Ask Amy: In the middle of breast cancer treatment, friends ask to see me bald
Dear Amy: I am currently on treatment for breast cancer. People have had very strange reactions to the baldness caused by my chemotherapy.
I’m not asking for advice on how to handle this, but I’m looking for an explanation.
I find it very strange that several friends have asked to see me bald.
Those who see me in person ask me to take off my hat.
Others (who are not in person) ask me to send them a photo.
My very quick response is: “Absolutely not!”
They react with stunned confusion: “Why not?”
Amy, do I really need to explain this?
I tell them that I find it hard to look at me right now; I don’t want them with this actual picture or photo.
I don’t think anyone who loses their hair because of chemotherapy should ever be ashamed of the way they look. I have no problem with those who chose to show it. I admire them. But the point is, everyone handles it differently.
I am very private. I don’t want any public disclosure of my illness and treatment.
What surprises me most is that the request comes from my closest friends who know how private I am.
Hope you can shed some light on this strange human behavior.
Dear confused, I agree with the way you handle these feedbacks and requests.
You could find out more by asking people why they are interested in seeing your bald head. They may admit that they are curious – but I sincerely believe there is more.
We have all seen magazine articles or performances in movies or on television where women reveal their dramatic hair loss related to chemotherapy.
It’s always seen as a heartbreaking but ultimately triumphant moment where a woman swears to ‘beat this thing’ and her friends gather around her. Some friends and family members will even shave their heads in solidarity.
My instinct is that, on a deep level, people are trying to basically force you into what they believe to be a dramatic “revelation” – in order to respond by comforting you. Their intentions are to reassure you that you look great, or to tell you that your hair will grow back quickly or grow back curly (like their sister-in-law did).
By doing this, they’ll feel better about what you’re going through – and they’ll make your cancer treatment a bit more on them.
My theory is that this is the moment your friends are trying to provoke. They are ready to make you feel uncomfortable trying to comfort you.
You have the right – and the responsibility – to manage this phase of your treatment as you wish. This includes refusing to get drawn into someone else’s scenario.
Dear Amy: My 55 year old husband Google searched for two female TV personalities. He said he was curious about their ages.
Urging him more, he admitted he had done it because they were pretty.
I felt hurt, ugly (which I am not) and above all cheated!
He doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
Can you understand how I am feeling, or am I totally overreacting?
Dear upset! While I don’t want to diminish your feelings about it, I think you should work really hard not to feel this.
I agree with your husband on this.
Have you ever searched for Daniel Craig on Google? Or Pierce Brosnan? Or Richard Gere?
If not, I suggest you do it immediately.
Searching for someone on the Internet because they are attractive is the reason the Internet was invented in the first place.
Your husband doesn’t cheat, nor would he if he leafed through an issue of Parade magazine and decided to read an article about Jane Pauley.
I hope you will NOT take this to heart. Your husband would be wise to affirm his affection and dedication to you.
Dear Amy: I respectfully disagree with your response to the “angry widow,” who found out that her husband was having an affair (after his death). She shouldn’t be sharing this with her children, now or later. It’s between her and her now deceased husband. What would it be for?
– Faithful reader in South Carolina
Dear Faithful Reader: I told this widow to do nothing for now and wait until she can make a more rational choice. I agree with you that it is essential that she asks herself, “What would that be for?”