I Purchased a Wig for Fun, and My Family Thought It Meant My Cancer Was Back


After experiencing another cancer scare (which thankfully turned out to be OK), I purchased a wig and a fun outfit to wear, prompting my family to think my cancer had returned.

I recently thought I might have cancer again, this time in my lungs, but according to my pulmonologist, I don’t. He said my CT scan was clear and that he didn’t need to do a bronchoscopy after all.

I’m so relieved. I’m out of “the gray zone,” — a murky place where anything can happen.

I do have a touch of asthma mixed with a bronchial flareup. For this, I was given a shot of steroids, and I feel so much better.

But something funny happened. My husband and I were in Pittsburgh and we went to a German beer house. There, we ate Jager schnitzel and drank big beers. We listened to the man playing the loud accordion, and at times, joined in the singing. We admired the waitresses who were dressed in short dresses with puffy sleeves and thigh-high stockings. Their hair was done up in long braids that hung down on either side of their face. My husband asked me if I could procure one of these German outfits for fun. (If you’ve been following my work over the years, you know that I’ve been attempting to spice up our bedroom life after my two cancers.)

Well, I did. I went online and bought a German beer house outfit. It was scheduled to arrive in pieces.

The first thing to come in the mail were the white stockings, complete with black bows at the top. I didn’t open these and wouldn’t until the dress arrived on the front stoop and I could try the whole thing on together. The second article to arrive was the blond, braided pigtail wig. This came when we were celebrating my brother’s 65th birthday with my family. (There is no rhyme or reason as to when Amazon drops things off.) The package came, and of course, everyone wanted to see what was inside. I opened the plastic shipping bag, and out dropped the blond wig.

“Oh, no,” said my son. “Mom has cancer again.”

“Honey, just because I wear a wig doesn’t mean I’ve got cancer.”

I put the thing on, and I looked ridiculous in it, but my brother had to take a picture of me in it, anyway.

“No, honey, I don’t have cancer. This wig is just for fun.” I left it at that. I didn’t want to tell anyone that there was a whole costume coming in the mail any day now, that I was going to dabble in cosplay for the sake of spicing up our post cancer-sex life.

“That wig is really you,” my brother said.

“Well, we are of German heritage,” I said. “Remember Grandpa said that the first Yeager to come to America was a stowaway on a ship?”

“Not very auspicious, but I do remember,” he said.

“He was from Stuttgart.”

“Yes, he was.”

It’s no surprise how quickly we all are to jump to conclusions about more cancer. It can be gone for years, but any little hint that cancer might be back causes a person to jump to the worst-case scenario.

And if anyone cares to know, if I do have cancer again and will lose my hair, I’ll never don a German beerhouse wig. It’s way too radical. I don’t need that much attention.

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