Patterns of growth

As is common these days, Edwina and I met up last week outside my office. She pulled up in her car and I climbed in to chat for a bit between classes. We’ve learned to find new places to meet, now that I’m hesitant to travel into her neighborhood.

Edwina had contacted me a couple of days before to ask if I had any photos of her pre-chemotherapy.

“Nope,” I told her. “Remember that you were already having chemo treatments when we first met.”

“Oh yeah, I remember now,” she responded.

It turns out that Edwina’s hair has never returned to its pre-treatment texture. Edwina heard about a law suit against a certain drug company that she thinks might apply to her case, granting her some money for the permanent damage to her hair that has affected both the pattern and rate of hair growth. I started to say that maybe a change to her hair might be worth it given the outcome of the treatment–she’s remained cancer-free for more than 5 years–but I stopped myself. I decided I don’t have the right to make that call for her.

Ironically, Edwina’s hair looked amazing when she pulled up. A friend had given her braided hair extensions, and Edwina looked younger than she has in years.

I wish I’d had a camera to take a picture of her the next time she wants to remember what she looked like.


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