CSN Login
Members Online: 5

New; Soon to start chemo. and scared

PatiM
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2003

Will start chemotherapy on April 22nd for Sarcoma. Finished 7week course of radiation about two weeks ago. Feeling guilty for my vain thoughts re. loosing my hair. I am actually more terrified of that than the treatment. I have prepared for it right down to getting my hair cut QUITE short on the 17th but still am afraid. I feel like I am being so petty. I am sure as chemotherapy progresses my priorites will change but for now I can't let go of the hair loss issue and also the fact that I have been told I will go through early menopause. Are these VAIN feelings normal or am I altogether to preoccupied with my looks? I REALLY HATE FEELING THIS WAY AS I THOUGHT I HAD IT ALL TOGETHER BUT AS I GET CLOSER TO TREATMENT TIME MY FEELINGS GET WORSE.

rosie43539's picture
rosie43539
Posts: 56
Joined: Mar 2003

Hi PatiM, I just read your message and I understand how you feel. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer on Nov. 6, 2000. I was told that I would have to undergo chemotherapy. It literally scared me to death. My worst fear was that I would be stuck in the bathroom with my head over the toliet sick. I did stress about the hair loss issue.I could not imagine myself bald. You didn't say how old you were but I am 50 now, was 47 when diagnosed. You just need to be prepared for the hair loss. By that I mean go pick out a wig now before you lose you hair so you can get as near to you color as possible. Personally I liked the scarves and turbans best. The American Cancer Society has a program called "Look good, feel better". They teach you how to take care of your skin, apply makeup and give you ideas about tying your scarves etc. They also give you a gift pack with makeup, skin care products etc. Believe me, the initial fallout is the worst and you will be more comfortable with it in time. And keep in mind "It will come back". Mine came back with a vengance. Grows like crazy. Good luck to you. E-mail me if you want to. Love and Prayers. Rosie

PatiM
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2003

Got over the hair loss issue HOly Thursday. After mass went to my hairdressers and we had a "GI Jane" party. It was a lot of fun and when all was said and done I DON'T LOOK HALF BAD WITHOUT HAIR! My children enjoy rubbing my head and I even went into a candy shop without my wig with their prompting, littlest one holding my hand. :) God is given me an immense amount of courage. Never thought I had this kind of strength in me. ALways considered my self a WIMP. NOT ANY MORE, I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR!!! :) GOD BLESS.

PatiM
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2003

Got over the hair loss issue HOly Thursday. After mass went to my hairdressers and we had a "GI Jane" party. It was a lot of fun and when all was said and done I DON'T LOOK HALF BAD WITHOUT HAIR! My children enjoy rubbing my head and I even went into a candy shop without my wig with their prompting, littlest one holding my hand. :) God is given me an immense amount of courage. Never thought I had this kind of strength in me. ALways considered my self a WIMP. NOT ANY MORE, I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR!!! :) GOD BLESS.

dpomroy's picture
dpomroy
Posts: 137
Joined: Dec 2000

I'm sorry you have to go through any of this at all. But is what you are feeling normal, you betcha! I am a teacher and was really dreading losing my hair and then standing up in front of all those people every day. They were cool about it, but it didn't make me like it any better. I got a wig, but didn't wear it much...it wasn't particularly comfortable and didn't feel like "me". I recommend having one as a backup even if you hate it! I wore lots of hats, caps and scarves tied in different ways. The makeup tips in the classes the hospitals teach would've been a great idea. I just didn't take advantage of it. I wish I would have because it was hard to feel like a girl with no hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Not everyone loses eyebrows and eyelashes, so let's hope you're one of the lucky ones. Some don't even lose all their hair. A girlfriend of mine's just got really thin, she never did have to cover her head with anything. The menopause thing kinda stinks. I went through it, went back to normal, got more chemo and went through it again. See if they can't give you something right away when you first start having symptoms. I don't think you are being vain at all. All these changes would be a huge deal to anyone even if they didn't also have the cancer to contend with. Good luck to you.

squeeboo
Posts: 29
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi PatiM,
You're definately not being petty. I had chemo for breast cancer this past spring and summer and finished in September. I lost all my hair and it sucked. It was the hardest part of the whole treatment for me, but I did try to keep in mind that it is temporary! I strongly suggest you get a wig that is close to your short hairstyle, before you start chemo. They can match your color and texture and style very well and I guarantee that the only people who will know you're wearing a wig will be the people you've told. (I would recommend getting a synthetic one since they're much easier to take care of and look good with a lot less effort).
One thing that helped me was getting a short haircut before I started chemo (I had hair down to the middle of my back before and had had long hair for a long time). Having it short for a little while made it a little less traumatic. After my first chemo session, I had a bunch of my ice hockey friends over and for my 32nd birthday, they gave me a purple and teal mohawk. I figured it was the only time I would ever have a mohawk and it made my friends and me a lot more comfortable about the whole thing since we could joke about it. My friends all dyed their hair wild colors for that weekend.
My hair started to fall out after the second chemo session and I shaved it then. I wanted it to be gone by my hand instead of falling out from chemo. I think that helped too, as I've heard it's much worse to have it falling out in clumps.
While I was having chemo and for about 3 months after, I wore the wig to work and when my husband and I went out to dinner and stuff, but otherwise, wore bandanas or baseball caps since the wig was too hot in the summer. (Most of the people at work noticed my new haircut and complimented me on it). After mid-December, my hair was very short, but I got rid of the wig and now it's about 3-4 inches long.
I know several people who've been through this and they all agree that losing your hair is the worst part. Being bothered by it is totally normal and you should not feel guilty about it.
I don't know how old you are, but my oncologist told me before treatment started that most people over 40 would go through menopause, most people under 30 would not, and in between those ages, it could go either way. I was 32 and during treatment got some menopause symptoms (hot flashed, no periods, etc.). But, the symptoms went away after I finished treatment.
Try to keep in mind that your feelings are totally normal and your hair will grow back!
I wish you the best.

bullfrog13's picture
bullfrog13
Posts: 216
Joined: Apr 2002

PatiM. Yep been there. done that. I am sorry to be so brief, but im pressed for time. Just remember that hair does grow back. email me with your return eamil address and I'll get back with you, mean while i'll be praying for you. HUGS
jerilynfrog13@yahoo.com

BlueShoes1
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2003

Here's a poem my husband wrote for me before I started chemo. Perhaps it will help.

What's Happening to Your Hair

You can lose your hair...
But you can't lose the love that's in your heart for others,
And you can't lose the love and respect of your brothers;
Nor the love of your family,
Nor the beauty that's inside you.
And you can't lose the faith that's always there to guide you.

You can lose your hair...
But not the care that you've given nor the feelings that you share.
And you can't lose the friends you've made almost everywhere.
Nor the hope that the future holds,
Nor the memories of the past.
And you can't lose the power to make each day better than the last.

You can lose your hair...
But you can't lose your will to go on in spite of things.
And you can't lose, no matter what, the hope that prayer brings;
Nor the choice to do what's right,
Nor the strength to face what's there.
There's so much that you can't lose despite what's happening to your hair!

OpaRon
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2003

PatiM, have them give you a cup of ice chips before each chemo treatment, and keep some in your mouth during the treatment. The cold slows the blood circulation, and the chemicals, to the membranes in the mouth and reduces the occurance of mouth sores. Worked great for me. I had stage 4 in July of 1994, and am doing fine today after surgery, 8 weeks of daily radiation, and 8 months of chemo. The outlook is good, but you must keep a positive attitude. It is not easy, but it is definitely worth the effort. The hair will come back better than ever.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network