CSN Login
Members Online: 20

Hair Loss :( ....How did U handle it??

grape88
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2008

Hi everybody!! I just found this site today....I wish I had found it a whole lot sooner because I think this is so great and very helpful!! :) But I'm having a dilemma; I'm 19 years old and I just recently was put into remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma and a successful stem-cell transplant!! Yay :) I've been battling since June of '07, so I'm very relieved. But I'm getting so tired of wearing wigs!!! I hate wearing them in the first place, so if I don't wear them, I wear a wrap or bandana over my head in front of anyone but my family. I just wanted to how other people handled this problem and when did they start showin' off their heads?? I have a little more than buzz-cut length right now but I just feel so ugly and akward when I don't have anything on my head!! And now that I work again(at a hair salon!! ironic, huh?) and go to school I'm especially nervous to not wear anything!! If anybody could please help me out with some advice that would be great because I don't have the greatest self-esteem in the world and I feel like you guys are people that can actually understand what I'm going through.
Thanks......Lena

Your CSN Support Team's picture
Your CSN Suppor...
Posts: 200
Joined: May 2008

Hello,

You may want to do a search of the CSN site by typing words such as "hairloss" in the search bar at the top of this page. You can then browse the results and contact other members if you wish.

Kind regards,

Your CSN Staff

srisko's picture
srisko
Posts: 34
Joined: Apr 2008

Hi Lena, I have a friend whose hair never grew back and she is such a pretty girl and I am sure you are too. She doesn't wear wigs, she paints her head with face paint. One day she would a have the moon and stars on her head, while the next day she had roses and the designs were wicked intense too and it makes her feel beautiful. Where a special a outfit when go go out and jewlery so you'll feel better. Also write down all the things that you think make you beautiful (physcially and non-pyshically)then tape it to your mirror that way when you wake up and look at yourself you'll think: "Bam! look at me!" Never think of yourself as ugly. Bald is Beautiful!
Hugs,
Sarah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISET9kt5wfE

Mannie
Posts: 51
Joined: Oct 2008

I had radiation for brain cancer. Since the tumor was in the front, I lost the front half of my hair so I shaved my head. As strange as it sounds to a lot of people, chemo did not make my hair fall out. I was tired of wearing wigs at times but I also found it to be much easier than having to brush, blow dry, then spray junk in every single day. There are so many celebrities that wear wigs. There are so many people in general that wear wigs. I notice it now a lot more. A lot of older women wear wigs, my grandmas both wore wigs.I had a wig that I was completely in love with and didn't mind wearing. Actually, I had the best hair of my life for the time I wore them. As for when I decided to let the world know my secret, it wasn't until I went to a hair dresser and had my hair professionally cut, styled, and colored. I had a lot of white and gray hair coming in; my hair dresser was mortified by that so she fixed me up. My hair dresser cut my hair as best she could - it was the thickest hair I could ever have imagined having. I still can't believe I have this much hair. I think I had about 2 inches of hair when I went for a cut so I had some kind of style. I went back every 2 months to get it trimmed up because we were waiting for the hair on the top of my head to catch up with the bottom part. It wasn't until I was comfortable styling my own hair and having my own hair that I quit wearing the wig. I actually miss having long hair at times. Right now my hair isn't quite finger length. People love the short hair though and I do too, if it looks great. Having your own styled hair will make you feel fantastic, I promise. I always hated when anyone would say that bald is beautiful because you don't feel beautiful, it was humiliating for me because being bald is a dead giveaway that you're sick.
I was more embarrassed about having gained almost 100lbs from taking steroids. I still have huge stretch marks (people actually stare at me, can you believe that?) and extra skin. My doctor has said I will need reconstructive surgery to fix that. That was my huge stumbling block and still is currently.

sandybe
Posts: 40
Joined: Aug 2008

I finished my chemo June 30 last year. I went on vacation two weeks later. It was way too hot for the wig so I wore a pink or white ball cap. I'm not really the ball cap type of person, and they are way too hot as well. The bandana's also got to me with the heat. That's when I decided to say !@#$%^& and went bald in public. I never thought I would be comfortable with it, and it was hard at first. I think the easier part was that I was away on vacation where nobody knew who I was and this gave me time to get comfortable with it. After all, you did battle cancer and you did have chemo and you did lose your hair due to the whole process. The worst that can happen is people will look at you or be afraid to look at you. I actually found that most people were nicer to me and would go out of their way to help me. I was told by some people that it really hit them when they seen me bald, it just made things seem that much more real to them.
I have to add that when my hair did come back it did not come back very thick for me. It was very thin in the beginning and you could see through it for many months. It was very sparse on top and did not grow very quickly at first. Once it did start growing, look out!
Good luck, only you can decide what to do, you have to be comfortable with it. Maybe starting with little steps may help

