Losing My Hair

LelouakLelouak Member Posts: 14
edited November 2016 in Community news and events
Hair loss, the one thing that everyone automatically associates with chemotherapy. It's the most obvious sign to the general public that something is going on in your life that you'd really rather not have to deal with.

Hair is a very important thing for a lot of women. You change your hair style, colour and length. You can put it up, curl it, straighten it. Changing your hair can give you confidence and make you feel like a new person. When that option is taken from you, what do you do?

I attended a Look Good, Feel Better workshop a few days after my first treatment. I was asked if I minded being the wig model. I didn't mind in the slightest, at least that way I got to see what I looked like in various wigs, scarves, bandanas. I didn't look like an idiot, so that was a relief. I'd already decided that wigs were not for me, it's also too damn hot in Queensland for wigs in my opinion.

I bought three bandanas and that would be my lot.

Within a week of my first FEC treatment, I no longer needed to shave my armpits - yay! Hair 'down there' also went within the first two or three weeks. This made me very happy, I hate bikini line maintenance!

The hair on my head started to fall out after two weeks. Just small amounts at first, then you could pull out chunks if you really wanted to, or if you are my husband.

He was on his way back to work when I told him it was really starting to go. He gently grabbed a small chunk of my hair and pulled. The whole lot came out. His eyes widened. His mouth dropped. The apologies started flowing. He only expected a few strands to come out, not the whole handful. I think the fact that I was laughing made him feel a bit better. My scalp had started to hurt when I touched my head and I was starting to leave a blanket of hair on the sofa.

Two weeks and four days after my first treatment, I woke up to find a rather ridiculous looking bald patch on my left temple and a very thin covering on my right temple and noticeably less volume everywhere else. I looked like the recipient of the worse hair cut in the world. I decided that if I didn't cover it up I would get more stares than wearing a bandana. I hastily covered my hair and off we went to school.

I got home, got my husbands hair clippers out and proceeded to shave off my hair. It was the most liberating experience. I usually cut my husbands hair, so doing mine was rather fun. A few strokes in I did wonder what the hell I was doing. Once it was all gone and I'd showered and got rid of all the strays bits of hair I could finally examine the finished 'look'!

My bald head actually wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. I felt compelled to touch it for most of the rest of the day. I picked the girls up from school and spoke to them about what I'd done and showed them. My youngest said I looked beautiful. The eldest basically asked me to keep my bandana on at all times!

When my husband saw my head, he was gutted that I didn't have a weird shaped head. Obviously the name calling started after that, uncle fester, slappy, kojak. My eyebrows and eyelashes took a lot longer to disappear and I finally stopped needing to shave my legs after about four treatments.

Taking a small amount of control over the things that's you really can't control is a win in my book. Having no hair has not really bothered me. I get a few odd looks, but I'm sure I got them when I had hair too! The girls aren't bothered by it and neither is my husband. I'm sure this has helped with the way I feel about my hair, or lack thereof.
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Comments

  • Nicole HelenNicole Helen Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2015

    Reality really hit me last Thursday after meeting with the Oncologist for the first time. My chemo of 6 months (AC2 Taxol) will start in about 2-3weeks I will find out the date next week after I have the port a cath put in.

    Well as I mentioned before, the reality of loss of hair really did hit me hard, up until then I was telling myself and beleiving that a miracle would happen that I would not loose my hair. Even though I had looked at wigs ad even tried some on just in case I still keeped telling myself I would not need them. Since last Thursday I can't stop crying when I think about it. I know it is not important when compared to saving my life but I am so upset. I try really hard not to cry and crying also makes my tissue expander pain feel worse. I will attend the Look Good, Feel Better workshop on Gold Coast next month. I still wake at night time thinking this is all a bad dream. I think I am doing well emotionally. Thankyou for this group of caring and supportive people it really does help. xx Nicole

  • Nicole HelenNicole Helen Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2015

    Reality really hit me last Thursday after meeting with the Oncologist for the first time. My chemo of 6 months (AC2 Taxol) will start in about 2-3weeks I will find out the date next week after I have the port a cath put in.

    Well as I mentioned before, the reality of loss of hair really did hit me hard, up until then I was telling myself and beleiving that a miracle would happen that I would not loose my hair. Even though I had looked at wigs ad even tried some on just in case I still keeped telling myself I would not need them. Since last Thursday I can't stop crying when I think about it. I know it is not important when compared to saving my life but I am so upset. I try really hard not to cry and crying also makes my tissue expander pain feel worse. I will attend the Look Good, Feel Better workshop on Gold Coast next month. I still wake at night time thinking this is all a bad dream. I think I am doing well emotionally. Thankyou for this group of caring and supportive people it really does help. xx Nicole

  • mgndam1603mgndam1603 Member Posts: 753
    edited March 2015

    a great post and good description of the timeline and what to expect.

