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Dealing with Hair Loss

webaur
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi, all!!

Just wanted some encouragement on this matter. I've tried to stay upbeat, but now that my hair is starting to fall out, I guess the reality is setting in. Why is hair loss such a big hurdle to jump? I have done all the preliminary steps (even joked about it!!), but now that it is really happening, I am feeling a bit blue. I got some hats and two wigs from the local ACS office. My 15 year old daughter even helped my hairdresser with her opinions on the styling of the wigs and helped me pick out a wide brimmed hat to wear to church.

Maybe it is getting to me because I feel so tired. It's been a busy few days trying to get some things done in preparation for my second daughter's 15th birthday (yesterday). Now, I have to get ready for my mother and sister to arrive this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing them (haven't seen my mom for over a year and my sister for several months--before this all started), but also a little apprehensive. I'm a control freak and having them here and doing things for me......

What's ahead? I have an appointment with my GYN on Friday to have a check-up and get a mammogram order for the other breast. One more visit!!! I also have to deal with having my 42nd b-day on Saturday. We are to have our baby dedicated at church on Sunday. My husband has to go out of town on business Monday for a few days. AND, provided that my blood counts are ok, I will have my second chemo (A/C) on Tuesday. Needless to say, I am glad that my mother and sister will be here for that part of this mess.

I appreciated reading the suggestions given about keeping a notebook with information. I have been trying to go back and remember what has happened each day since my first surgery. It helps to keep it written down!! I also decided after having my blood draw yesterday that I would insist that I be called with the results each time so I can keep track of what the counts are as compared to how I feel. Up to now, they have said that they would only call me if the counts were too low. I decided yesterday that I wanted to know regardless.

Anyway, I have rambled on long enough. I guess it's time to go. I guess that I am just having a blue day--matches the gloomy, rainy weather we are having. Any uplifting thoughts would be appreciated.

Wendy

P.S. Anyone have a suggestion on how us Wendys can distinguish ourselves for your benefit? I'm just a "desert rat"!! :-)

cherdaetwyler
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2000

Hi Wendy,
You are the Wendy with a daughter who shares my birthday. I turned 55 yesterday.
tell her happy birthday from me.
I am running just 1 1/2 chemo cycles ahead of you, had my third last Tuesday.
I still have some hair, but it seems like very little to a person who is used to waist-length hair...I have not let it bother me too much, but tonight in a restaurant I got a lot of wierd looks at my fuzzy hat.
Usually I know if I am going in somewhere like that and wear my wig, but this started out as an afternoon drive cause my husband just wanted to get out of the house.
too wet and muddy to do any yard work, even still frozen except the top skinny layer of mud.

I dno't know really what will help you, I just am used to dealing with blue days (had depression since childhood). I usually "pamper" myself through them, but with a baby daughter I can see where that isn't a real option for you.

My pampering usually involves curling up with a long novel (sometimes even one that I have read dozens of times since childhood) and a pot of tea in the cozy, and some crackers or even better, chocolate. Even when my boys were small I would get them organized next to the couch I curled up on and they would play or read (both read at 3) probably from desperation.

I hope your days are beginning to go better.
cher

webaur
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi, Cher!!

Thanks for the response. Life has been busy the past few days, so that has kept my mind occupied and not dwelling too much on my hair. Unfortunately, I go handfuls of hair when I took a shower on Wednesday. I was hoping to keep my hair through the weekend as tomorrow is my birthday and we are having our baby dedicated in church on Sunday. Didn't want to wear a wig, but that's no longer an option. I had my head shaved last night, so I have to get used to yet another transformation of my looks. I know its only temporary--my husband won't let me forget it!!--but it is still difficult...especially since I am not know for wearing hats or scarves.

Pampering myself would be nice--but I don't get too much time alone, and when the baby is asleep, I am usually too pooped to do much of anything. Maybe one of these days....

Well, I best go for now. Let me know a time you would like to try the chat room and I'll try to be there. Would love to get to know you a bit better. How are you doing from your last chemo? I will have my second one on Tuesday....oh boy!!!

Well, I'm going to go now and try to get some sleep tonight....the last couple of nights haven't been too good. Also, I have a big day of cleaning, etc. ahead with my mom and sister coming tomorrow. Where do the hours in a day all go??

