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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Have You Seen My Hair? (Blog #2 Today)

This blog is dedicated to all the wig wearers out there.
I admit the cosmetic hairy-look beats the skull cap or kerchief I find I laze around the house in. When we go out, I don a hat over top of my baldness- a classy '50's style from my sister or one of the dozen knitted ones I now own thanks to so many fashion-conscious buddies. But on the ski slopes, I find the skull cap with a wig is warmer than a skull cap and hat. So that's what I wore yesterday at Big White Mountain resort for a day of skiing in the sunshine.
After three hours of intense sun, the wig became too much to bear. Sweat trickled into my goggles and while in the lift line-up I caused an entire row of skiers to gasp as I grabbed my locks with one hand and pulled them off of my head. I reapplied the skull cap, cinching it on with my goggles and was good to go. Our daughter Lindsay hadn't noticed until we got off the lift and thought maybe I had left my hair hanging on one of the trees we had just coursed our way through. No, I assured her, my hair piece was inside my coat being held there by my powder-skirt, which snaps snug against my waist.
After skiing Lindsay and Barry went for a beer while I hit the shops in search of a ski suit. It's my Christmas gift from Barry, but I have yet to find it. I am enjoying the search and it was a very enthusiastic me that threw my coat to the ground at the outdoor rack of discounted jackets at the first ski shop I found in the village. I tried on at least a dozen of every size and shape. Finding nothing, I collected my coat and went inside to further investigate. The lime Descents at the far end of the shop caught my eye as did the Spider waist-to-coat zippers which make the latest outfit back into a one-piece. My friends would get a laugh at that. I am trying to get OUT of my one piece which I still wear at home.
Mid-struggle to get off a jacket I was snarled in, a young Australian girl who worked at the store approached me and asked, "Excuse me..are you missing something?" At first I thought she meant my purse, a recurring occurrence for me, but then I remembered I didn't bring a purse. Then I got it..."Is it brown?" I said. We both smiled as she produced what looked like a deflated rat. I told her I hoped this wasn't going to be THE favourite story of living in Canada she told for the next twenty years.
I made my way to the bar to meet the others and as I told them the story, I pulled out the wig and slipped it on. Barry said I should have seen the eyes at the table behind me! Popping and wide!
It's funny because I think with the demographics pointing to the occurrence of chemo patients and hair loss on the rise, people might start getting used to the fact that not every full head of hair out there is what it seems to be. Even little kids can spot it in a second. They just know something is not right about you and howl if you dare to look at them sideways.
I suggest all of us wig wearers start an aggressive awareness campaign. I say whip it off right in front of the unsuspecting and get them used to it. Like taking off a Band-Aid slowly or in one shot. Get over it everyone.
Wigs can be a GOOD thing, especially when you're hot flashing. How many menopausers can haul off their hair to cool off? Don't like your hair color? Put on a different shade. Want long hair today? Maybe some dread locks for the first time in your life? Have at it. It should never be a goal to set, but I think we will make a lot of people quite envious.
Although, first you have to know where your hair is at all times before you can show it off or throw it off. That can be a problem for me, just like with my glasses.
So don't be alarmed when I ask:"have you seen my hair?" and it isn't on my head.

Winter Snorkeling In Southern BC

It's still five days before my first radiation appointment. My husband and I decided to stay in the Okanagan at my Uncle's place instead of driving the return 22hours back to Houston with the roads the way they can be at this time of year.
I have returned to what I'd guess was 85% "me". A heat flashing, sore and skeptical "me," but still myself all the same. Back to swimming and jogging on alternate days and yesterday ripping up the powdery slopes on Big White mountain with our daughter Lindsay. It was ski demo days and I ran a pair of Lady Salomons and then Infinite Nordicas through the trees. I rode them hard and came up smiling. Wow. Like having rockets attached to your feet.They both seemed easier to steer around trees and moguls and I have to admit this would be the year to give myself a break. My Fischer AMC's are giving me some cosmetic grief with the top layer of vinyl lifting up. So far it hasn't caught on any stumps, causing a wipe out, but it does affect over-all confidence which you need when heading off to the true steep and deep of places like Revelstoke, like we are in about three hours from now.
We found a three day "stay and ski" deal on-line through the Sandman and the weather forecast says snow, snow and more snow over that time period. We get a kitchenette so we can do our own oatmeal, yogurt, seeds and blueberry breakfast. Lunch on the slopes and dinners at one of the many great restaurants we remember from all our Cat Powder adventures there. It's been four years since we've skied this place and now they have the new Longest Chair Lift in North America on their slopes, which will deliver us back up to the sweetness of the powder bowls above. My snorkel is packed.
We will be coming back to Kelowna after that for two days of mandatory "rest" before the first zap of the radiation machine. Poling with my right arm seems to cause a slight swelling of the right breast. If this happens, the measurements and co-ordinates taken and fed to the computer for where to radiate, will be off course and they will need to start again by re-simulating and then waiting another 9 days to start treatment.
Okay, so now you're shaking your head and asking why I am tempting fate like this. Don't I want to get this over with? Aren't I scared of causing a set back?
In my defense, I can only say that powder skiing is one of the softest poling sports - you plant in virtual air. I am careful not to use the right arm to push myself when traversing or walking uphills. My left arm is strong enough to over-compensate. Add to that my determination and downright donkey-ness to continue doing what I place above almost everything else in my life- skiing, and you have my reasons.
And..I should add, there are these wonderful things called ice packs and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Have snorkel...will travel! Full-steam ahead.