On Hoping for Miracles

My palliative nurse keeps telling me that sometimes chemo patients’ hair grows in completely differently—for instance, curly instead of straight. I don’t know how she might have guessed that I have always coveted curls. Maybe from a glance at my boyfriend’s strikingly abundant curls and ringlets. It’s true, I have always wanted curls. And it’s true, my boyfriend’s adorably curly head is probably at least a small part of why I like him. My hair, while I still had it, was so strictly straight it couldn’t even hold the curl from a curling iron. So I have kind of been hoping for the minor miracle of curls.

My palliative nurse also insists that sometimes terminal patients live far longer than predicted. That sometimes they don’t die at all. (At least, not as they are expected to, I feel compelled to add.) She also says that I’m not dying anytime soon, which I rather like to hear. I don’t ask her to get too specific about her idea of soon, but when somebody else asks, it sounds like, well at least not this month!

In the past few weeks my hair has started growing back. It’s been coming in as soft and downy as a newly hatched chick, or dandelion fluffs just before they break free from the flower head and float away. I can hardly stop running my hands over my head, it’s so fleecy soft. But even at just a few millimetres, there’s no mistaking the straightness. I have no original similes for this. It’s as straight as a pin. But soft as a baby.

Susan and Horse 1 from QT

At the county fair. The horse’s nose is softer than my head. (Photo by Roy Cross.)


About susanbriscoe

English teacher, writer
This entry was posted in On Dying and Living and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to On Hoping for Miracles

  1. curioussteph says:

    enjoy your duck fuzz! Is the color as expected? I’ve had a few friends with a remarkable color change post-chemo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Valerie & Mark McClellan says:

    Dearest Susan~We love you so dearly, just love you!!!!!!💜YOU have shown all of us, by the love you have for Nathan, Oliver, your family, Roy and your friends, (and Piggy!), that you are BLESSING us by staying with us!!! It seems as if it is extremely clear~you are here to teach us all and show us the true meaning of pure love and to understand our connnection to our universe and our creator!!! WE are the blessed ones by your guidance and love!!!!
    Valerie, Mark, Lauren and Jade💜

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ann Gallery says:

    Such a lovely photo Sue. Thinking of you.

    Ann xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awww,you’re still beautiful love.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue Britton says:

    Susan, I feel you have so much to share regarding Green funerals and the need for better resources for adolescents with addiction challenges. Parents need to know where to turn when they feel so helpless. You are needed in so many ways.
    Warm wishes,
    Sue Britton

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Betsy says:

    You ARE needed, Susan! Your blogs are wonderful, your point of view hopeful and inspiring! A palliative care nurse once told me that you can even GRADUATE from palliative care ;)…..Keep writing,keep your thoughts coming, and may you live in as close to a state of joy as you can.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Kim says:

    Great photo, pure love emanating from you. By the way, you have a perfectly shaped head! Love you and all your words, Susan. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the photo…and your words.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Lara says:

    Dearest Susan, you continue to inspire and light the way in all senses of the phrase. Sending you my love and wishing you curls. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Galit Korngold says:

    I love you and I love your soft fluffy head…. so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Liz Hensler says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Award here: https://dothething.net/2017/09/12/19-earn-a-masters-degree-liebster-award-2/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Shiner says:

    My hair has been growing back, too! I finished chemo Sept 7, but have been occasionally shaving my head to keep the fuzz layer under control. Which is to say, it seems that I’m growing A LOT more gray hairs than dark brown ones. I want to give those little brown guys a chance to catch up. So I keep a fairly close crop on these hairs…which I’ll admit to enjoying far more than I ever expected! I, too, can’t keep my hands off my head. I’m so grateful for this gift of unexpected time for you, Susan. Much better for nuzzling horses’ heads and admiring boyfriend’s adorable curls. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • susanbriscoe says:

      Oh, I never thought of shaving the fuzzy layer! I was too glad to have hair again. No wonder I look so funny! But now that it is growing in, there’s something I miss about being chemo-bald. For women at least, it signals to the world that we might need to be treated gently, which I appreciated in my fragile state during chemo. But I was also a bit of a punk in my youth, and it reminded me of that — so it could also paradoxically make me feel tough and empowered, which was fun!
      So glad you are done chemo!!! I’ll go check out your blog for more detailed updates.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I had chemo and was told that I my hair may come in as “good hair,” which for a black female means straight and no kinks. I was excited to have my mother’s hair, which was straight and beautiful, as she was part Cherokee Indian. But, alas, I still have my Daddy’s kinky stuff! But, guess what, I have come to love it, because after chemo, you realize that so much we worry on is trivial compared with fighting to live. I am praying for strength and comfort for you.


  14. Susan,

    Having discovered your blog only a few minutes ago I see I have a lot of reading up to do.

    I remember that when it became apparent that I was going to lose my hair temporarily, I was hoping it would come back completely white, so I would be walking about with that `aura´ of wisdom that people often automatically attach to white hair. Seemed like a cool thing. And then it came back. Slowly… A little more grey, definitely fluffy and just as straight as it has always been 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your journey!


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