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Hair

tally
Posts: 48
Joined: Mar 2010

I finished my chemo in July 2010 and my hair came back except in the crown. I have a bald spot and I don't know what to do. I could just cry. Its about the size of the palm of my hand. I have tried Nioxin and I take Biotin and Viviscal. Nothing seems to work and I'm thinking I may have to shave my head and just wear a wig. I have tried to grow my hair long enough to cover it but that doesn't work. Before I got cancer I had long, very thick hair. I don't mind that it didn't come back the same but I don't know how to handle this. I have asked my family doctor and my oncologist and they don't have any answers and my insurance does not cover a dermatologist. I have seen at least 6 different hairdressers and they don't know what to tell me. I don't put any heat on my hair and I use a large tooth comb. I am just at my wits end.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2200
Joined: Jun 2010

It actually sounds like you have more hair than me, Tally.  I have permanent hair loss from Taxotere.  And I've done everything you're describing and maybe even more.  You might give Rogaine a try, tho.  I did go to the dermatologist and she suggested I try Rogaine, the extra strength foam, men's version 5%.  I got it at Costco.  I used it faithfully for 6 months (it's not all that bad) but it didn't help. 

I finished chemo in Sept. 2010 and what little hair I have on my head is hideous.  Basically, I look like an 80-year-old man.  The rest of my body hair is consistent - no eyebrows, puny puny eyelashes, and on to the nether regions.  Here's what I've done:

Permanent eye makeup (brows and liner).  That's what I did first.  Made a huge difference in my self esteem since I'm very fair and look like an alien with no brows or lashes (my lashes are so puny they don't even show without a tube of mascara). 

Colored what hair I have and cut it very very short in a pixie cut.  Now, that doesn't mean I can go out in public like this because I can't.  But what I can do is wear a hat and pull some hair forward and I look like any other woman who just put on a hat to go out.  It does make me feel better and the color makes the hair more visible.

Recently I got eyelash extensions and I love them.  They're an expense, but they look natural and I don't need globs and globs of mascara.  Besides, I don't spend $$ on my hair anymore.

I wear wigs.  They look really good, but they ARE wigs and come with all of the issues of wearing wigs.  I always get unsolicited compliments on my "hair" even from strangers.  My own hair never looked this good.  But they're wigs. 

I met a woman with these same issues.  She has a permanent hairpiece from Transitiions (you can google it).  There are other companies that do this, too.  It's molded to fit and glued to her head - don't ask me how.  She loves it.  She can sleep in it, swim in it, doesn't have to worry about it coming off, etc.  But it's very expensive, both initially and needs monthly maintenance when they unglue it, condition her scalp and glue it back on.  Really? 

I know if I'd been warned about this potential side effect that I would still have had Taxotere.  It is a real and devastating side effect and I really think oncologists need to inform patients about it.  Mine finally admits that this can happen but insists that it's very very rare.  As long as it killed any cancer cells . . .

I so feel your pain.  I still get really down about this at times and I want to slap people who say "oh, it will come back" or "oh, you have lots of hair" - well, not enough to cover my head, stupid!.  

Hugs, Suzanne 

lintx's picture
lintx
Posts: 456
Joined: Sep 2012

 

You're funny!  I think you are very pretty and like all the things you've done to enhance the hair loss issue.  I didn't have chemo but after my long 10 1/2 hr surgery for bilateral w/reconstruction, I lost eyebrows and my eyelashes are very sparse.  I'm guessing anesthesia does that to us, also.  I'd done the permanent eyebrows & liner three yrs ago before cancer, but that faded quickly because I'm so fair-skinned.  I just had it done again in a little darker shade, hoping it'll last longer.  I'm with you in that it's nice to have those two things done!  I don't bother much w/mascara since the eyeliner stands out.  A girls gotta do what she's gotta do, huh?!   Linda

Lynne P
Posts: 165
Joined: May 2013

Losing your hair is hard and I am so sorry.  I've thought about the permanent eyeliner.  That would be nice to not have to worry about putting it on everyday.

 

kmenurse's picture
kmenurse
Posts: 223
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Tally I don't know if this will help but I thought I would tell you about my hair loss.... I have hypothyroidism and I follow a women named Mary Shomon who has done years of reserch on the thyroid... She suggests Evening Primrose Oil. I take 1300mg a day.  I have to admit that before this cancer Dx. My hair loss was getting better.  But the surgery has me loosing again, but will continue the EPO so it will help restore the loss again.  God Bless Kathy

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2200
Joined: Jun 2010

of the "hair" I've ended up with.  The last photo that was taken 1 year after chemo is what I look like now, except I've colored my hair and comb it forward.  The next time it get it cut and colored, I'll take an update photo as well as one with a hat on.  Today is a good day.  It is what it is and I'm here on this side of the grass. There are many medical conditions that cause women to develop alopecia and need to wear wigs or other head coverings.  Mine happens to be because Taxotere killed some hair stem cells.  I'm starting to be ok with it.  Might buzz it this summer.

Suzanne

Clementine_P's picture
Clementine_P
Posts: 356
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi Suzanne,

I am so sorry for what you are dealing with.  Having my hair grow back was one of the things that I held onto during chemo as a light at the end of the tunnel.  While my hair didn't come in the same or as nice, I do have a full head of hair and I am very grateful for that.  In any case, when my hair was coming in, I bought a product called revitalash and revitabrow.  They were apparently invented by a doctor when his wife was recovering from chemo to help her grow her lashes and brows back.  I will say that both my lashes and my brows came in very quickly and full.  I don't know if it will help you but I know lots of people use these now just because they want long full lashes and brows and thought you may want to give it a try.

I know how hard this must be for you but I love that you can at least have a good sense of humor about it.  Gallows humor is always something that I have lived by.

Best, Clementine

Clementine_P's picture
Clementine_P
Posts: 356
Joined: Feb 2011

Sorry.

survivorbc09
Posts: 4378
Joined: Jun 2009

Tally, have you seen a dermatologist about this?  I don't know that one could help, but, it would be worth a try.

Jan

Lynne P
Posts: 165
Joined: May 2013

Your thyroid can also thin your hair out.  I had a girlfriend that had thick hair until her thyroid started acting up and her hair started thinning out.  She is on medication now and it is getting better.

Hugs, Lynne

telecomjd
Posts: 66
Joined: Jan 2013

A friend of mine has battled blood cancer intermittently throughout her life.  Her last rounds of chemo left her hair thinning, so she ended up getting a weave.  No one could tell it was not her hair.  I would have never thought of such an idea for myself, but I thought it was a great one in case my hair did not rebound.  Maybe that's something to look into?  I have no idea how it works procedurally, but I would think it would not hurt to investigate.

I have a few thinner areas of my hair post-TC chemo, but I am just 11 weeks out of chemo.  Crossing my fingers.

Megan

JJDS
Posts: 259
Joined: Apr 2013

I couldn't think of anything, but, what Megan wrote could help maybe.  So many people have weave's anymore and they are almost impossible to tell if someone has them.

 

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