When I saw the #NoHairSelfie campaign, I was convinced that I was misinterpreting it. After some digging and conversations with friends, it appears that I’m understanding it correctly. Which leads me to…
Who the hell came up with this?
People, presumably who do not have cancer and are not undergoing chemotherapy, download an app and virtually make themselves bald.
What infuriates me is how insensitive this campaign is – to people who have lost their hair due to chemo and for family and friends who have had to watch people they love go through it. I can only assume that the people posting these pictures are ignorant to the “chemo experience” and the fact that their “bald” selfie is glamorizing chemotherapy. Though how they miss the connection is beyond me. Chemo patients don’t get to “see how they look bald.” It isn’t a choice. Losing your hair doesn’t happen with the click of a button, and it doesn’t come back with the click of a button either.
There are people across the world at this very moment who are experiencing the horror of losing their hair. It’s painful, emotionally and physically. It doesn’t happen instantly, as many people assume. You have to watch day after day as your hair slowly falls out in batches. You have to watch as you look less and less like yourself. You have to watch as it flows down your body in the shower and clings to your pillow in the morning – a reminder, as you start your day, that you’re sick.
I have seen picture after picture of people smiling with their faux bald heads. I want to say to them – go to the chemo floor of ANY cancer treatment facility. Go there and tell me how you feel about posting a picture of yourself “bald.” The things you see will break your heart.
You haven’t endured needle after needle. (And I’m not talking about blood draw needles. Chemo needles are nice and thick.)
You haven’t experienced the joys of the tests that come before chemo (which include more needles), some of which literally make you radioactive.
You haven’t tasted chemo. (Yes, it has a taste and it’s yucky).
You haven’t been so sore from “treatment” that the slightest touch brings tears to your eyes.
You haven’t had to endure watching your appearance change until you hardly recognize yourself.
You haven’t had to sit in a chemo chair on the second floor at Credit Valley and search for someone close to you in age so that you feel some form of comfort knowing that you’re not the only 28 year old there (all the while knowing that you don’t want to see anyone at chemo, let alone someone your age or younger than you).
You haven’t had to watch parents hold their heads in their hands as their child shuffles off to the bathroom, dragging their chemo beside them. The look of total, complete helplessness and pain. It will rip your heart out.
Instead of posting your ridiculous “bald” picture:
– Reach out to someone you know who has cancer (or their family) and find out how you can make their life a bit easier. (Home cooked meals? A ride to chemo? Going to the hospital with them for appointments or treatment?)
– Volunteer at a cancer centre. (They always need volunteers for a vast amount of tasks.)
– Knit caps and drop them off at cancer centres. (They’re always looking for hats to give to patients.)
– Grow your hair long and donate it to make a beautiful wig.
– Pray. Even if you don’t know someone going through cancer treatment, send a prayer out into the universe to those who are.
Chemo isn’t fun and games. It makes you feel so sick that, at times, you think it might actually kill you. It’s an assault on your body.
This picture here, taken February 20, 2014… THIS is a real life, bald, sick selfie. I never thought I would post this on Facebook, but I think it displays just how ridiculous the #NoHairSelfie campaign is – no words needed.