’t know I have cancer! I’m certain that nobody here has any idea that I’m really sick.
Then all of a sudden I remembered the verse I read months ago! The question I had forgotten that I asked! And the answer I had been looking for…
I now knew how the verse applied to me as a cancer patient with no hair:
Even though the number of the hairs on my head was zero, the point of it all was that GOD saw me. He saw me when I had a head full of hair, when my bald head was fully exposed, and he saw me right then when no one else could see my smooth head snuggly nestled beneath a brunette wig.
It had never been more clear that I was not alone and I was so deeply loved.
As Wes helped me walk out to the car, tears fell from my eyes. These tears were not from the heartache of what just happened or even exhaustion, but from the gratitude and hope that I felt in that moment. I felt such grace towards the couple that ran into me, as well, because I didn’t know what their story was and I had just learned so much from the occurrence. What I thought was “perfectly wrong timing” when we collided turned out to be “perfectly right.”
With zero hairs on my head and zero idea of what was up ahead in my cancer journey, God’s love meant everything to me. And the blessed assurance that carried me through was the reminder that there was (and is) absolutely zero things that could keep me from His love through Christ.
In the midst of the Coronavirus and the uncertainties, fears, illness, and economic struggles that we are facing across the glob, you are not alone and the entire world is in this together. If you are stuck in isolation, feel depressed, or feel very alone, you are seen in these moments and I am praying for strength and hope to help you carry on. If you feel lost and confused or are pondering on Scripture with no clear answer, I want to remind you that you can trust God today and always.
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” -Proverbs 23:18
Just like I never imagined that nothing on my head would show me everything I needed to know, I pray that you know with all your heart that anything in your life that may feel like a “zero” has the possibility of being redeemed, restored, or can redirect you towards abundant life. SURELY there IS hope for the FUTURE!
May God bless you today and always!
“Perhaps the first duty of love is to listen to people.” -Jeff Wells. If you need prayer or just need someone to be a listening ear, please share in the comments or send me an email directly. I would love to come alongside you during this time and hear your heart. In the moments that feel like you are emptied, my hope is that love and light will fill you up in ways you never fathomed they could.