One of my favorite parts of summer is going to the beach. In particular, I love getting in the water and riding the waves. I hate the cold but once I get in, I’m always happy I did. This year, I didn’t think that piece of summer was going to be a part of my 2014. Can’t swim with a wig on. Would look ridiculous wearing a hat in the water. No chance in hell you’re catching me in a bathing cap. So going bald is really the only feasible option. But in my mind, that really wasn’t much of an option. I had come to this conclusion back while I was in the hospital. I had been chatting with a friend about the benefits of getting sick in the summer and how I’d hopefully be able to enjoy more beach days than a typical summer. But quickly after making that realization, I made the other one that I would have to “be bald” in public if I wanted to fully enjoy the water. And being bald in public is scary. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and something I certainly have not conquered. Even with my head wraps on, I notice that people look at me a little longer so I could only imagine how many eyes would drift my way if my shiny head was out and about on a crowded New England beach.
But on Saturday, as Mike and I enjoyed a beautiful day at Jenness Beach in NH, I didn’t want to let cancer win. Me not dunking and not riding the waves is letting cancer take something away from me that I love. And I just couldn’t let that happen.
So I didn’t.
As I took off my hat and dunked underwater, I was so purely happy. I felt so free. Since my diagnosis, I treat my body like a precious, fragile piece of material (that’s because it kind of is). I’m hesitant of “over-exerting” myself whether it’s walking up a large flight of stairs, doing a new yoga pose or lifting something heavy. This tendency has created a sense of caution in my day-to-day life as I’m always a little nervous about getting hurt or making myself sick. But as I frolicked around in the salt water and let the waves crash on my back, I felt like a normal person. I felt alive. Happy and at peace. I’m so happy I didn’t let not having hair prevent me from having that moment because those type of moments are important…they’re what make life worth living.
Cancer sucks… absa-freaking-lutely!!!! But it doest have to suck all the fun out of my life. And I won’t let it. Because life’s too short not to have fun and dunk in the cold Atlantic ocean!