Daily Archives: September 21, 2011

The One About The Hair

Of all the things I expected to get upset over during this whole cancer thing, losing my hair was actually fairly low on the list.

I’ve already declared my excitement to wear cool spy wigs, but I haven’t really talked much about the hair thing since The Shedding began.

First, let me make it clear that losing my hair was a lot more traumatizing than I ever expected it to be. I have never been attached to my hair, having it every cut and colour under the sun. I was more worried about losing my appetite than my hair (as if my appetite would ever go away, ha).

But there are really no words to describe the feelings that come with that first clump of hair in your hands. In some ways I was happy because it showed the chemo was working. In others it was a punch in the face of “Holyhellthisisreallyhappening.”

There are two ways most women deal with losing their hair on chemo. Some will jump the gun and shave it all off before any more has a chance to fall out. It’s a way to avoid having to pull out clumps or find strands all over the place, and a nice little “eff you” to cancer and chemo.

Another way to deal with it is by massaging the hair out. Working the fingers through the scalp to push the hair out, pulling out as much as they can. This is a lot more natural way to do it, but again, still not a good time.

I got all kinds of recommendations on what to do about the hair situation. Some said shave it right away, others said cut it really short. Even though I waited a month to start chemotherapy, I still felt really unprepared when the first day came. I was overwhelmed by all the suggestions, so I ended up doing nothing about it. I cut my long hair to chin length and left it at that.

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Turns out, leaving my hair as is was the best non-decision I’ve made throughout this whole thing.

I was told that my hair could be gone in a matter of days when it first started falling out six weeks ago. I couldn’t bring myself to shave it all off, nor could I let myself pull it all out at once. So I just let my hair do it’s thing, picking strands off my shirts and out of my food the whole way along.

My hair is quite thin now. My bangs are slowly disappearing in the front and I’m always concerned a small breeze will expose the pink skin under the thin layer of hair. But still not bad enough to make people stare. Choosing to just let it be gave me six extra weeks with my hair I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Pulling strands of my own hair out every day is actually really scary. It’s upsetting. It’s annoying as hell. But I think it’s also given me the time to come to terms with what is happening rather than trying to put an end to it. It’s turned into a time where I say goodbye to my old self a little bit each day. And it’s helped me say hellloooo to the new blonde in town.
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Now I just need a trenchcoat to go with my spy wig.

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