Well, take care and I look forward to trying to chat with you. Thanks, again, for the response. It's great to know that someone cares.

Blessings.....Wendy

cherdaetwyler
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2000

Hi again Wendy,
I have been thinking about you and your baby's exciting day. And all the other stuff going on around you.

Chemo seems to have been a typical week so far....I did not get my copies of the blood counts but my nurses haven't called either to say any intervention is necessary.
So I guess I have held the counts to the high range of abnormally low. It is always the second week counts which have been really bad for me.

MY hair ( which is thin and wispy now, but seems to still be growing where it did not fall out) looks horrible today. I wore my wig all day yesterday and the hair was bent and twisted and sticking straight out when I took it off.

At this point I am saving the remaining hair on my head to see what happens to it when we switch over to the taxotere. My nurses think it will stay then, but they aren't sure, since most everyone gets upset and shaves off the remaining wisps when it starts really going.

Prayers and hugs, for you and for all your family,
cher

cruf
Posts: 931
Joined: Oct 2000

Hey Wendy. It's Cathy. Sorry you're having such a Blue Day. It's OK to feel blue, cry curse etc. Do whatever it takes to get you through these hard times.You're lucky your family is coming to visit(help)you.Enjoy your visit with them. Relax,and let them help you. You deserve all the help you can get. I know how hard it is when your husband travels. My husband is gone at least 4 days every week. All my medical appts.,surg. run around his travel,although,I must say, he is there when I need him. Take care. Keep in touch. Cathy

webaur
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2001

Thanks for the response, Cathy!!

It is a real bummer to wash your hair and get handfuls of hair!!! I was so haping that this wouldn't happen, but.... Anyway, my husband wanted me to go ahead and have it shaved off...which I did last night (my hairdresser gave me a buzz!!)

This will be the first time my husband has left town since I was diagnosed. Glad my mom and sister will be here. I am almost looking forward to him being gone!!! I do dread my mom being here, because she will try to clean my house for me----we still haven't gotten things completely rearranged from shuffling rooms when our baby was born.

Let me know when you want to try the chat again!! My husband says "Hi!"

Take care.

Wendy

judyd
Posts: 130
Joined: Nov 2000

Hi Wendy, I did not have to have chemo so I can't say I know what you are going through. I just know it must be hard but if it will get you better then it will be worth it. Just hang in there & try to keep thinking positive thoughts. I will keep you in my prayers. It will be good to have your family there to help you out & to just be there for you. Judy

bdean
Posts: 262
Joined: Feb 2001

Wendy: I am responding to the complete blood count statement of your letter. In my oco. office, they will give you a copy of your blood work, if you ask them. I have one for each CBC they have done, and it is nice to be able to refer back to them; you may need to get a nurse to explain how to read it. I have finished my chemo and my hair is growing back & looks like a buzz cut! Keep the faith, and let the sunshine in whenever you can. You are in my prayers. Brenda in GA.

melm
Posts: 105
Joined: Jan 2001

Hi, Wendy. I completely understand about the hair loss issue. My hair has always been my best feature and I am one of those women who are a bit obsessed about it looking just right. Considering this, I was like you, though. I joked & laughed about it and was really kind of looking forward to getting this part of the ordeal over with! But once my husband shaved my head & I took a look at my "pointy" little head, I was a little depressed ( I don't know why...was I expecting to be a "hot chic" with a bald head? ha) Next Thursday I will have my 3rd chemo ( out of 6) and my hair fell out near the end of Jan. I have been practicing differend head coverings and being creative. I have two wigs but they itch too much, so I favor scarves & hats. It's okay to be blue. You have a right to be! Just keep your chin high and know that God is going to get you through this.
Oh, and Wendy, if you or anyone else in the group have some "different" ideas about how to wear scarves or make headcoverings, please share!! Hang in there & enjoy having others take care of you. And thank the Lord that you have them! Hugs & prayers...Mel in AR.

