pictur of adriene hughes and her parents

Archive of a Breast Cancer Survivor


survivor book

Hair from the Past

I find strands of my old hair from time to time. They float out of the corners
of the room, long black curly strands. Flashbacks from the past. It has been ten months since I have begun this walk from diagnosis to recovery, only months, and it seems like years—another life. I run the strands of hair between my fingers to feel the edges and roundness of them. They say a single strand of hair can expose a person’s DNA, all of it, even that which defines the sequence and patterns much like a fingerprint. It is called profiling. Genetic. My parents, though holding their
own patterns, have no link to my past or future. My cancer was not genetic.

I find it odd that old pieces of my hair keep cropping up, entertaining me with a view of what I had known. I believe they arrive to remind me of the life I had prior to breast cancer, and that it is distinctly in the past. What I am living NOW is truly the future. A friend with breast cancer once told me, “the process is one year out of your life,” and she was right. Time moves on, and with it, the prospects of everything new: there is no way to see your life other than refreshed, the wash of one life behind you with a new one sitting right out in front, clean as a whistle. New. Seriously. There really is no other way.

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