chemo hat
Last day of chemo, 2018. One of my pretty hats!

Today I was sorting some stuff and decided I needed to deal with the box of chemo hats in my bedroom. I emptied the contents of the box on my bed fully expecting to feel a sense of revulsion and relief that the experience they were associated with was behind me, as well as an eagerness to get rid of the hats and the unpleasant memories they evoked.

Funny thing though, as I sorted through the hats the main feelings that came up were of appreciation. I had some lovely chemo hats, and I remembered how they made me feel brighter and as if everything wasn’t quite so bad because I had nice hats to wear. I remembered wearing them when I first started seeing my boyfriend. How freaked out I was about the possibility of him seeing me bald and how it ended up not being such a big deal.

I went through some pretty profound moments while wearing those hats. I suppose you could even say I have never felt more alive than when I needed those hats. Many people pay good money to put themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation so that they can feel the rush of being alive as it is contrasted against the backdrop of possible death. That was my reality for many months. I went through a complete transformation during that time and I am deeply grateful for the experience.

I am deeply grateful for the beautiful people who came along with me. For everyone who was so kind and offered help, comfort, laughter, support and were there for me in so many ways. I am staggered when I look back and think of all the people I had who were on my side and all the things they did for me. I am so appreciative of the lovely staff at the hospital and the Cancer Centre and for my wonderful surgeon. And for all the people I’ll never know contributed to my journey through the process, but they did and it all made a difference.

It’s strange, I would have thought 2018 would be a year I would want to forget, and yet when I looked at these hats I had so many fond memories. Finding out how loved I am, how strong I am, how much I love life and how incredibly blessed I am. Going deeper into my spiritual practice, choosing to learn instead of be defeated. Discovering my true priorities. What an amazing year!

Yes there were panic attacks and ugly cries and 3am sessions of dark ruminating and times I felt unwell. There was tension and arguments and sub-optimal ways of dealing with the stress on my part and mirrored to me by others. But the good memories and positive feelings stand out more in my mind than the bad.

I’m still getting rid of the hats. I started feeling nauseous just handling them. Bodies have a strange memory like that. But I let them go with love and appreciation. I need the space for hair products now!

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