Sunday, May 16, 2010

Something for the weekend?

There's something to be said for doing something for yourself, or for the sheer badness of it. There's something else to do it for someone else. We spend a lot of our time doing things for ourselves and spend much time focused on our own goals. It was time to redress the balance. Perhaps, ahem, doing something for the sheer baldness of it?

The Daniel McLellan Memorial Fund raises money to help families of those with leukaemia. It helps with accomodations and other such needs when families have to be in Halifax for periods of time while their child is an inpatient at the IWK. The idea is that having a child in such circumstances should be stressor enough, without worrying about how to live away from home. Yes, I've been in research and understand the need for research money and how without money research just can't happen. Even a modest research lab can have a burn rate of $1000 CAD a month, and that's without salaries (I should know). However, the human side is just as important and probably quite underlooked. I think any of us with children can understand this.

So once a year the Memorial Fund raises money through Hair for Heros, a sponsored head-shave. The symbolism is quite direct; a side-effect of chemo is baldness. However, we can choose to do it, for those with chemo, not so optional.

Enough off the semantics, you want to see damage. I will confess to being a bit of a basket case beforehand. Goodness knows why, like so many things in life all I had to do was sit there and take it. Possibly with a whiff of public humiliation. Like work really, but without the union. Anyway, so this was me immediately beforehand

From the looks of me, I was in better mental shape on the start-line at Boston, but yesterday I suppose I was without the calming effect of 800 mg ibuprofen and 2 mg of Immodium! Better living through chemistry indeed!

La belle did the honours. Incisions, suturing and setting up IVs may have been part of her training, but the finer points of clipper-wielding use were not. Still, she did a fair job and got most of it off without leaving any clumps but, fortunately, leaving me my ears. The professional coiffeuse hired for the occasion finished the job off, but there wasn't much to finish off. More like a quick wax and polish.

To be honest, having the clippers on the back and sides was not a novel experience, my instructions to a succession of barbers on two continents for the past twenty-odd years having been "No.2 on the back and sides blended into the top please". The sensation of the clippers without a clipper-guard over the top of my scalp felt strange though. It hasn't taken too long to get used to the sight, but I do feel a slight chill around my temples that is taking some getting used to.

I think I'll keep it like this for a while. Never having had hair short this before (well, never not had hair before, not even when I was born) I'll have to get some scalp-health tips, but from whom? Is it an oxymoron to say I'm getting hair-care advice from Rami Bardessy, or Ray Moorehead, or Frank Lauzier or Charles Mandel? Noted slap-heads all. They all have something else in common too; they're all fast runners. I hope my legs can keep pace with the new do.

I'm still collecting money for the Fund. If you think this is something you'd like to contribute to, drop me a line. Alternatively, you can come and see me at the TNS booth at the Bluenose Sports Expo this coming Friday/Saturday (what, is it Bluenose already?) and after you've stopped laughing, you can make a donation.

Thanks to Dr Bruce Crooks, an oncologist at the IWK Health Centre, who talked me into it and, as the slogan on the back of the T-shirt said, to perhaps see myself a little differently.


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