becc
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2002

I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when I was 15 (had my 16th birthday in the hospital)and I am now 27 and cancer free. I lost my hair almost immediately when I was receiving treatment. It was devastating as I'm sure you know. I actually had to stop my treatment part of the way through in order to get my body ready for surgery which meant my hair started to grow back which in turn meant it fell out a second time (that was even worse). Through all of this I never once covered up my head when I went out. I never wore a hat, scarf or wig. I figured this was a small price to pay in order to get healthy and I had always wanted short hair, though not quite this short. I knew it would be hard going out like this and I was right. I was called names at times (mostly by other kids) and was stared at ALOT, but I never changed my mind. I was okay with it and as far as I was concerned anyone who wasn't could go to hell. I also figured this would be the only time in my life I would be able to experience being hairless and was going to make the best of it. I never realized how many sensations hair stops you from feeling. A cool breeze blowing by, water rushing around you as you dive into a pool, a stream of water from the shower head beating down in a rhythmic massaging way. Maybe confidence is the key, but maybe not. I think it is all about the experiences and within experiences confidence is built. Oh, and besides that, when there is no hair in the way, your eyes will look AMAZING! ;)

lsams09's picture
lsams09
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2009

i know exactly how you are feeling with the no hair thing. i am a senior in high school and i recently was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. i lost all of my hair, right now it is about 1/2 inch long. when i first lost my hair i was kinda depressed. i felt like poeple was always staring at me. i have a low self esteem also, i am just now starting to feel comfortable about putting my hood down. i think that you should start doing little things to make your self more comfortable, like at first i made sure everyone knew i didnt have hair and like i only let my close friends see it. then after a while i just started feeling better about it. if you think about it if you didnt wear your wig, do you think anyone is really going to say anythign about it? and if they are your friends they will have nothing to say, and if they are not your friends then you shouldnt care what they think anyways. tomorow is the first day i am going to go to school with out my hood on. i am scared of how people are gonna look at me but i need to get over it. wearing a hood or wig all the time is very stressful to me. im sure you agree. believe me it is very hard. and im sur you can get thru it just take little steps and you will become more comfortable. i hope i helped a little.

heather02
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2009

i used a wig that is called "hat magic." it is actually what i refer to as a "half-wig." it has long pretty hair, but just from the middle of your head on down--it's open on top and is meant to be worn with a hat. i'm not a huge hat fan, so i wore different scarves over it every day and got lots of compliments on my style! the hat magic wig is VERY affordable (only about 35 bucks!), so I had several of them to use and i even had one that i wore in braids on the beach! it was very comfortable and much cooler than having a full wig on. it was my personal preference to not look like a sick person--i didn't want people to pity me or treat me differently because i was sick. plus, i really got a kick out of the people i fooled who would comment on how pretty my hair was or how cool i looked with a scarf on my head!!

tobywillwin
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2012

Well I've been wearing wigs for the past two years and not because of hair loss....I don't have cancer...but because I enjoyed the benefit of being able to pick up a beautiful due and look like I just came from a salon.On top of that I get tons of compliments. Recently my best friend was diagnosed with throat cancer and I've been supporting him through it...and again)) I've been getting all these great compliments about my hair...so he gave me the inspiration to start selling wigs...not funky sad ones but ones that have a young appeal and modern look.so I wanted to share my story but to also let you all know I sell brand new trendy wigs...and if anyone's interested ...just inbox me or email me at 9811.AP@Gmail.com

Lelah_77's picture
Lelah_77
Posts: 8
Joined: Jun 2009

Hiya Grape!

I can relate to your baldness issue ~ except more from my 5 year old's perspective. I am very comfortable with my naked head and walk about with out any coverage, but my little one is very nervous about it - this whole process is about HER, too. (I am currently in treatment for agressive B-cell NHL)

So, I have taken to buying LOTS of fun hats. I bought some really cool ones at Newbury Comics and Icing as well as finding a few nice ones in an ACS catalog. I also invested in a set of "bangs" which go on the head with an elastic under the hat (in a similar idea to the halo wig another person mentioned). It makes it look like I have hair under my hat, but short hair that I just keep pretty tight in the back. My friends all commented on how good they looked when we went out to dinner the other night and it helps my little one's anxiety so they were totally worth the $15 I spent on them (plus only $12 for the hat!).

