Well, we have our first cancer-related casualty: my poor little beard.



It was such a helpless little thing, like a baby possum clinging to my face. Regardez:


ljw 2012

My radiation oncologist warned me that my beard would probably go thin on one side, given that they’d be pumping all kinds of protons and neutrons and gamma radiation into my left tonsil. “Probably,:” he said,” you should shave your beard off now. It’ll look irregular after a little while.”



Pooh, I though.



Then, last week, I was stroking my beard while watching TV, and I looked down, and found that I’d yanked five or six white hairs right out of my chin without even trying.



Dearie me!



Beard loss speeded up after that. I could pull out a few dozen hairs at a time by the weekend. The beard looked okay on the right-hand side of my chin, but on the left, it was sort of a hair archipelago, like a map of Polynesia.



Finally, on Tuesday morning, I looked in the mirror and covered the right side of my chin with my hand. “No beard,” I said. Then I covered the left-hand side. “Beard,” I said. I continued this (idiotically) for about ten seconds, swapping sides. “Beard. No beard. Beard. No beard. Beard . . . “



No Beard won the contest. I attacked my chin with a regular razor and finished up with my rotary. And now I look something like this:



ljw beardless


Am I not striking?



Only three-and-a-half weeks of radiation therapy to go.



And, frankly, if that’s the worst of it, I’m a lucky lucky boy.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to Beard

  1. starproms says:

    Looks good to me. I think you’re being very brave! Keep it up… you can do another 3 weeks

  2. I think you look fine without it.

    The friend I’ve been worrying over is my dear friend’s husband. 18 months after colon cancer chemo a CAT scan revealed three little tumors in lung, liver, abdomen. He faces six months of chemo and is told he will probably lose his thick hair and beard. It would be strange to see his face, if you know what I mean. The good news is that they learned today that due to some advances in surgery, there is hope he could live 15 more years. That would take him to over 80 which sounds like a darned good innings. Until one is 78 or so.

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