After meeting with my medical oncologist, it was clear that I was going to get chemotherapy. One of the side effects of the AC chemo is that you will lose your hair.
I had long, thick, curly hair and I have had a life-long love-hate relationship with my hair. I tried short hair, straighten it, leave it curly. Most of the time I had my hair in a messy bun. At the time of my diagnosis my hair was pretty long, probably hitting the middle of my back.
Maintaining my long hair required quite some work and I had to wash it on a regular basis to make sure it wouldn’t get all knotted.
My surgeon had explained that after the surgery, I would have limited range of motion in my arms, especially my right arm because of the lymph node dissection. On top of that, you can’t take a proper shower for the first few weeks and all this made me decide that I would cut my hair short before the surgery.
I went to see my favorite hairdresser and got a fun, new do. Before we cut it all off, we put my hair in a braid and cut it right above the rubber band so I could donate my hair. I send it to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for people with cancer. I couldn’t think of a better place to send my curly hair.
They had told me that I would start to lose my hair after two weeks. Two weeks came and went, and nothing happened. Then, all of sudden, I am taking a shower and I held a clump of hair. It has started. Two days later I went back to my hairdresser and asked her to give me a buzz cut a la G.I. Jane. I continued to lose my hair and now there were lots of tiny hairs everywhere. In the shower, the bathroom, on my pillow and on my clothes.
It was time to shave my head. I slathered my hair with shaving cream and inch by inch I took any remaining hair off.
It felt very liberating. I knew it was coming, but now that it was done it was actually quite nice. I had thought about wearing a scarf or a hat or maybe even a wig. In the end, I wore my bold head out and proud.
I did wear a beanie to bed to make sure my head would not get too cold at night in the air-conditioning. Whenever I went for a walk, I made sure to either wear a hat or sunscreen. The last thing I wanted was a sunburn.
Besides the hair on my head, other hair started to disappear as well. On my legs, bikini area and the hairs in my nose. I didn’t realize to nose hairs had such an important role until they were gone. It caused my nose to be really dry and at times painful. In the morning, I would take a Q-tip and put Vaselin on the inside of my nose to prevent it from getting too dry and even bleed at times.
Once I finished the AC treatment, my hair started to return very slowly. It looks like fuzz in the beginning. After a year and a half, I am now finally able to put my hair in the tiniest of ponytails.
My hair came back exactly the same way than it was before only a lot grayer. I have heard about people’s hair textures being completely different. Thankfully, this was not the case for me.
The hair in my nose and on the rest of my body returned as well.
How did you manage your hair loss?