A friend of mine is bald and beautiful right now due to breast cancer treatments and she claims we should all wear our heads naked because there isn't enough awareness and there is too much ignorance to the plights of treatment.

Brave on, bald beauty.

BrittaA's picture
BrittaA
Posts: 20
Joined: May 2009

Hi Lena, Congratulations on your survival!!!! I’m also a Hodgkin’s Disease survivor. I started a blog, www.cincovidas.com, to share my story with other survivors, fighters and caregivers to help them cope with the side effects of cancer treatment. I totally feel for you as I suffered from hair loss during treatment and it took a while for it to grow back in even after. If you are truly tired of the wig, go the bohemian route and get some funky scarves with bright colors and wear big hoop earrings. You can also check out http://www.fashionscarvesandshawls.com/headscarves.html which has a great selection of scarves and hats that are age appropriate. I hope these help. Good luck with school. Love, strength and survival, Britta

Jennygirl84
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

I hated wearing my wig! lol As much as I wanted hair so badly, the wig was so uncomfortable for me and I ended up just wrapping my head in a bandanna. It's not easy losing hair especially when your young. I was 17 and although it was the least of my worries at the time recieving treatments, still it was very traumatic. I started cutting my hair very short so that way it would be easier for me when I lost it... I lost it pretty quickly when I started treatments. I ended up giving in and just shaving my head because it was unbearable for me to sleep when I was rolling around in my own bed of hair at night. It also made my scalp extremely sore when it started falling out and was very sensitive. In the beginning, it can be very depressing watching yourself transform in sch a way (esp for a girl) but eventually you'll get used to your new look and plan on what you'll do with it when it grows back. Thats the only thing that got me through, I was looking forward to all the funky hair fazes I would be going through. And when it did grow back (which it will) it was kinda fun going through all the hairstyles I had, it also makes you emotionally stronger and little issues are easy to face in the future.

AngelicBlue
Posts: 6
Joined: Nov 2009

I lost my hair a month after I started chemo back in 2001. I had really long hair a month before I was diagnosed but I cut it for my boyfriend at the time because he didn't like my long hair. Who knew that even though I hated cutting it, it was actually a small blessing in disguise. My doctor actually told me that my hair would fall out slowly over a matter of months, if it fell out at all. But barely a month after I started chemo I was sitting at the computer talking to a friend telling him about what was going to happen to me and that I was planning on dumping my boyfriend because we had a falling out where he told me that the doctors were stupid and that I wasn't sick and that was just one fiasco that I wish I never went through. I was talking to my friend and my neck started to itch, and when I went and rubbed my neck I came away with a hand full of hair. I looked at my lap and I was covered in hair. I started freaking out, I think it was one of the most traumatic things I went through during treatments. The next day, a family friend came over and shaved what was left off and even then she would just barely touch my scalp with the razor and the hair just fell out. I cried the whole time.

In 2002 I finally consented to a wig because I was asked to escort a good friend to his graduation because if I didn't take him he would have had to take his sister. His mother was embarrassed that I would be going with a bald head even though she was the one that had shaved my head for me. So I went and bought a wig just for that graduation. The moment it came, and I had it styled and everything I instantly hated it. I was on radiation at that time for preventive treatment. Despite the fact that I spent over $300 on that wig, I only wore it for that graduation and I hated it so much I refused to wear it. When I looked in the mirror in that wig it wasn't me that I was looking at and I didn't like what I saw.

The hair lose I came to terms with after a week, but I avoided mirrors because I hated my reflection. The wig I dealt with by not wearing it and hiding it.

davidjones
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

The main cause for loss of hair in women is hormonal imbalance. This can occur at many times and for many reasons. The main reasons for hormonal imbalances are after giving birth and going through menopause. This type of hair loss though will usually resolve itself once the hormones have leveled themselves out. The best idea for choosing a treatment plan is to check with a doctor first. They can give you the best advice and help you to monitor your progress and set realistic goals for getting your hair back.

chrissie1
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2010

Well, when I was undergoing cancer treatment in 2001 I wore a wig at ALL times, except when I was home.

I was only 14, and dealing with a lot of teen issues at the time, so I was very very self-conscious. I'm now 22, and if I were to have cancer again (I hope I never will) I think I would just wear scarves. Wigs are such a pain in the butt.

