I cried today...
I'm not proud of it... but yes, it happened.
Day 4 post-op. My wife and I have gotten into a rhythm of bathing, showering, and washing the scalp- ever so carefully. I sit in the tub, she sits on the edge with the hand-held shower head ready to go. She wets a washcloth and lays it over the transplanted area.. then carefully and gently lets water flow over it, just as instructed in the instructions Dr. Scott Alexander handed me on my way home that long, long day. Then use soapy water poured form a cup.. then rinse, rinse, and rinse again. I'm apparently allowed to dry my head- important to blot only, not rub- but I don't. I just let it dry naturally. There are very few scabs and little redness, despite 3250 grafts. I'm feeling pretty good about that. Then my wife offered to take some photos.
I've been taking photos every day of the transplanted area. I'm not sure what I'm expecting- it's not like there's going to be some miraculous growth and magic healing. I imagine I'll taper off the photo kick and do it maybe once a week. Still- I've been taking photos. But taking your own is nothing compared to having someone else take them. Someone who can actually SEE what they're taking photos of.
She constantly tells me my scalp doesn't look nearly as bad as she thought it would. She's actually impressed by the work. And FYI- she's a nurse who has seen a LOT of surgery and suture work- both good and bad. So that's nice. So- photo time. I sat in a chair while she stood above me, snapping pics with a flash like the paparazzi. She finished and began to show me the results.
Oh. My. God. I was not prepared for what I saw. It wasn't so much the scabbing and follicle insertions. It was that the hair which I HAD had pre-surgery was all gone. I guess I didn't realize that was part of the deal.. losing what I DID have on top of my head. After all, 3250 grafts is a lot of work. I gasped, told her to stop, and tears began rolling down my face.
Damn, this thing has been such an emotional journey for years now. I can barely talk about it with anyone. Totally irrational, I know- but I feel embarrassment, shame, rejection, etc at the loss of my hair. And although I researched doctors, I did not really research the procedure. I went to a top-rated doc, and let him tell me what he would do. I didn't look into alternatives, I didn't plan ahead other than taking a week off work, I didn't try to read these forums or any other information ahead of time. I knew that if I did that, I would find *some* reason to back out. I just went all-in with tunnel vision.. just git-er-done.
So there I was, feeling like shit. Looking like shit. And there my wife was, loving me anyway. Supporting me anyway. Not pushing, not pulling, just allowing me to *be*. I cried. She smiled. I got over it. She smiled.
That was actually yesterday, but today's the day I write about it. I go back to work tomorrow and likely will face more people who ask where I was and why I'm wearing a ballcap with my suit and tie. I'm not sure what I'll say, but I know what I'll see: her smile.
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