    I had my husband use his clippers on me, my head was so sore and I was loosing my hair like a labrador. Itsd all good, it grows back and we move on.

    cheers

    Donna

     

  • mgndam1603mgndam1603 Member Posts: 753
    edited March 2015

    a great post and good description of the timeline and what to expect.

    I had my husband use his clippers on me, my head was so sore and I was loosing my hair like a labrador. Itsd all good, it grows back and we move on.

    cheers

    Donna

     

  • libby73libby73 Member Posts: 14
    edited March 2015

    Well today is the day I go and get my head shaved...I am only a week past my first treatment but the nurses in the unit suggested I get it done early so lunch time today and I too will be a bald eagle...and no doubt my partner will join in on the name calling...I think that is his way of dealing with things...I don't mind...whatever gets him through really...

    I agree wigs are too hot at the moment so I ordered some bandanas from 'the hat show' online...they just arrived yesterday (good timing) and I bought some colourful, cool scarves from the local op shops. My daughters are excited that when they get home from school mummy will be bald...my eldest is more excited cause she gets too use my good shampoo and conditioner lol...

    I found that most of the medical team weren't concerned about telling me that I'm going to lose my hair it was explaining to me that it would grow back curly bahahahahahaha....like that was the worst thing in the world...maybe because my hair is blond and straight they thought I would freak out...I'm looking at it as a new me...improved...cancer free

    Good luck to everyone

  • Ciaobella57Ciaobella57 Member Posts: 26
    edited March 2015
    Hi am having my second round of chemo as we speak. I had my hair cut really short two weeks ago and plan to shave as soon as I see the first hair shed! After spending years dying and straightening my hair I found it so liberating get my hair cropped . I did it as a control thing initially then loved it . I felt like it made me a braver version of myself ( that sounds ridiculous I know ) but in turn that helped me cope with my treatment . I am more worried about growing back curly hair lol- I like curls on everyone else but not me . I have bought a couple of really nice scarves but who knows I may be brave enough to wear the bald head look in public !
  • Nicole HelenNicole Helen Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2015

    Thank you for your comments and stories ladies, reading your stories is helping me come to terms with what is going to happen. I have had many hairstyles and colours over the years and have also worn fashion wigs in the past, so wearing a wig or scarf shouldn't bother me I would have thought but so much has happened since discovering my cancer on 22nd December 2014 sometimes I wake feeling it is still a dream. But really thanks for your brave stories it really does help.

    Take care all.

    Nicole xx :)

  • LelouakLelouak Member Posts: 14
    edited March 2015

    You will get through this.  If you feel like you need to cry, let it all out.

    It does all seem a bit surreal in the beginning, but unfortunately reality does hit you and then i reversed into my husbands beautiful tool box (oops)!

    Take care

    xx

  • Hazel MHazel M BrisbaneMember Posts: 708
    edited March 2015

    I am 10 months post chemo and at the moment I have a very nice shade of silver going on and lovely soft curls. I can vividly remember getting my partner to cut my hair right back, then 2 days later while trying to shampoo what was left, my hair was on the shower floor all around my feet. Surreal! Loved my scarves, didn't wear my wig very much. As upset as I was when it happened, looking back, it was a small hiccup. For myself, I love my new hair and I hope things go well for you too. All the best,

    Hazel xx

  • Cook65Cook65 Member Posts: 733
    edited March 2015
    I decided to rock the bald look. I wore a wig to work but otherwise went a la naturale. I didn't mind it at all. My hair is growing back now and I hate it. I look like a chimpanzee baby. Fine dark hair sticking straight up. It's not long enough to have any curl yet but I'm still hopeful.
    Karen xox
  • Cook65Cook65 Member Posts: 733
    edited March 2015
    I decided to rock the bald look. I wore a wig to work but otherwise went a la naturale. I didn't mind it at all. My hair is growing back now and I hate it. I look like a chimpanzee baby. Fine dark hair sticking straight up. It's not long enough to have any curl yet but I'm still hopeful.
    Karen xox
  • Cook65Cook65 Member Posts: 733
    edited March 2015
    I decided to rock the bald look. I wore a wig to work but otherwise went a la naturale. I didn't mind it at all. My hair is growing back now and I hate it. I look like a chimpanzee baby. Fine dark hair sticking straight up. It's not long enough to have any curl yet but I'm still hopeful.
    Karen xox
  • Ciaobella57Ciaobella57 Member Posts: 26
    edited March 2015

    Hang in there- I think the word Surreal hits the nail on the head. Wishing you all the best. As everyone says cry when you need to, you will feel better!

    xxx

  • Ciaobella57Ciaobella57 Member Posts: 26
    edited March 2015

    Hang in there- I think the word Surreal hits the nail on the head. Wishing you all the best. As everyone says cry when you need to, you will feel better!

    xxx

  • Ciaobella57Ciaobella57 Member Posts: 26
    edited March 2015

    Hang in there- I think the word Surreal hits the nail on the head. Wishing you all the best. As everyone says cry when you need to, you will feel better!

    xxx

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