What I can say, though, is that once my hair started growing back in, it was really really short and I continued to wear my wig. It eventually got to be too long to put the wig over, so my mom forced me to walk into school with my buzz cut. I was mortified, but I still think that she did the right thing. It was tough love, but it worked. All my classmates stared at me when I walked into class, but you know what? They got over it in like 5 minutes. From then on, I never wore my wig, and my hair grew back fine.

Just recently, at 22, my hair has started to thin. I think it is a delayed side effect of the chemo. It's still not that bad, and I'm hoping it is just going through a phase and may regrow.

Hope this helps!

TheMWord's picture
TheMWord
Posts: 23
Joined: Jun 2010

I myself am a 19 year old Hodgkin's survivor, and losing my hair was one of the toughest things for me as a girl. A lot of the suggestions here are great. I personally got so tired of wigs, because they were so itchy, so I did the whole bandanna/beanie thing until I felt comfortable with a buzz cut. Here's the deal: don't care what people think about you, and do what you can to stay comfy with yourself. I now have a full head of hair again, and even though it seems like forever, it'll come back.

Also, if you haven't already, look into the Look Good, Feel Better program offered by the ACS. I didn't need it, but it can help you with the whole hair loss shock, tips on keeping your skin in check, and they give you free makeup and wigs. Check them out.

Take care, and we're here for you. <3

princefore.prince
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

Hair transplant is a surgical technique that involves moving skin containing hair follicles from one part of the body (the donor site) to bald or balding parts (the recipient site). It is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness, whereby grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding are transplanted to bald scalp.

Marvusman's picture
Marvusman
Posts: 22
Joined: Sep 2010

I couldn't care less about losing some hair or being bald. I actually looked better bald which I didn't expect but to me if you have cancer and you consider losing some hair traumatic you need to get your priorities straight LOL. I mean life loss or hair loss. I say focus on your life and health vanity isn't important when you have cancer. Then again I can understand how it is tougher on women but if you survive then heck with your hair I am happy you are here we need more survivors!

CiAnnaBananna's picture
CiAnnaBananna
Posts: 106
Joined: Mar 2010

own the dome! losing your hair is just part of being in the cancer club

kitandkat's picture
kitandkat
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2010

I had a brain tumor removed this summer. Luckily, it was benign, but likely due to previous radiation (for cancer and other things). My surgeon was really great and shaved as little hair as he could. Still, I have this obvious scar and I had staples so for the first few weeks it looked really gross (and I couldn't wash my hair in that area b/c I think the soap could irritate it, I'm not really sure why). My grandmother made me bandanna/head scarves things that I wore out in public.

I often find that the little things upset me more than the big things. My sister picked out some really cutesy patterns for the scarves, which I would've liked in a handbag or something. For example, she picked out a black fabric with stars instead of plain black, which is what I wanted. I had my first "adult" job this summer (I'm 20) at a hospital, and I wanted more grown-up looking scarves to match my work clothes. Add that to the fact that I'm very short and petite, and I was afraid this would add to people not taking me seriously. I got really, really upset about this. I had cried for like 30 seconds before going into surgery because it was in an area that could affect my comprehension and everyone I knew who had had this tumor had ended up in rehab (I'm studying abroad and I just really wanted to be able to do that and also continue to do well at school). I had a huge sob-fest about the scarves. My mom also made me wear them whenever people came over. This annoyed me because I didn't really care, especially since I was already in my pajamas and looking like a mess anyway. I knew all the people, and they knew I had brain surgery so, I figured they would expect I had a scar on my head... lol.

Luckily after I got the staples removed and was allowed to wash all of my hair, I was able to flip my part so you can't see the scar. I have to be careful putting my hair up, because if I don't brush it right you can see the scar. I'm also getting hair growing back around the scar, which sticks up really weirdly. I'm really happy that it's not obvious. My boss couldn't get over how I looked so "normal" lol (I got treated at the same hospital I was working at and she visited me in the ICU). I didn't have to lose my hair when I had cancer because I had thyroid cancer and had RAI and surgery. But from this I can understand why it's such a big deal. I'm a huge person for focusing on the big picture and having perspective, but sometimes when the "big picture" is what's going wrong, it's easier to focus on the little things and get upset about those because it's harder to deal with the reality of cancer. Plus for women I think hair can be a really defining part of who you are/how you present yourself to the world, so it's natural to grieve losing it even if you end up feeling comfortable with a wig or just being bald.

