If you’ve just started following Mneera’s weekly column talking about her journey with breast cancer, catch up by reading part 1 and part 2.

I was told at a very early stage that I was going to experience complete hair loss during therapy. As a young woman, it was one of the things I found very difficult to accept. Being bald meant that I would look like a cancer patient. Although the reality is that I am one, I was not prepared to see it in the mirror. My hair was a big part of my image. The colors I would dye it and the ways I would style it, they were all forms of expressing myself and my sense of style. To be told I would lose that? Well quite frankly, it sucked!

After feeling bad for a while I was adamant to have FUN with my hair while I still had it. I decided to dye it PINK! I came to that decision for a number of reasons, firstly because it’s the color used in support of Breast Cancer awareness. Secondly, it will ease the transition to being bald. Pink hair will simply be easier to let go of.

With that in mind, I booked an appointment at Cutler with a talented and wonderful colorist named Ivan, who transformed my black hair into a beautiful dusty rose shade of pink. I was now a new person, the pink hair empowered me.

As time went by and chemotherapy was approaching, I decided to cut it all off and go for a pixie cut; I believe that was the first time I cried about my hair. I didn’t cry because I hated it, I cried because the idea of losing my hair was finally sinking in.

The hair loss began after my second round of AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan). My hair was everywhere; it was all over my clothes, my pillow and the shower floor. I felt cancer was slowly taking control of me again and I refused to let it. I immediately called Cutler and scheduled an appointment to shave it all off.

I expected myself to feel so bad after the ordeal, because I had been scared of this moment for the past four months, but I didn’t. I used to think that once I lose my hair I will lose my looks. That I will not recognize myself. I made the mistake of mixing the two and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I looked at myself in the mirror, bald for the first time and I smiled. I didn’t see a sick woman, I saw a woman in healing. A warrior and that made me proud.

I believe shaving my head was the best decision I made. If you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t allow the changes happen while you’re scared. You decide when the changes happen. Have fun with what you have and embrace the strong warrior within you.

Mneera is a 27 year old Bahraini who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently living in Manhattan, New York for treatment. To get in touch with Mneera email her at mneera.abdulla@gmail.com

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