Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Week +27

I have a love-hate relationship with January!!

On the one hand it represents a new start to the year, where all your dreams are possible, (and my eldest daughter was born in January). 

But on the other hand, it is tax return season for me, and the weather is so so grim....

In the aftermath of the Christmas and New Year festivities, I had found myself extremely fatigued. Despite the grimness of the January weather, I had made strict efforts to resume my exercise regime that had worked so well during the previous two months.

The bathroom scales were showing numbers that I was not happy about, and the indulgences of December had obviously taken their toll.

But as well as being tax return season, it was also the season of flu and cold, and both my daughters returned from school at various times during the month with sneezes and sniffles.

I was keen to avoid catching anything, but my careful plans for gym work were blown away with flu-like symptoms. My fears were exaggerated though, as I recovered within a day or two and set myself new targets for my cardio and weight training workout.

As with the setting of all new targets, it is necessary to evaluate where you are now, and where you want to be. And so I looked around at the other people at the gym ...

There were thin people, fat people, old people, young people, extremely fit people, and so I wondered where I fitted into this spectrum.

My self-evaluation did not have a very pleasing result, because I was still in the bottom end of the spectrum of 'normal' people, despite the great leaps I have made in my recovery.

This saddened me a great deal, as I felt my perceived improvement was not so great after all. I still had a long way to go before I could lead a 'normal' life.

So I decided to look over some pictures of the last nine months, from the time I was accepted for evaluation at Northwestern to the present day. On reflection, I may have been overly critical of myself, and I have attached some pictures showing the metamorphosis from a straight haired, steroid pumped CIDP sufferer to a curly haired, bearded, steroid-free HSCT 'graduate'. 

May 2013

Early June 2013

Late June 2013

Early July 2013

Mid July 2013

Late July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

December 2013

January 2014

My hair is growing well now, but the 'chemo curls' are still very dominant, making it very difficult to manage. I began to reminisce about my bald head as I went through the HSCT process, and looked with jealousy at all the hairless, shiny headed men around me.

And so I began to do some research on the bald look and the pros/cons of it.

The Evolution of Baldness

Research suggests that 'man' became less hairy after the discovery of fire. The 'Lesser-Haired' caveman was far less flammable than his hairy counterpart, and so through survival of the fittest, 'Lesser-Haired' held a genetic advantage.

Baldness also conferred aerodynamic advantages to 'Lesser-Haired', as he could swim faster, chase prey and capture mates.

In tribal warfare situations, baldness was used to the tribes advantage as a well-polished bald male head would be used to blind enemies and predators.

Modern Day Baldness

Although the genetic advantages described above are largely redundant now, in modern day living, baldness has many advantages for the human male:

Time and money 
  • no hair combing in the morning. Every morning, you wake up the same - no bedhead, no Jedward head, no Something-About-Mary head
  • save money on shampoo and hair products
  • no hair dryer required, saving electricity
  • less time needed in the shower, which uses less water and is environmentally friendly
  • no requirement for a barber, saving money
  • it's comfortable and never gets tangled
Other benefits
  • a good place to jot notes if you don't have a pad handy
  • your hair is always 'perfect'
  • people can locate you in a crowd if you make it nice and shiny
  • strangers will approach you, and rub you for good luck
  • If a girl asks you for a mirror, you just give the top of your head a good rub and bend over. The view is amazing ....
The Look
  • facial hair can make you look like a badass (or an axe-murderer, if that's your thing)
  • attend fancy-dress parties as a bowling ball 
  • when  aliens arrive, they will better relate to you
Headwear and temperature regulation
  • when it's hot, baldness is the best way to lose heat from your head
  • when it's cold,  you can put on a hat
  • no hat-head when you remove your hat

Bald really is beautiful these days and during my period of baldness, I found it to be a personally liberating experience, such that each morning I contemplate shaving my head. 

My wife has threatened violence to me if I do so, but this highlights another advantage of the bald head in that any head wound can be easily attended to ......

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