Hair today, gone tomorrow!
09 Oct 2013
When someone mentions chemo the first thing you think of is hair loss so I knew this was coming and surprisingly enough I was reasonably calm with it. It was inevitable so there was nothing at all that I could do about it. Some hospitals offer a “cold cap” which I believe is a swimming cap type thing that is set at about -5° and you need to wear it throughout treatment. I don’t even think it is on offer at Rake Lane and I’m not sure I would have bothered with it even if it was as the verdict still seems to be out on its success rate
For me the hair thing was all or nothing. I decided on day one that the minute the hair started to come out would be the minute it all came off. I personally couldn’t face seeing it come out in handfuls or see it lying on my pillow in the morning, leaving bald patches behind.
Sadly it was fairly early on in the cycle that my hair started to drive me bonkers. My scalp became sore and itchy and felt like I had been wearing it in a tight pony tail for ages. Scratching it made it red and I had to make a big effort not to scratch it in case it got infected. But it was still holding on tight nonetheless. On day 13 I woke up and gave it a tug and it was still hanging on in there but by 11am that day it was a different story. A little tug brought out what must have been 15 hairs at once. This was it, it was on its way out!
As I had decided to do the hair loss thing on my own terms I knew the day had arrived when I would need to take the clippers to it. So that evening Simon and I faced up to what turned out to be quite challenging even though I had been calm about it up to now. I wanted to do the first “cut” myself and Simon had kindly offered to do the rest. Well the tears started and I almost bottled out of it, Simon offered to start it but it absolutely had to be me that did the first one. Many big deep breaths later, one hand holding Simon's hand, the other holding the clippers and I did it, albeit through tears!
Those who have known me a long time will know I have terribly frizzy curly hair and these days I get it chemically straightened. If I’m honest I am more worried about the awful frizzy curls coming back than I was about the hair coming out in the first place which is a bit daft I know but having suffered years of hairdressers telling me “sorry there is nothing we can do with your hair” I’m just dreading what it is going to look like. I can’t have chemicals on it for a while once it starts coming back so it’s going to be hideous! I think the wig will be on for a while don’t you!
So the roots of my hair are therefore quite curly and basically go all over the place so it took some doing to get through all that hair. Once we were up and running and Simon was cracking though it I did feel slightly better and I have to be honest the relief was lovely. I think the weight of the hair trying to hold on to follicles that are trying to release the hair is what makes it hurt so much so once it was off it was actually a great feeling.
The kids kept popping up to have a look and were OK with it and Simon said I didn’t look too bad with my hair in a lovely “grade 4 all over” doo! I do have pictures of it but at this point my spots were horrendous, half whiteheads and half big red angry blots so they aren’t for public viewing I’m afraid.
So the deed had been done and my locks were now in a plastic bag in the bin. It hadn’t been as bad as I thought in the end and I guess I have to keep thinking the fact that it started to come out meant the chemo is working. In my mind I had also done it on my terms before the cancer did it to me which meant a lot to me. I must say a massive thank you to Simon for helping me do this. I know it was a really hard thing for him to do. Thanks mate xxxx
So the wig now had to come out! It was scary wearing it at first as I still had a thick, albeit short covering of hair underneath it which meant it didn’t “stick” too well to my head. It needed a fringe trimming into it too so it was quite annoying at first. The first outing was to see Kyle’s teacher early that morning so on the wig went along with loads of make-up to cover the hideous zits, you can imagine how self-conscious I felt. The upside was that it was raining and my “hair” didn’t go frizzy which is a first! That morning I managed to visit Kyle’s school, the doctors, chemists and Morrison’s without any funny looks or anyone shouting “that woman is wearing a wig” so it wasn’t too bad. I was however dying to take it off when I got home which still gives Simon a fright as I walk in the front door pulling my entire hair off!
Day 17 was also the next momentous day in that when I went in the shower my new short hair literally slid off my head! I stood for ages in the shower trying to get rid of it all. I had to stop half way through and unblock the shower drain as it was blocked. When I came out I had extremely thin, patchy hair that wafted gently as I moved. I lasted all of an hour with this before we decided to get the clippers out and clipper it again without the guard. Simon said I looked worse like this so we decided it needed doing. So by the end of the night I had a nice covering of rather irritating, patchy stubble!
After a lot of thought I have decided to "be brave" and publish the pictures of me in all my baldy glory! This has to be honest taken a bit of guts and is quite hard for me because its not the greatest look I have ever had although to be fair when the curls come back Ill probably look a lot worse!! So I hope I dont frighten anyone and rest assured I am certainly not brave enough to leave the house looking like this!
There are upsides to both being bald (ish). No shampooing, conditioning, drying and straightening to be done on my head. The wig can be washed quickly and I can get on with other things whilst it soaks in the sink. However it is rather chilly without hair!! I need to wear a hat in bed now as I get cold plus the stubble sticks to the pillow which is not the most pleasant sensation!
The kids have been Ok with it, Leo still prefers me in the wig but he is OK with the bald look and knows I’m quite happy at home wearing a silly scarf or going au natural. I have however of course threatened to take them to school without the wig if they misbehave!
I must say once the hair came off my wig fitted much better, I had been worried it was going to pop off my head before at some inopportune moment which wouldn’t have been great! However as I write this on the first day of cycle 2 I must tell you that the stubble is holding on strong and is even growing…….what on earth is that all about. Not really sure what to do about it but I’m not loving it. I’ve gotten over looking at a bald me in the mirror and everyone in the house is now used to me wandering around bald but stubble is rubbish! If I can’t have my usual hair I’d prefer to be like Kojak with absolutely nowt!
So that’s the story of the hair coming off. A really hard thing to do in the end but afterwards it wasn’t as bad as I imagined and like I say it was on my terms so another point to me I do believe!
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