I’ve not posted anything about Karen lately since there hasn’t been much to report. There have been a few hiccups along the way, with some significant aches and nausea this past week. It did keep her away from the restaurant during our anniversary week, but not entirely and she was still able to meet and greet a few days. I am so grateful that the success of our business has been a mental diversion from the disruption of her treatment.
Probably the most interesting development as of late is the matter of hair, or lack thereof. I point out to Karen my observation that women seem to dress for each other and not really for the attention of men. This is likely due to the fact that we men don’t always notice when there is a new hairstyle or nifty pair of sandals on her feet. I’ve come to this conclusion by watching other women size up my wife when we are out on a date. The glance usually starts up top with the hair, moves down to the shoes, then up to the purse and outfit. This three-point reaction is appears to be Pavlovian, but since I am not a scientist or psychologist, I will not preach about this conclusion with any kind of authority.
But since Karen is as bald as I am now, she is finding the courage to accept this by-product of her treatment in positive ways, one of which is the reduction in the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning. I’ve known the benefit of this for fifteen years now, so it is not as revelatory to me as it is her. And with the triple digit heat we’ve had lately, wearing a wig would make about as much sense as affixing a damp polyester bath mat on your melon with a sweaty ACE bandage. A chrome-dome does have liabilities, but there are a few advantages as well.
The first day Karen came in to the restaurant without a hat or scarf, I was interested in seeing the reactions of others, and as I predicted, it was the women who responded with the most enthusiasm. I would not be exaggerating if I were to use words like, awe and amazement. A group of four ladies at a table were effusive in their compliments toward Karen’s appearance. One woman came up to me and simply said, “damn, that’s hot.” I blushed, but nodded in agreement.
It’s too bad there is not a Blue Woman Group holding an audition, because I believe she has the prototypical skull shape that their producers would be looking for. That old joke we bald guys have been telling for years that says, “God only made a few good looking heads, that’s why he chose to cover the rest up with hair.” This would apply to Karen. Her lack of hair, accessorized by big, dangling silver earrings and those thick framed sunglasses the kids are into these days; that’s a fashion statement not many can pull off. And she does it with style and grace.
But another observation I’ve made is how her acceptance of this aspect of treatment puts people at ease. It’s an admission that says, “Yes, I have cancer. You don’t have to be awkward around me or tip-toe around the subject.” It admits, “I’m not trying to look as if nothing is wrong.”
This is one reason I try to write about this experience. I hope to give you permission to say it’s OK to ask. I remember one mother who lost her son in a tragic accident tell me that people would say to her, “I didn’t know if I should ask or not. I didn’t want to make you upset.” Her reply was unforgettable. “Upset? I live with this daily. How can you make me more upset?” Keeping you informed is my way of saying we’re OK telling the story, and conversely, you’re OK to inquire. You’re not going to make anything worse.
Thanks again to all who have asked, written, prayed, and shared in this leg of the journey with us. Your responses are priceless.