Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hair: Part 3, The Final Cut

Me and my hair :)

Below is the letter I included with my ponytail. For the whole nine (inches) see parts 1 and 2 below.

Dear Pantene Beautiful Lengths,

I felt compelled to include a letter with my donation. I hope you will take a few moments to read it. I understand that you get ponytails every day, and mine is probably very similar to dozens you have received, but my hair comes with a story. My name is Juliana, I am twenty-five years old, and I am a cancer survivor.

When I was diagnosed with cancer just after the close of my junior year of college, I had long, beautiful hair. As my life unraveled in the coming months, as I endured surgery after surgery, my hair remained. But a few months later, as I began my senior year of college, I also embarked on a twelve-month chemotherapy regiment. Over the course of the next four months, my long, thick hair began to thin. I cut it short, then shorter still, not because I wanted to, but because I couldn't bear to part with what was left of it. I didn't realize until I began to lose it, how much my hair made me look like myself. Losing my hair was one of the most disturbing experiences I have ever endured. My heart aches thinking about it. It hurt even more because I had no control over it.

In September 2007, when I finished treatment, I swore I would not cut my hair short ever again. I wanted it to be long. But it grew at a painfully slow rate. I had aspirations of one day donating it, but I didn’t think I could ever bring myself to cut it short again. That was more than three years ago. I decided yesterday that I wanted to cut my hair. Unlike the haircuts I had four years ago, this one was my choice.

So while the hair in this envelope may look like all the other ponytails you get, I can assure you it is different. The hair you hold is nine inches and three years of post-treatment cancer survivorship. This hair came with me to my college graduation, my first job, countless doctors’ appointments. It saw me through the years spent putting my life back together after cancer. It wrote a memoir, won the Lilly Oncology On Canvas Art completion, and most recently, trained for and ran its first half marathon. So please understand that this hair was a part of me. It is special. I ask that you take good care of it, and I trust that you’ll see that it is used it to give hope to another woman with cancer.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story and pass along hope to another woman.

1 comment:

  1. Your hair is beautiful; I do not say that often. It is rare when I see hair that I *really* want to feel, and yours is among those few.

    The world needs more hair like yours.

    Congratulations on surviving cancer. I've survived testicular cancer. I'll never feel your hair, but we'll share that.

    Okay, that sounds really creepy. I'll just end it there.