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shaving head

Hybridspirits's picture
Hybridspirits
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 2012

Okay,  had the first infusion last Friday.  Not too bad.   nothing that I couldn't handle.  Had the shot for white blood counts and that appears to be uneventful. So I am approaching the next step.

Shaving my head so I can get this over with and start moving on

I was wondering if anyone has any advise as to how close. I went to the Cancer Society Look and Feel Good class and they suggested not going down to the scalp.  If you use an electric razor you should use an attachment to leave some.

 

how much did folks leave and any suggestions onhow to make this as painless as possible

 

thanks so much and all the advice about the first infusion most definatley helped as I was calm and prepared

 

thanks an hope everyone is enjoying January!

Sharon

 

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Sharon,

 

Great to hear the first infusion went well.... I was thinking of you and praying it would go smoothly like mine.

 

Hair?  It was suggested to me from members of my local cancer support group, do not shave, but cut very short.  Told me when shaving close to the head it can hurt the follicles and cause some uneasiness.  When it was short, it did still fall out, almost like a dog who sheds...not a big thing.  Nice for me as my hair was shoulder length and then cut to 1" all over my head.  In a way, it was a process going from longer to short, then all gone.  You'll find as you shower it will come out with the  movement over your head.  Bet it took me 2 weeks to not see anymore shedding.

 

I can tell you, some people do shave their heads and they're fine.....this was just what I found worked for ME!

 

Are you going with a wig?  If so, it was suggested I go to a local wig shop and have them try to match my hair color while I still had hair.  Then when it was all gone (bald), come back and they can fit the wig to my head.  Apparently don't like to fit a wig when the hair is still on, as not a true fit.

 

Best to you and do enjoy your day as well~

Jan 

Hybridspirits's picture
Hybridspirits
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 2012

I already have short hair.  So going to 1 inch will be okay.  I am stressing a bit about work.  i am at the Sr Level at the Travelers and manage a group.  So yes I will be wearing a wig.  I did choose in the same brown family but with more highlights as  I needed an uplift. The wig is a little shorter, similar style and instead of medium brown it is toasted brown.  

 

However, I am struggling with how I will be able to maintain my job, work etc as treatments go.  Unfortnately I have no choice as my husband has been without work. I am a bit lucky in that my boss is totally behind me with whatever I need to do.  When I told him I was taking a yoga class and would work from home on that day, he suggested a second class and another day WFH. So I am blessed.   However,  I still haven't told my staff what is going on.  I am sure they are guessing but no details from me yet.  I am finding it difficult to share as I am the type of person that likes to charge forward all the time.   My boss and best friend at work are the only ones that know details.  Guess the cat will come out of the bag when i go back into the office!

I am ususally an upbeat person who likes to make a difference and want to stay that way at work. I find mixed reactions when folks find out that i have cancer.  Sometimes the mixed reactions are hard to deal with when all you want to do is keep as normal a life, stay positive, keep a smile on and be who you are. 

Thank god I am going to my surgeon's follow up on Monday. I am hopeful I can start a little mpre exercising than walking.  I could use a good ride on my eliptical!

What was your experience when you started this journey.

Sharon

 

 

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm fortunate as I worked from home as contractor in telecom industry, so didn't see people daily.  Can tell you,it's very different for each of us and how you proceed.  What I learned, I was hesitant to tell others, but they figure it out when see the wig on.....can't hide out forever!!  I came "out of the closet" if you call it that, after a week or so, as once it was out there,  life was easier.  I'd tend to hide from people with embarassment, but a friend told me -- SHOW YOU'RE STRONG AND GO OUT INTO THE WORLD WITH NO WIG...LET PEOPLE KNOW YOU'RE A FIGHTER AND DOING FINE WITH NO HAIR!  I just couldn't be comfortable with NO wig, but did find a nice website to purchase some stylish scarves (let me know if intersted as happy to look up the link).  

 Most people were very understanding and all my friends were there for me from the start.  A few when told, didn't know what to say and those are ones who really don't understand much about cancer, therefore, have beliefs we'll die soon.  No matter how much I tried to convey I'll be fine, as a fighter, they just weren't the warm cozy type to call me and keep up on my progress.  Can't worry about everyone understanding or not, as we have our hands full just getting thru the treatments.

You might find the chemo is cumulative, so as they add on you tend to find more intense side affects.  Note, this doesn't happen to everyone, but something to be aware of down the road.  If the side affects are intense, speak with the chemo nurses or doc to give you guidance on what to take or have doc prescribe a med.  Just not worth being in pain and/or uncomfortable.

