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Chemo: Hair and skin

tattooedtxgirl's picture
tattooedtxgirl
Posts: 61
Joined: Sep 2013

 

 

Question ladies:

 

When you went through Chemo, do you remember when your hair started to fall out? 

 

Did you notice skin changes ( I feel like my scalp/body is on fire, or has a sunburn)

 

I have cut my hair short already, and am pondering if this is a sign to go shorter.

It has only been 9 days since my first Chemo.

 

Crystal

Hybridspirits's picture
Hybridspirits
Posts: 152
Joined: Nov 2012

Yes I remember it started after day 14.  It fell out in the third week after my first infusion.   I did have dry skin, and yes sometimes the burning.     I finished chemo on 4/18 this year and most of these symptoms have gone away.  I still have dry eyes, and eye dr told me still left from chemo and hopefully will resolve over time.

"Vinny" the vacume was my best friend that third week.  Unfortunately my hairdresser was sick and couldn't shave my hair so i spent a bit of time vacuming my hair and using a lint brush.  What aight I was.  Once I was able to get to her and have it shaved/cut short to the scalp it was easier to manage while it fell out.

 

Jan had shared about the beau beau at 4 Women. I got a few on sale and received so many complimnts.  I ended up having a bit of fun with hats real well.  Here is the website: http://www.4women.com/

Let me know if I can help out any more as I went through the chemo and internal radiation this year

Sharon

 

cheerful
Posts: 127
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Crystal:

  I went through chemotherapy back in 2011.  I remember my hair started to fall out two weeks after my first chemo treatment.  It started to come back very little after my last chemo treatment which was the end of August in 2011.  It took me about 10 months or so until it grew back at a decent length and where I did not use my wig to go out places.  I bought my wig about a month before I started chemo.  I got my hair cut in October of 2011 as it had grown pretty long down near the top of my neck and I had it cut into a one length bob which I had before I went through chemo. My hair used to be very thick before chemo, and after chemo I still had a good bit of hair, but the consistency was different.  I now wear a shorter bob than I used to have a couple of years ago so it does not fall in my face as much and it is easier to take care of.

  As far as your skin goes, I also have dry skin - the chemo nurses told me not to use perfumed shower gels (like Bath and Body Works) although I did use them as I did not have a problem as I like Bath and Both Works products a lot and have a lot of their shower gels, body lotions, creamy body washes, and body creams and they said to me to use Eucerin products (body lotion) and a bar of soap like Dove to use in the shower from that I can remember, and I would check with your chemo nurse as to what products to use for the bath just to be sure.  As far as cutting your hair, you could cut it shorter, and it will all fall out probably in a few more days. Just wear your wig or if you have a scarf, you can wear that on your head.  

  I also felt very tired after all the chemo treatments and radiation I had 3 brachytherapy treatments and I rested as much as I could.  It took me a long time to recuperate from everything and to feel stronger and better. I was 59 when I was diagnosed with UPSC and now I am 62.  I know for me it was very hard to lose my hair, but I felt it would be temporary and I figured it would all grow back eventually which it did.  I had a positive attitude going through chemo and radiation which really helped a lot plus I had great support from friends and family.

  For my face, I have always cleaned it with Cetaphil since I have very dry skin and a dermatologist told me years ago to use this particular bar of soap so I buy it in a big pack of products and one bar lasts about a year or longer and I had bought it at BJ's several years ago and I still have 2 bars left.  My food store also has the Cetaphil bars, and you don't get as many in a pack like BJ's, but they have a coupon so I am probably going to buy the Cetaphil bars next week at my food store.

  Good luck with the rest of your chemo treatments.

