Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm losing it

Ugh.... my hair is falling out....

I've been running my fingers through it for the past week more often than usual. The docs told me around day 17 after my first chemotherapy infusion, the locks would start to shed. It's the dose and type of chemo I'm getting. It happens to everyone who gets this type of chemo. Even though I tried EFT and praying and meditating and visualization. It's not coming out by the 3 or 4 strands per stroke anymore. It's way worse than that now.

In the wee hours of this morning, there's significant pieces and possibly clumps of hairs coming out. The question is, what do I do? Do I shave my head like many other women that face this hurdle through chemotherapy? Are we going to have a head shaving party with my husband and maybe son or whomever wants to join in? Invite only. It's my party so I can cry if I want to.

The other option would be to see how much falls out and how long it takes. The docs said bald, but I still hold on to the idea that I could be spared of my luscious mane. I really wish I could. I already cut my mop short. Couldn't this be enough? Perhaps I'll wait and see how much falls out before I go all the way. Let's hope it spares my eyelashes and brows and even my nose filaments because those have purpose. Yet if the down is gone in those unwanted areas, that could be a bonus. Some survivors have told me that my head might start to hurt once a majority has come out. I just brushed it and it's disturbing how much was in the brush.

The nurse practitioner for the oncologist said that she wondered why people were so concerned about hair loss instead of all of the other side effects. She has no idea. She doesn't have cancer nor did she lose her breasts, have an infection, replacement surgery, and finally nothing on her chest at all. She has her hair, her health, and I'm sure she sleeps. It's just easier to talk about then all of the other side effects. The other embarrassing and uncomfortable reactions that arise from this chemical infusion aren't as easy to converse about.

Our society is driven by vanity. That makes it tough for those of us going through chemotherapy to keep up with the Jones'. Two down, six more to go. The last infusion is planned for my daughter's first birthday if all goes as planned. I might sport a wig, a hat or a scarf and apply some make up in an attempt to fit into the mortal world until I'm ready to join in again after treatment has ceased.


  1. I can't imagine what that must feel like. That silly nurse was probably just trying to make you feel better...gosh, people can be so awkward! ;). I like to joke that I'm like Jo from Little Women, my hair is "my one beauty". I know I'd be bereft without it especially not by my choice. But you have much more than one beauty & you're going to look great with no hair. And you already look great with the wig! <3 many hugs

  2. I don’t think hair loss is about vanity at all. I think it’s more about identity and losing that identity (in such a hard-to-hide manner) as the hair falls away. You go at your pace with this, and decide whatever feels best.

    I remember when my hair began to fall out, it was one of the most emotionally difficult times for me . . . it was embarrassing, heart-breaking, and way too obvious with the cancer stuff. For me shaving my head was a liberation. But everyone has a different experience. Just take your time, and please don’t let that nurse’s comments get to you. She is wrong to assume how people should feel, particularly since she’s lucky enough not to face the hair-loss experience.


  3. Tegan, I personally dont know you, but i admire your work and have plenty of friends who you have tattooed. I am in remission now for 9 months after a year long battle with lymphoma. I read your blog from time to time and wanted to offer you some hope. My treatment of ABVD was very strong and the doctors told me along with EVERYONE else that I would lose my hair after my second dose (this was extremely devastating considering I am a stylist/colorist and hair is my world) This news was more detrimental than my diagnoses. So after the shock wore off i prepared myself and cut my long hair into a pixie, bought myself a wig and painted on a smile. Well, 6 treatments in my hair was still there.. along with my eyebrows and lashes (and my annoying leg hair). It was thin and brittle but I didnt care! IT was STILL there! So dont always believe what the doctors say! Everyone is different! Have hope and faith! I can offer you some advice on hair products if your interested! I believe they helped me! Stay Strong... because NO One Fights Alone...

  4. As a victim of male pattern baldness, I put little stock in the value of hair, but I am a guy. I do however put stock in the way you can see a person in their eyes. I see the kindness and warmth of a loving mom, wife and friend. Plus Paula can't say enough about you. If people miss the light in your eyes because they are looking at your head, they would miss a sunset from looking at the ground. How sad for them. Praying for strength, smiles, and the warmth of love in your life.

  5. I've heard and read that hair loss can be the most difficult part of cancer treatment. All the other parts seem more easily hidden but your head so exposed, and how the world around you connects with you. it ends up being difficult not to reveal that one is losing hair. It is a crazy vain world we live in and where you have always been told how beautiful you are, I imagine it is a strange identity loss as well as hair loss. The thing is, you are still beautiful, hair or no hair. Plus, You could rock a scarf like nobody's business, and you know it. And when it grows back it will look so cute...

    An aside: you should check out "This Emotional Life" from PBS. It is an amazing study of how the mind works and how it affects our emotions. It is a three segmant series where they study several different people who have had a range of life altering experiences, such as: a WWII vet who was in solitary confinment as a POW for 8 years, a guy with aspergers syndrome, the Dali Lama, a woman with cancer, a man who lost his job and became a stay at home dad, a teen girl with severe depression and undergoes electro shock therapy, two kids who were adopted from a russian orphanage. It studies their reactions to the experience and how they live life through and after. Truly amazing. It was one of the best things I've ever watched on Television.

    Hang in there...

    1. You really talked up that show, and now I want to see it. I'm on the look out for anything to help keep my spirits up. Thanks for the kind words.