Exercise?  I'm an avid exercise person like you I'd imagine, and I didn't wait too long.  Usually by the 2nd day after chemo, feeling fine and would go out to walk (my choice of less intense exercise at the time), plus some mild yoga for 20 minutes.  If really felt good after a week or so, was out running.  Try to listen to your body as it will tell you what it needs/wants.  If we push, our immune systems are down and then we end up sick...can't go there!  As well, told to avoid crowds for so many days after chemo, can't remember exact number (yes I did follow this, too).

Taking care of your bald head is quite easy.  Whenever I'd shower, simply used some "very  mild" shampoo and conditioner....easy!  It's so quick as then put on wig and you're off.  As someone else mentioned most wigs are synthetic and can melt if close to fire.  I  had my new $150 wig for 5 days and was in kitchen cooking,and opened the hot oven and scorched my wig...gee what an idiot!  So....be careful and don't make the stupid mistake I did with the wig.  

You'll do just fine, simply put one foot in front of the other and your life will move forward, but in a new way.  As you go down the road with this journey, you'll find new ideas from others, and possibly gain many from this site.  Be open to new ideas and move on.

As I've always said, God never wrote a book on how each of our lives would pan out, therefore, we need to be flexible and work through all the ups and downs.

Hugs and plse keep posting, we care!

Jan

CindyGSD's picture
CindyGSD
Posts: 191
Joined: Aug 2011

...couple of things....

I worked full time during my entire chemo and only missed chemo days so its doable.  Just stay away from sick people and use lots of hand santizer.

As far as shaving your head; I waited until it had already started falling out.  I had shoulder length hair.   It never fell out in clumps but rather in in handfuls whenver i pulled on it, which soon became an obsession.  I have pictures of my entire bathroom shower wall covered in hair that I would pull out and plaster on it....I know...gross but it was sort of stress relieving.  When it became so thin that you could see my scalp, I had a friend shave it to about a half an inch and started wearing a wig which lasted about a week.   I just couldn't stand the itching and seldom wore one....resorting to scarves and hats.

I had a break during my six rounds of chemo to get radiation so my hair grew back to about a a eighth of an inch.  Losing that hair was much worse and seemed more painful.  Little bits of hair were all over the place and at night it would catch on the pillow like a brillow pad.  Experiencing it both ways, I'd say leave it a little longer...but thats just my experience...everyone is different.

Take care, 

Cindy

NorahS
Posts: 93
Joined: Dec 2012

...and as part of the purchase price they included a head shave 'whenever I was ready'.  You could see stubble when the person doing it was finished - maybe a 1/4 of an inch long? - so it's like a close military haircut, not like shaving your legs with a razor. I believe there are 'settings' on the hair clippers - like 1,2,3,4 - and that it's just not necessary to use the lowest setting.

You should check your scalp beforehand to make sure there are no bumps or cysts so that the person doing the shaving knows if there are any areas to be careful of. I had a sebaceous cyst on my scalp (which I mentioned right away at the head shave) but the person doing the shaving routinely asks about such things beforehand anyway.

Your scalp might sometimes be a little tender for a few more weeks after it's off (the stubble falling out). Hopefully you will hold onto most of your eyebrows (and just have to fill in with brow pencil) and eyelashes. You probably already know that you need to continue to wash your scalp, but if you wear scarves, hats and sleep caps, you will need to wash them frequently to remove skin flakes and stubble (just use a black sleep cap to find this out in a hurry).  

If no one you know has proper hair clippers for you to borrow, an inexpensive pair can be bought. I read that someone used pet clippers and apparently they worked just fine!

Shaving off your hair is different for every woman. It didn't bother me at all to have it shaved off and it still doesn't bother me to look at my bald head. But I don't like anyone else to see my head without a scarf or my wig on. Weird, huh? 

Hybridspirits's picture
Hybridspirits
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 2012

do i still use a gentle shampoo and conditioner?  i saw one post online that said they used Nioxin shampoo and conditioner without hair to help bring back healthy hair.

interesting on the continuous shedding for a few weeks.  We have three dogs and now I will be joining the ranks of the shedders!

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 536
Joined: Jun 2012

The place where I bought my wig told me NOT to shave my head but I don't  remember why since I was in the throes of chemo brain at the time.  I wear my hair short, 2-21/2 inches as best I recall ( it's just now growing in).  I found that combing it several times a day, especially before bed, in the am, before showering worked well.  I just had to clean out the comb instead of cleaning all over the house. Same principle as grooming your dog..  My hair is fine and thinning with age so it really wasn't bad.  My hairdresser had volunteered to shave it for me originally.  Honestly, if I ever have to go through this again, I will do it the same way.

