A “W” on the Back of Our Necks ….

10 Apr

Recently, as I was checking out yet another few strands of extremely light hair that I hadn’t noticed before & while I was trying to convince myself that it was just another shade or hue of blond, I began thinking about aging. I started wondering about the signs of aging that really bother people.

While gray hair may have bothered me several years ago, it simply doesn’t anymore. After losing my hair to chemo I am happy to have it back, no matter what color.

As it was coming back after chemo it grew in very curly in the back (I’d never had curls before) but the crop on the top came back soft & unbelievably snow white. My husband remarked that he thought I might just come out the positive end of the cancer tunnel looking a lot like a skunk. While I have nothing against Pepe Le Pew & his family, it never occurred to me that chemo might make me a charter member of the Le Pew clan. The strange thing is… I didn’t care. I was so glad to have my hair back, it could have been purple for all I cared (& in today’s society I would have fit right in & no one would have given me a second glance). With the help of a skilled hair colorist I was able to get my color back until both the startling white & the curls grew off & I was back to normal again.

Here’s a lesson for us all: if you must undergo chemotherapy for whatever reason & lose your hair… keep it. As I was losing mine I saved it all in a WalMart bag that I kept under the bathroom sink. I’m not sure why I kept it but I believe it was simply my way of dealing with the loss. When people asked me if I’d lost my hair I would say, “No,” which, in the grand scheme of things wasn’t a lie. I knew exactly where it was.

When my hair came back snow white, I took my WalMart bag to a colorist & told her that was how my hair looked before chemo & that was how I wanted it to look again. And that’s what she did … made me look like me again & I will be forever indebted to her for her skill. I also have patted myself on the back for having enough forethought during a difficult time to save my hair, for whatever reason.

Another thing that bothered me a bit several years ago was those fine lines that we see on our faces through our triple X magnifying cosmetic mirrors long before anyone else notices. Thanks again to having had the breast cancer experience, I just don’t worry about those lines anymore, even when they start becoming visible to my naked eye WITHOUT the cosmetic mirror. My perspective has changed drastically. The acquisition of a few crow’s feet & the deepening of fine lines indicates that I’m still here … that I continue to be around marking time even in SPITE of having had a run-in with cancer. So the lines are OK & they add to the character I seem to be acquiring as my blond hair takes on a lighter hue.

But I started thinking about what signs of advancing years bothered other people. With a few carefully asked questions I found out how the aging process has touched some of my friends, who shall remain nameless.

A friend of ours told me, as he was approaching 60 that he would arrive at that milestone “Kicking & screaming all the way.” Yet when the time came, he crossed over into that next decade with grace & dignity. Another friend who has not arrived at that point yet grooms his beard with assistance from Just for Men Beard Color & never complains.

Breasts are another issue for many women. It’s difficult to watch perky nipples transform into ones that seem hell-bent on surveying your navel & your toes unless you are quite athletic & can spend most of your time standing on your head. A friend who has very large breasts told me that no longer being able to run & jog frustrates her but she has stopped as a means of self-preservation.  When I told her I didn’t understand she explained that as she’s aged her large breasts have turned into “knee bangers” & she fears if she jogs at any reasonable speed her recently relocated breasts will beat her to death. We all have our crosses ….

More & more of our friends are having cataract surgery & are adding layers of lenses to their glasses. Root canals are coming up more often in conversations as are Glucosamine, steroid injections & joint replacements.  A friend told me that if she has one more joint replacement she will be classified as “suspicious” & will be placed on the “Flight Risk” list at most airports. Her bionic joints keep setting off the metal detectors. But she’s still walking & doing it without pain, so I guess carrying a “joint replacement identity card” actually is less inconvenient than hobbling onto the plane with a cane or being dragged across the street by a Boy Scout (do Boy Scouts still do that?)

My husband, the most easy-going, least stressed or worried human I know asked me not too long ago to look at the back of his neck. I did but didn’t see anything unusual & told him that. He asked me if I saw a “W” back there & explained that as a child he often sat behind his grandfather & would look at the “W” on the back of his neck; a configuration of wrinkles formed as a result of many years working in the sun. He said that of all the visual signs of aging we encounter the one he most dreaded was getting a “W” on the back of his neck. I assured him, as he’s gracefully aging, that his neck is still devoid of the dreaded “W” & that he has quite a bit of the alphabet to go through before arriving at the W-end.

I don’t think any of us look forward to being elderly. I know that I’m fearful of having some youngster pluck unwanted hairs off my chin “over at the home.” That’s a visual I can do without & probably my last remaining fear.

Mostly, we can do little about the signs of aging, although there are a few great creams out there that reduce the appearance of fine lines & several prescriptions that will keep our bladders at bay until we arrive at the nearest public restroom. In the end (maybe that’s not the best way to phrase it) we are fortunate to be around to acquire those lines & the perk that is the wisdom that goes with them … & helps us accept them.

At 25 we simply didn’t realize what we had. If we’re lucky, we remember 25 vividly & realize just how much we’ve accomplished & continue to accomplish as we acquire that “W” on the back of our necks.







6 Responses to “A “W” on the Back of Our Necks ….”

  1. Leslie Miller April 11, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Always enjoy your blog Linda, you are so funny! Tell Willy I remember Papa’s :W” on the back of his neck,,we do remember some crazy things don’t we..lol


    • heimdalco April 11, 2014 at 12:37 am #

      I was afraid to post the entry until I checked it out with Willy. He’s afraid I will say something about him he doesn’t want me to but he was OK with your grandfathers “W” so I posted it.

      Love you & thanks again for reading. See you guys very soon.


  2. dzncats@aol.com April 11, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

    I guess sometime in my distant past, I might have been concerned about crows feet, but, now, I am rather proud of my wrinkles. They show that I have LIVED. I worked very hard for my wrinkles and deserve every one.


  3. Willy April 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

    I’m glad she finally asks about the “little things” she shares with the world about me and my family. Papa’s “X’s” will remain with me my entire life and it’s a little thing really, but I know I’ll get ’em sooner or later.


    • heimdalco April 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

      I will always ask you if I’m posting anything personal. Glad you were OK with the Ws & Xs … LOL


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: