Our beloved hair! We all take it for granted. A ‘bad hair morning’ can ruin our outlook and mood for an entire day.
I was fully aware that BEP chemotherapy was one of the types of treatment that would make me loose my hair. In fact, my consultant was even good enough to tell me the approx. time it would take until my hair would start to fall out. Well that time had arrived.
Rewind a few weeks and I actually made the decision to shave my hair off to a grade 1 length. Yes, I could have kept my ‘normal’ look for a few weeks longer however the reasoning behind shaving it off before treatment ‘made it vanish’ was it give me a sense of control. It was a decision I could make and in part, reduce the severity of the hair loss that would follow.
Loosing your hair during chemotherapy can be and is a big deal to a lot of patients (me included), I think it can be even harder for women who in general don’t have ‘shaved’ heads or the bald look that so many men do. Your hair is so much more than a ‘style’ that you wear. It’s part of your personality, your confidence, your identity. Something you associate with being ‘you’.
Treatment can make you look bad enough then add in the hair loss and it can seem like you’ve lost all of ‘you’ when you look in to a mirror.
By shaving my hair off before the treatment made loosing my hair (for me) that little bit easier. I didn’t wake up with ‘big clumps’ of hair on my pillow and when I touched my head ‘clumps’ of hair didn’t appear in my hands. Instead the hair fell out in a more subtle way. Yes, if I rubbed my head hard or pulled at it, my hair would come out in my hand. However the overall transformation was easier for me to accept.
My hair loss cycle went like this….. hair on my head, then my stubble (literally my facial hair stopped growing and just fell out) next was my bodily hair, followed by a close last place with my leg hair, eyelashes and eyebrows.
I have been told that not everyone will loose their eyebrows, as I think ( but don’t quote me) it depends on how much treatment you have. For example. If you have a 3 day BEP regime, 9 days total + top up days, there is less chance of you loosing hair such as eyebrows and eyelashes than if you were having a 5 day BEP cycle, 20 days in total + top up days.
I tried to remind myself that hair loss really isn’t a big deal. I recall one day pulling a purple wig (the one pictures above) out of the ‘Halloween’ costume collection and putting it on. If anything it gave me something to laugh about. Joking aside, I did loose some confidence and took great pleasure in being able to put a baseball cap on, but in the scheme of things, if the medicine / treatment was getting me better, then I could cope with loosing my hair.
There is plenty of advice on the internet about hair loss during treatment, I know Macmillan Cancer Support have a good resource which may help you if you are worried about loosing your hair.
To finish on a positive about hair loss; not many grown adults can say they’ve had hair as soft as ‘baby hair’ when it does start to grow back :-).
Please try not to get too upset or down about loosing it. Remember it’s only temporary!
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