Before my first chemo treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, when I knew my hair would start falling out, I went to my hairstylist. I wanted to feel in charge of what I had little control over—cancer.  She gave me a short cut and for a couple of weeks, it was the new me. Completely buzzed on the side with a shaped and cool bit up top. But once I started treatments, my hair changed. It was almost imperceptible because it was still there but it didn’t stand up the same way, springing up and out from the rooted follicles below. It drooped. I pulled and it gave way. I started to think that my hair follicles had gone dormant. Like seeds, they were waiting for more favorable times.

My wife, Susan, got out a buzzer and we went onto our shaded back deck. We found a slant of sun and I grabbed a chair. Susan draped a cloth around my shoulders. She turned on the buzzer and gently began trimming off the hair on the sides and top. I closed my eyes, feeling the tickle of the buzzer against my skin. When she was finished, I reached my hand to my head and felt what I had never felt before: the tenderest of skin, a hidden part of myself. My fingertips moved across rises and dips. The skin bunched slightly in some places and pulled smoothly in others. It was an unchartered wonder.

I love exploring the top of my head now. My hand moves up, taking in the bony contours of my skull. I fan out my fingers, the whole half of my head cradled in my open palm, and feel my underneath self, soft and vulnerable. The deep me.





  1. Simply beautiful. Sending you love and light. You’re Warrior Goddess!!! XOXO

  2. Catherine Pyke

    What a stunningly beautiful piece, Leslie. You are such a writer, artist, poet.
    I love how, in spite of everything you are going through, you see light, beauty, meaning.

    Sending you all the love in my heart and much positive energy. Thanks for your inspiring ways, Catherine

  3. Katrina Lande

    This is beautifully written. You’ve captured so much, so powerfully, in so few words. Sending you healing wishes — all the very best to you and Susan (one of my very favorite people back in high school, and still much admired and adored). Looking forward to hearing good news in the time to come.

  4. Anne Adethold

    Wonderful writing, Wes. Henna wuth such an interesting designs and varied colors from brilliant to muted shades. When We were in Paris in September we visited Montmarte where a wonderful market wad set up. French, Morrocan and Indian henna art and spa and beauty products. The most amazing herbs, spices plus all the unique henna uses. Congratulations on having wrapped up your treatment and So happy for you to now be on the recovery side. Kudos to you for sharing your journey. Much Love Tia A&J

  5. Cole Daniels


  6. Anna Williams

    That was beautiful. You are beautiful. Love you Leslie

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