Donnerstag, 28. Mai 2015

throwback thursday

Last night, Ivo and I watched Gattaca to prompt discussion on an initiative that's up for a vote this June. The initiative is about whether or not to allow genetic testing on embryos before they're implanted via IVF.
During the film, I told Ivo "People used to give each other locks of their hair as a romantic gesture - I wish that I had a lock of mom's hair from before she got sick." And then  I stumbled across this lock of my hair in my wooden keepsake box today. (Who am I kidding? My whole apartment is my husband and my keepsake box.)
On Halloween 1997, I fainted on my way out to celebrate with friends. Two of us were dressed as Spice Girls, and I was sporty spice (I was under-weight enough from a summer of illness, that I could have been posh spice.) I didn't trust my body enough to go out and my loving sister - who was in town and remains one of the best caretakers I know - stayed home with me to keep me company and make sure that I didn't collapse again.
The fainting and some other symptoms made it clear to me that I was beginning my second flare-up of IBD, which was disappointing because I'd just had my lower intestine removed and was supposedly cured of my ulcerative colitits. But it would turn out that I had Crohn's disease and I knew it that night. I knew that I'd have to go back on high doses of steroids and antibiotics, that my hair would thin and my moustache would come back with a vengeance. As I told my sister all of this, she said "you could shave your head." She reminded me that I had the power to choose when and how much hair I would lose if I shaved it. So I called my Christmas Ball date and asked if he'd still go with me if I shaved my head and he said yes so we got to it.
We chopped off my sporty-spice ponytail and then indiscriminately chopped at my hair, which was full of drugs from my last hospitalization. She'd just gotten a tattoo that day so I took the business card from the tattoo parlor and taped a lock of my cut hair on it and saved it.
That night, mom was out celebrating Halloween and called to check up on me. I had a towel around my neck and sat in a circle of my hair scraps on a sheet that we'd laid out on the living room floor and told mom that Kendra was shaving my head. "Is that what you want?" my mom asked, with a kind voice. "Oh yeah!"
Mom returned to the group with whom she was celebrating and said "I had to check in. One of my daughters is sick and she's shaving her head." One of the people in the group sighed and said "oh! sick? like.....sick?" and pointed to her head. Mom told me about it later, while she was stroking my fuzzy, round head. "Your head is so round because you're a C-section baby." She told me.
I still think that there's no better time in life to shave one's head than as a teenager. Although, the first time I went to church with my mom after shaving it, I offered to wear a hat or a scarf. "No!" she said "someone will think that you're sick and they'll pray for you!"
"But I am sick!" I told her.
But it was true. With my low weight and bald head, I did look more like a cancer patient than someone whose immune system was attacking her guts.
10/31/97 Keng gets a tattoo I go Bald

Christmas Ball - after 5 weeks of growth

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