So... I guess the point is I would allow yourself to grieve losing your hair and let yourself be OK with getting upset about it. And then you can focus on how you would be most comfortable presenting yourself. Based on my experience, I think it could be really empowering to pick out a wig or scarves or bandannas that YOU really like and try to make it a fun experience, like you are shopping for jewelry or something (and get someone you trust to respect your tastes to help you!) :) The big thing for me was that on top of not having control about whether I had a glaring scar on my head, I also didn't have control over what I was wearing to cover it because I wasn't well enough to go shopping. In the midst of such a life-changing time it's nice to have control over SOMETHING even if it's something as small as the scarf you're wearing today.

Also maybe you could treat yourself to something else that can make you feel good about your body - like a spa treatment, mani-pedi or a makeup consultation :)

Jenna75
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2011

When I lost all of my hair in 2006, I was only 23. And I do mean ALL of my hair-lashes, brows, leg and armpit hair, the whole nine. This was thanks to aggressive chemo with Etoposide (vp-16). I was SO self-conscious at first, but after being told by many supportive friends that I looked beautiful with nothing on my head, I started just baring it! I stopped caring about what other people thought and did what made ME feel comfortable, and that was NOT having itchy wigs or hats/scarves making me hot all the time. Slap a lil' sunblock on it and show it to the world, honey! Best of luck to you :)

GogolBordello's picture
GogolBordello
Posts: 11
Joined: Apr 2005

took almost 8 months after my transplant to get my hair back

even had nose/ear hair falling out, itched like crazy

not having eyelashes is weird as heck isn't it? and man did mine grow in all crazy lol

kanchan_daniel90
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi I was 17 when I was diagnosed with cancer and I'm 21 now and absolutely fine.my hair started falling a little after my first chemotheraphy.I had really long locks and they were all bundled up and put under a shower cap.After a while they started becoming very straw like and taking the shape of my cap.Also they had started interferring with all the medical equipment and I couldnt really stand to watch all my hair fall off.Thats when I decided to get my head shaved and we got the barber to come up to my room and shave off all my hair.I thought I could handle it and I remember watching all my hair fall so slowly into my lap.My mum was with me at that time and she asked me if I was feeling bad about it and I just looked into my lap and watched as tears fell along with the hair.I felt bad for myself, but for a very little time as I knew this waS Part and parcel of my treatement and the only solution to it would be to find a way around it.So I ordered a really nice wig from abroad that resembled my hair very closely.But I started loving my shaved head and would even crack jokes about it and wouldnt mind walking around bald.My little cousin sister even named me "egghead" after it.As for the wig,I'd step out of the house occasionally in it and alot of people would think that it was my real hair and theyd compliment me on my hairstyle,so I let them haha.A month or so after my last chemotherapy and surgeries I decided to ditch the wig and walk around with the fuzz.I was proud of it.So dont worry about what people will think or say because you have gone through enough already and besides this has been your personal battle.So it doesnt matter what people think of it.It hasnt happened to them and if they dont like it,thats their problem.There are a whole lot of us who understand your problem and we're with you,besides the hair that will grow back will be oh so pretty. Hope this helps.

GogolBordello's picture
GogolBordello
Posts: 11
Joined: Apr 2005

I ended up just kind of owning it, quite a few other survivors and myself, a mix of age, cancers, male, female, all that decided to start a club of sorts and would make hats, or just buy tons of hats and we would coordinate by color, style, etc and have fun with it, trade hats. Then it moved into bandannas, knit caps, you name it. It was our thing. To us it was like a right of passage, I can't say this type of thing was normal I've never heard of it before or since. I think mostly we just needed something to hold onto.

The idea of a wig was weird to us, the idea of a wig made out of a strangers hair was even more strange. It was so much more then what it sounds like, one other person and myself are the survivors of a group of at times up to 30. It is kind of sad to look back and realize most of the fellow patients I met and became good friends with are gone, but at the same time we made the best of it and some of my fondest memories come from that.

One of my friends was awesome, she, yes she, got a huge group of my friends and classmates to all shave their heads for me so I wouldn't feel weird. That was amazing and humbling. I was hanging out with a few of the group and we were told to stop laughing so much and having such a good time once. Yes, I am serious. I'm one of those people that hates being cooped up in small cold rooms, funny enough I was very introverted before I had cancer, but I kind of found myself seeking out people and getting to know them. Lemons to lemonade as it were. I was called the happiest cancer patient ever by a few nurses, I'm not saying I had all kicks and giggle by any means. I almost bled to death from a nose bleed and a tampon and 15 feet of gauze among other strange things stopped the bleeding, my nose looked like it had a beach ball in it, and imagine my voice. All things in life are about perspective and outlook. I never worried about anymore then right then. Tomorrow can deal with itself. One day at a time.

I hope that helps

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