Lisa G.
Posted by

It's only hair

Lisa G.
Posted by
10 Mar 2016

One of the realities of cancer is hairloss. This is what happened when my son lost his.

Given the enormity of what Hugo is going through it seems silly to be concerned about hair loss, vain even.  But ever since his diagnosis it feels like we have been waiting.  We were told it was going to happen, that it wasn't a question of if, but one of when.  It could happen quickly they said, or it could take weeks, months even.

I may be slightly biased but Hugo has beautiful hair, as does his brother.  Henry's is blonde, really blonde.  Over the years Richard and I have got used to people commenting on it.  It's his thing, part of who he is. 

When Hugo was born and he had dark hair I almost felt a little sad for him, that he wouldn't have that same special talking point.  However as it started to grow it started to stick up, it had character.  People started to comment on how cute it was.  Now it no longer sticks up, it is thick and beautiful.  It changes colour in different lights and it suits who Hugo is, just like Henry's blonde locks suit him.

Since coming home I feel like people have been looking at him, wondering why, give that he is being treated for cancer, he still has his hair.  Or wondering when or if it's going to fall out, but being too polite to ask.  Or maybe they are not thinking that all all, perhaps it's just me.

I have been dreading it, but at the same time I am annoyed with myself for even giving it a second thought.  Part of me wanted it to hurry up so we could get used to it and move forward with the more important things.  The things that were actually affecting Hugo, because I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be in the slightest bit bothered about losing his hair.  Oh no, this was all about my feelings.  My worrying about other people's reactions.  People staring, asking questions.  Everyone who saw him would know, it would no longer be our news to tell.  There would be no more living in denial, his beautiful bald head would be a constant visual reminder of the journey he was on, of what he was going through.  Hair loss is so symbolic of cancer.  He was going to look like a sick child, a child with cancer and I wasn't sure I was ready to face that reality yet, if ever.

But the time had come.  The thinning had increased and he was leaving a trail of hair behind him wherever he went.  It was on his clothes, his bedsheets and when it was wet the patches were especially obvious.  A kiss on the head would result in a mouthful of hair and he was starting to get upset by the hair in his eyes, mouth, everywhere.

Hugo does not like having his haircut, it always requires a 'distract and bribe with food' technique that has moderate success.  However on this occasion he seemed more comfortable which was a relief because with his diminishing appetite, food bribery was not an option.  We decided to get it cut really short, as short as we could without shaving it (I worried a razor would scare him).  He sat on my lap, I chit chatted, I kept him distracted and his lovely hairdresser kept me distracted while I tried to ignore the steadily growing pile of hair at my feet.

It's only hair, he's fine and that's all that matters.  It does not define him, it is just a small part of who he is.  There is so much more to Hugo than his hair, he has proved that time and time again.  His cheeky side, his spark, his sense of fun and his sensitive, caring nature - they are what defines him.  So let them stare, let them ask questions.  If my little boy can be brave then so can I.

Then, as I was putting him into his buggy, he looked in the mirror, ran his hands over his sparse head of hair, smiled at me and said 'big boy hair'.  Then the tears came, tears of both sadness and of immense pride, silently trickling down my cheeks, my newfound bravery deserting me momentarily.  His old hair may have been part of him, but so is his new hair, it shows who he is now.  Maybe it is symbolic of cancer, but it is also symbolic of strength and courage, of fight and bravery.  He has grown so much and coped with everything with a maturity that far surpasses his years.  So yes my little man, big boy hair indeed.

17 September 2015

To read more about Hugo's journey visit


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