THE BLOG

At the Top of My Lungs: Ready for Take Off (Chemo Begins)

08/19/2013 10:10 am ET | Updated Oct 19, 2013

"For Heaven's sake discard the monstrous wig." -- Thomas Jefferson

Because I am relatively young and am otherwise in good health, my oncologist, Dr. Adler at California Cancer Care planned an intense assault on my cancer. In my case, he could bring out the howitzers.

I would undergo 7.5 weeks of radiation targeted specifically at the tumors in my lung and neck. Simultaneously, I would have two rounds of two kinds of very aggressive chemo, Cisplatin and Etoposide.

On Jan. 28, I started my treatment. Radiation wasn't so bad. I didn't feel the zap at all, and it was over in 15 minutes. Then I had five hours of chemo. Chemo made me cold, but I had a warm blanket, and layers. I sat in a nice reclining chair and had plenty of things to read or watch on the iPad, and my husband Harlan to talk to. My chemo-sabe. All in all, it was more comfortable than many a five-hour flight, except for having to wheel the IV bag around with me when I went to the bathroom.

Maybe the airlines should think about awarding miles for chemo and radiation visits. It's a pretty big target market. When patients are up and about again... dream vacation to celebrate. They could call them Frequent Fryer Miles.

One day I got an enlightening tutorial from another woman at chemo about headwear for the fashionable cancer patient. She was a perky, attractive woman, maybe 60, sporting a dark-brown bang fringe under a pretty headscarf. I complimented her on the scarf and in two seconds the whole thing was off and she was standing before me with her recently bald head, now showing a light growth of fine, silver curls. Frankly, I thought she looked adorable. She had big, twinkly blue eyes and the silver hair looked great on her, even though there wasn't much of it.

She launched into a detailed explanation and demo: The fringe could be purchased at any beauty supply store. Just ask for the Jessica Simpson brand of bang fringe. Put a cotton headband around your head and attach the fringe with four bobby pins, like so. Then put a simple, small scarf over that -- cotton or terry cloth -- something that won't slip and will hold the top scarf in place. Then tie your silk scarf over that. You can get the best ones at Nordstrom. And voilà! Ready to hit the town!

It looked like complicated and precarious architecture to me, as though one stiff breeze would send the whole thing toppling. I told her I thought she looked great with just her natural hair, but she said she'd been dying it brown forever and just couldn't get used to the gray.

I don't care if my hair grows back in 50 shades of gray. I might throw a cap on if my head gets cold, but no precarious headgear for me. Life is too short to worry about your hair blowing away in the wind.

This column was originally posted on parade.com. You can read more from Jennifer here. See her Fear.Less. video here.

For more by Jennifer Glass, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.