Name: Ruth K. Wassinger
A Surviving “Affair”
My husband had four different women in his life for almost a year. Their names were Zsa Zsa, Rachelle, Ava, and Sassy. Sassy was actually only a “one-day stand.” Most women wouldn’t be tolerant of their husbands having these “affairs,” but I was perfectly content.
My bilateral mastectomy December 11, 2007 was followed by six sessions of chemotherapy from January 4-April 18, 2008. There was little that I was in control of other than my make-up, dress, and hair (or lack of). So, I decided early on that I would be in control of my hair styles by purchasing wigs that took on personalities…
Zsa Zsa was my first wig. Human hair and long like my real hair use to be, I enjoyed pretending to be a beautician since I could style her like my hair only better. I would have Zsa Zsa on her head form and take time to curl the back. I could never see the back of my own hair so this was really a treat. Zsa Zsa was my working professional girl. Since she looked similar to my real hair, I wore her to work for months. I told very few clients of my cancer and chemo treatments so Zsa Zsa pulled off exactly what I needed; my same look only better. Zsa Zsa was thicker and never needed a new color job.
Rachelle was my weekend “punky” hair do. Synthetic but with the flatiron layered look. As my hairstylist referred to her as wash and wear, Rachelle went to dinner and movie dates with my husband more than his other girls!
Ava was short and showed a new look. I received so many compliments on Ava that I was convinced that having a shorter hair style was most flattering and after my hair grew back, I’d keep the “Ava” look. The synthetic simplicity of warm brown with red hi-lights kept its true beauty throughout the summer and early fall.
Sassy was my husband one-day stand. As a marathon runner, I dealt with the chemo the same as running a marathon with each of my six chemo sessions being 4.3 miles to complete the 26.2 full marathon. When I crossed the Chemo Marathon Finish Line, I wore Sassy. She was hot pink and matched my pink stiletto high heels and my hot pink sequined top and tight jeans. As I entered lab and oncology, my husband and I handed each staff and patient a sugar cookie decorated with pink Susan Komen Ribbon sprinkles. I was finishing the chemo marathon and crossing the finish line in style!
After I lost my hair, I still continued to shower and shampoo like normal. I would look at my various shampoos, some for volume others for moisture. The few surviving strands deserved the best treatment. I never determined if they were stubborn and persistent or tough and survivors. Respecting those few strands was the least that I could do.
I determined early that being in control of what I could control was what I would do. My hair, make-up and dress were in my control while the chemicals of chemo temporarily took away my body.
My husband’s latest fling is with Ruth (me). My new hair came in silver grey but was back to a decided brunette early on. Those other girls just don’t stand a chance with a cancer survivor.