cherdaetwyler
Posts: 165
Joined: Dec 2000

Hey Mel,
Regarding the headcoverings, my daughter-in-law got me a book for christmas called
Happy Hats, Cool Caps that gives directions for bunches of various headcoverings that can easily be sewn if you sew at all.
Many of the ideas can be adapted to attaching to a regular ball cap or other head-covering for a different look.
I tried to find my book this morning so I could share the rest of the info on it but have your bookstore try a title search for it ( or your library see if they can get it )
I think it is a great resource.
I havent had much energy for sewing for myself lately. I am trying to get a big project of Confederate uniforms done before mid-march and that is taking all my energy.
hugs cher

wensue
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2000

Wendy,
It is not vanity alone that makes the hair loss so devastating. It hits your self esteem and does not allow you to hide the fact that you have cancer. I used some humor to try and get through. I bought a red wig and a brown wig, and a blonde wig as well as about ten different hats. This way no one knew what I was going to look like day to day. You will find what works for you.
Love,
SoCal Wendy

wensue
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2000

Wendy,
It is not vanity alone that makes the hair loss so devastating. It hits your self esteem and does not allow you to hide the fact that you have cancer. I used some humor to try and get through. I bought a red wig and a brown wig, and a blonde wig as well as about ten different hats. This way no one knew what I was going to look like day to day. You will find what works for you.
Love,
SoCal Wendy

wensue
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2000

Wendy,
It is not vanity alone that makes the hair loss so devastating. It hits your self esteem and does not allow you to hide the fact that you have cancer. I used some humor to try and get through. I bought a red wig and a brown wig, and a blonde wig as well as about ten different hats. This way no one knew what I was going to look like day to day. You will find what works for you.
Love,
SoCal Wendy

wensue
Posts: 13
Joined: Oct 2000

Wendy,
It is not vanity alone that makes the hair loss so devastating. It hits your self esteem and does not allow you to hide the fact that you have cancer. I used some humor to try and get through. I bought a red wig and a brown wig, and a blonde wig as well as about ten different hats. This way no one knew what I was going to look like day to day. You will find what works for you.
Love,
SoCal Wendy

sueholm's picture
sueholm
Posts: 221
Joined: Oct 2000

Wendy: as soon as my hair started to come out I had it shaved off...felt much better after that...I was in control again!
also, regarding reports..I just told docs I wanted copies of every report, filled out a form, and they are obliged to provide. I pick up each time I go to cancer clinic. Dont let them tell you otherwise. Knowledge is power... in my book.
Your white blood count can go down a lot before they delay chemo.
Love Susan from canada

webaur
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi, Sue!!

Thanks for the response. I had my hairdresser shave my hair off last night--it REALLY started coming out Wednesday when I was taking a shower. I do see what you mean, I cried at the time I got the handfls of hair, but by the time I was having it shaved off, I was just glad I wouldn't have to see it come out by the handful. I am sad, but I cannot seem to cry over it. I guess more than anything I am mad. I would like to pick up something and hurl it through the wall!! Oh, well.

I talked with my oncologist yesterday about getting the results of my blood work and he gave me a "prescription" to give the lab telling them to give me the results and copies if I wanted. My white blood count was 1/5 on Monday, so am guessing that it has gone back up by now.

How are you doing? Hope all is well with you and yours. I Spring getting close to arriving in Canada? What part do you live in?

Well, its late and I need to try to get some sleep--something I haven't had much of the past couple of nights. I have lots to do tomorrow trying to get ready for my mom and sister to be here--like clean off the beds!!

Take care and thanks again for the response. I look forward to hearing from you again. Take care and God bless!!

Wendy from the California Desert

shout51
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2001

Hello Wendy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast in May, 1995. About 3 weeks after my first chemo my hair started falling out bad. I had already had my long hair cut real short to prepare for this, it didn't help, though. My scalp actually hurt when my hair started falling out so it wasn't long until my husband shaved my head. He and my youngest son tried to make it funny and I tried to laugh but I couldn't. I have always been very particular about my hair and I guess doing that just made me look and feel sick because even in a small town like I live in people who don't know look at you and make rude comments. I lost my hair twice it had just starting coming back in when I had to start taking chemo after my surgery. I took 3 treatments, then surgery, then 3 more treatments and then 30 radiation treatments. But Wendy it comes back in and mine is just as thick and soft and natural curly as before. Think of it as a badge of courage, because you are courageous, you are fighting one of the toughest battles of your life. It is nothing to keep you down. Wendy the American Cancer Society has a catalog called "tlc" and it is full of hats and wigs and other ideas and stories that might help you. Call 1-800-850-9445 and ask them to send you one. They also have a website, it is www.tlccatalog.org. I hope this will help you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Shout51

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