On Fridays, after my 10:00 radiation treatment, I head back to the hills of Appalachia to spend the weekend with my guys. Both are always happy to see me and one licks my bald head. I won’t tell you which one.
On the drive home, I called Liz to find out how her son (my Godson) Grant was enjoying his new car he got for Christmas. We had been on the phone for at least fifteen minutes when I noticed a Morgan county school bus in front of me. I said to Liz, “Isn’t school out everywhere? Why would there be a busload of high school aged kids on Dec. 27th? A field trip?”
Liz said, “It’s probably a group of basketball players headed to a tournament.”
“Ahhhh. I didn’t think about that.” Of course not. I lucked out. Lauren’s extracurricular activities were guitar and piano. Jordan played guitar and ran cross-country on the track team. None of those involved traveling during Christmas break, thank God.
Liz and I continued to chat while I drove down the Mountain Parkway headed towards Prestonsburg. As I stopped at a stoplight in Salyersville, I noticed the teenage boys sitting in the back of the bus. They casually looked out the bus’s back window at me as I held my cell phone to my ear.
Then it hit me. A hot flash. Not in a good way. It felt more like I might spontaneously combust. For those of you who don't know (like me before D-day), chemotherapy launches peri-menopausal women (women usually in their 40’s and sometimes in their thirties) into early menopause.
I was wearing my longest, hottest, thickest wig which is comfortable when it’s below 65 degrees or when I’m NOT having a hot flash.
I cranked the A/C to MAX and adjusted the vents so they would blow on my face. My head felt ready for egg-frying, while my brain was ready to boil out my ears. The wig was going. Maybe out the window. Nope, I thought. I better not do that. I promised my friend Carol that once my hair grew back, I’d offer up my highlighted wig in trade for her KY Derby miniskirt. It’s a white skirt with appliqués of horses with jockeys on board wearing colorful silks. The best part---the front of the skirt shows the horses running toward you. The back shows the horses’ back ends. I’ve wanted that skirt since I laid eyes on it almost 25 years ago, when I could confidently wear a mini skirt. Now that I’m nearing fifty, what would Stacy London of What Not to Wear say? Eh. I don’t care. If I can squeeze myself into that skirt, this menopausal lady will walk her pasty white legs through Churchhill Downs donning the biggest hat I can find.
Then I did it. I grabbed my wig at the forehead and yanked it off. We were still at the stoplight. The four boys in the back seats looked like they’d seen a ghost. Then…laughter and pointing…and later, as I drove away, one of the boys gave me a thumbs up.