I was very private in the beginning while I adjusted to what was happening to me - that was the reason I finally decided to buy a wig and also because I didn't want to look sick.  Now it doesn't matter, just part of my life.  Also there have been several humorous incidents.  I can feel my poor husband cringe when he's present at the time.  We were vacationing on Monhegan last summer and I was looking at a piece of jewelry this woman had made.  She and another customer suggested I take off my sunhat and they would give an opinion on what suited my hair.  I laughed and explained why that wouldn't work.  A couple days later I was sitting next to the same lady on the ferry as we returned to the mainland.  A strong gust of wind blew my hat off ( anchored with a chin strap).  I quickly put my hand on top of my wig.  You should have seen the look of horror on her face.  My daughter and I laughed as we pictured my hair riding away on the slipstream.   Another time a waitress looked at me and said I must have just come from getting my hair cut and styled.  So, think of how nice it will be to have no bad hair days!

Here are a couple of rules.  If it is synthetic, don't open an oven door, it can melt.  If its windy out, be aware you may need some grooming.  The short hairs tend to remain standing at attention.  I pat down with a moist hand.

NorahS
Posts: 93
Joined: Dec 2012

...here's a good rule to follow when you are home (so that you don't accidently ruin your wig). Just like you put on your coat or shoes when you leave the house, now you will put on your coat, shoes and wig when you leave the house. If you remember that the wig is almost always for wearing only outside of your home - and you wear scarves - or maybe nothing on your head - in your house then it will quickly become a habit and you won't ruin your wig by accident. 

As for the people at work, don't tell them unless you want to. You owe no one any explanation. If anyone is brave enough to ask and you want to tell them, go ahead. If you don't want to tell them - come back with a question of your own "Why do you ask?" and then no matter what they reply, smile and say something like:  "I see. Thank you." and then change the subject. Or whatever feels comfortable to you.  They'll get it.  The key is to figure out what you want your response to be and then follow through.  It's your journey to recovery and you have a right to be in control of as much as you can on the journey.

At least that's my attitude.  There are some people that I do not plan to tell until I'm in remission.  Then I plan to tell them only what I need to and then say that "as of right now, I'm cancer free".  

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

plantlady2012
Posts: 49
Joined: Dec 2012

Hi Sharon!

I am SO glad to hear that your first infusion went well!  I consider my chemo experience to have gone quite well, because I never got sick the entire time, which was a big relief to me!  My oncologist was of the opinion that side effects DIMINISH during treatment, which is the exact opposite of what other people have been told (that the treatment is cumulative).  I guess each person is just different.  Or, perhaps SOME side effects tend to be cummunlative (perhaps low blood counts?) and perhaps others aren't as likely to be.

I had my hair cut short, ear-length, about a week before starting chemo.  It was a dramatic change for me, as my hair had been down to the middle of my back since childhood!  It tended to come out during brushing, sleeping, and showering.  I wore a sleep cap to catch the hair at night, so it wouldn't end up all over my pillow.  I had purchased an assortment of hats and partial wigs to wear under the hats.  But I found that I didn't like how the wigs felt, so I rarely have worn them.  I wear caps instead.  My favorite is a soft, pink baseball-style cap.  I got it online at a place called Hats for Hair.

I like wearing just the ballcap, because people often come up to me at the store or other public places, because they recognize that I must be a cancer patient.  They tell me about their own recoveries, and about alternative treatments they have tried.  I just joined a gym last week, and went to an exercise class, and right away, the lady next to me told me that she was a 2-time cancer survivor, and she wanted me to talk to one of the other ladies after class, because that lady had just been diagnosed.  Even the teacher wanted to talk to me after class, because her father is currently in treatment for lymphoma!  it gives us opportunites to compare notes, offer and receive support, and exchange information.  I recomend the Anti-Cancer book to everyone I meet!

It has been about three months since my last treatment, and my hair is starting to grow in.  It is much softer than it was before!

--Lynn

Tentoumushi
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2013

They had warned me that my hair would start to fall out at 14 days.  Mine started at day 13.  The next day I had lunch with a friend at a nice restaurant.  Just as I finished my meal, a wisp of hair fell on my forehead so I reached up to brush it back but instead of staying back a big clump fell out onto my plate!!  I grabbed it and put it in my pocket, the next day I went to a salon and had them buzz it all off.  When I had cancer the 2nd time, on day 14 I had my husband come out on the back porch and buzz it off with his beard trimmer.  This time I saved the t********s and put them into the core of a Temari ball (Japanese Thread Ball) that sits on a self in the living room as a trophy of the battle I have on so far.

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