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.