The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Gift - By Cabella

My friend Ivie was laughing so hard tears streamed down her face. She is one person who laughs well at my jokes. I smiled and leaned over to hug her. Hospital beds can be so awkward for intimate moments. “Please get me my laptop” Ivie requested. I got her laptop and she shuffled to one side of the bed so that I could sit properly. She began to show me pictures of hairstyles. There must have been about fifty of them

When she was done I put the laptop away and looked at her. She had shown me pictures of herself with twist-outs and braid-outs. “Ivie, I thought we were going to pick out a wig?” I asked. “I know.” She started “I want my hair back and since that is not happening I want a wig that captures the way my hair was.” How do you tell someone fighting cancer that they are asking for too much? Surely two requests: to survive cancer and a wig are not too much.

Ivie had told us about her cancer after it was detected the second time. The first time it was detected she traveled and told us she was taking some time off. Taking time off from Lagos stress needed no further explanation. She was gone for a year. By the time she came back, she had lost some weight, cut her hair and seemed quite refreshed. 

Life went back to normal for Ivie and for a few years she was well.  Ivie called her close friends to her parents’ house in G.R.A Ikeja one weekend and told us she had cancer, again. Again? I remember staring at her and thinking that she was too nice, too kind, and too righteous to have cancer ... again. She did her best to give us the “don’t worry, I have fought this before and I will fight it again” speech. She was not convincing.

“The Ivie Cheer-leading Squad (TICS)” is what we called ourselves. We read all we could about the cancer our friend had. We took turns calling and visiting her daily.  Whatever she needed, we made sure she got it. Now she wanted a wig similar to her hair before her hair fell out because of treatment. “I am sure we can find something close enough to your hair Ivie” I reassured her even though I did not believe it.

I sent an email to TICS regarding Ivie’s request and waited to hear back. “I can donate my hair” one of the TICS wrote back. I had not even considered that! Three of us had long enough natural hair and donating our hair was a perfect idea.  The other members of TICS agreed to cut their hair in support. We searched for a company that makes human hair wigs for cancer patients. They had never done an “African-American” human hair wig before and they were excited too. We found out we needed a minimum of ten inches of hair. Some of us had to grow our hair some more before cutting.  On and on it went;  getting information, arranging how we would cut and send the hair to the wig maker, raising money for the wig because it was going to be a custom made order. We were excited and anxious. We prayed daily that our friend would not die but would recover and soon grow her own hair.

Not all of us could present Ivie her wig. The other members of TICS dialed in via Skype. Ivie was awestruck. She could not say a word. We cried and laughed as she put on the wig. The wig fit her well. “Thank you” she whispered barely loud enough for us to hear. 

That was five years ago. Members of TICS hold a memorial service for Ivie every year. I am not sure how long it will last. Today only half of us are here. We share memories and look at pictures and pray for other women battling cancer. And we cut our natural hair every other year and send to the company that made Ivie’s wig. Surely two requests: to survive cancer and a wig are not too much to ask.

**Author’s Note: Characters and events are fictional. Any resemblance to actual characters or events is purely coincidence**


1 comment:

Pepperz said...

As someone who has been affected by losing close people to cancer, this is such a lovely story. Thank you once again Cabella. As always , you rock!