Thursday, June 13, 2002

Today is the first day I went to work without a hat. I figured since we are having formal pictures taken this weekend at Monique's wedding, well, there wasn't much sense in trying to pretend I had hair. I didn't really notice, mainly because I've gotten really good at not looking in the mirror for the past few months. Conor tried to give me a hat when I was leaving the house, but I think that's because he's used to seeing me in one, not because he thinks I should wear one. Hey, he's two--what fashion sense can he have?!?

More people recognized me than when I was wearing a hat. I had one friend sit not ten feet away from me for nearly an hour and still not recognize me on my first day back. He even looked straight at me--but he was probably thrown off by my hat.

A recent NPR show brought up an interesting question. If you could go back in time and meet yourself or send yourself a message, what would you say? (Well, other than sell all my BEA stock at $75.) It's an interesting question even without the cancer. I suppose the answer says a lot about a person. Lottery numbers? Too obvious. Wear sunscreen? Very practical. You'll never lose those ten pounds, so stop buying size 8's? Wait--you're going to take advantage of time travel to crush your own dreams? Let's follow the destiny route--even if you tell your younger self the future, you can't change it. Would you really want to know how it comes out? Would I want to hear from my 35 year old self that I'll get married and have a beautiful son and, oh, yeah, there's the whole cancer thing? I certainly wouldn't want to hear that from my 65 year old self--especially now that I've got a much better idea about what that really means.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

It's my second week at work and I'm getting back into the groove. Two days at the client last week; three days this week. (Three days next week, and then we go on vacation!) I've been running into folks, and that's been interesting. Usually the question "How are you" doesn't have any special significance, but it does for me now. I find that if I say I'm fine, they ask again. And they stare, especially at my head. A few people have asked what I think is probably a very human question--how did I find out? We all want to know how to figure out when something is wrong. Some people aren't sure what to say. A few people have said that I made it through this because I'm strong, and I have to disagree with that. First because (and I wouldn't have thought about this before I had cancer) it makes it sound like those that don't make it are weak. And second because I'd like to think I'm lucky instead. Okay, and because I wasn't all that strong, especially near the end. I'll tell you what--if Kevin hadn't been driving me down to Stanford I probably would have skipped a chemo or ten!

I'm still wearing hats--if I had chosen this hairstyle, then I'd go without. It's still too short to be a fashion statement, but it's getting close to being a political statement. At least I still have time to pick up a beehive wig for Monique and Bill's wedding!

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Today was my first day back at the client site, and other than the hat it was like I'd never been gone. Everyone was nice, although there was one innocent comment that made me want to cry. But I tapped into that Zen-like calm that adversity is supposed to bring you and remained silent. Or maybe it was surprise at the sheer effrontery of a comment about hair growth.

Generally I feel a great deal of fear whenever I return to work from any time off. The tech industry is notorious for its constant change plus the smarter-than-thou mentality of many of its participants. But right about now I don't fear it as much. I can figure it out, find someone who can, or just admit I have no idea. I don't know what I expected. I don't think this attitude is because I don't care, because I do care what people think about me, professionally. Client opinion is the currency of consulting. But I'm not stressing out about it anywhere near as much as I used to. Is it because I've seen how fleeting life is; supposedly, this has shown me what's really important? Or is it because I can pull of my hat and show them the best excuse of all?

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

I have ventured out of the house without a hat. But just to go to the garage. One of the neighborhood kids asked Kevin if I shaved my head. Our new neighbors didn't say anything, but I think I impressed them. They guy had those earrings that are actually in his earlobes, and they're probably 1/2 inch across. See for yourself how my hair growth is progressing. I have less than three weeks before Monique's wedding, and it'll be cutting it close, so to speak.

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