Cheerful

 

 

Ann55
Posts: 44
Joined: Jun 2013

I started losing my hair at day 11 and after 3 days of living with it I got buzzed which I must say bothered my stylist more than it bothered me.It was really quite liberating. I have always had really thick hair and the evening breeze on my head felt so good. I used eucerin skin calming body wash while on chemo and my skin honestly felt better than it had in 40 years! I does not lather much but really replaces the moisture and makes your skin feel so soft. Good luck, sounds like you are doing well and on your way to recovery.

survivingsu's picture
survivingsu
Posts: 39
Joined: Apr 2013

Good question, sounds like you have a great attitude & are being proactive.  Yup, I remember that chemo dried my skin four years ago, but in my case it might have also been contributed to my age (50 at the time), and my thyroid wimping out.  Just wanted to share that while the hair falls out (in my case it came out rather suddenly, I think it was all gone in two weekends), it miraculously comes back!  I was completely bald twice.  In between chemo I had surgery, then my hair started growing back, then I had my final chemo treatment and was bald again.  Lost half my eyebrows, eyelashes as well.  The funny thing is with all this chemo, I still had the pesky chin hairs that I have to pluck periodically to this day!  I wore some cool hats that my sister made.  Hang in there Crystal, you'll do fine! - Susan

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1483
Joined: Jan 2009

My hair started falling out day 13 after the first chemo.  I wore a ball cap during the day.  Every couple hours I would comb my hair.  That kept the hair from falling all over.  At night I wore a cloth cap that looked like a swimming cap.  My husband would tease me and say are you going swimming tonight.  i read if you use a silk pillow case it is easier on your tender head.  It was not easy to find a silk pillow case.  I used baby oil on my scalp to ease the burning feeling.  

I mostly wore ball caps or other hats.  I could never do the scarf tying to look good.  I did find some pre tied scarves that hung down in the back.  I only wore my wig going to church or something I needed to dress up for.  The American Cancer society has free wigs as  do some Cancer Centers.

i found that since chemo I am more sensitive to perfumes or strong odors.  I like the more lightly scented or unscented products.  My daughter made me a chemo basket with unscented lotions, neutragena body oil, biotene mouthwash and toothpaste for dry mouth.  I never had any trouble with dry mouth .  She gave me puzzle books to do during chemo.  She gave me ginger pills for nausea.  She went online to see what possible things would help with side effects.  She was very thoughtful.  

Good luck with adjusting to baldness.  Remember Bald is Beautiful.   One chemo nurse told me that when you don 't have hair people look at your eyes.  I also bought dangling earrings that I never wore before.

the American Cancer Society also has a program called "Look Good, Feel Better". Where they teach you ways to enhance your eyes and make up.  It is a free program and you get free make up.  I highly recommend the program.  They also teach you how to tie scarves.  I think that is the name of the program, my chemo- brain is acting up again.i

 Hope you are tolerating the chemo good.  You remain in my prayers.  In peace and caring.

tattooedtxgirl's picture
tattooedtxgirl
Posts: 61
Joined: Sep 2013

Ok, I couldn't stand it any more and I had my boyfriend cut it off for me...it feels a little better..but still feels like I have a headburn.

Sharon, Congrats on completing treatment. I hope all is well and you are in a good place. 

Thank you for the website. I'm doing my homework now.

I LOVE the story about 'Vinny' I had a good chuckle.

How was the radiation for you? Did you experiance any pain?

The Radiation makes me a bit more nervous than the chemo has.

Cheerful, I did cut my hair. I cut it a few weeks back, from long dyed to a little pixie do.. my friend who is also in treatment told me, "don't get used to it, that will be gone soon", she was right. lol Thanks for all the advice and support! How was treatment for you?

Ann55, The breeze does feel good. lol, even better now that I've had it shaved. It really does help the burning. Thank you for the support.

Susan, Everything is so dry. I've been using an unscented lotion..like it's going out of style. lol! As for chin hairs, lol, the ones that grow from nowhere to 4 inches in a night. I just bet mine sticks around too. Ha! Thank you for the advice and support.

Ro10, Your daughter sounds just AMAZING!! so wonderful that she did all that for you. My dad was very cute, he made us 15lbs of soup and a bunch of premade meals, pasta dishes.. he went a little nuts feeding us. lol! I saw the three diff. rooms I will be in for the radiation.. yes, seems a little invasive. What did they use for yours? and any advice, pain, etc..lol, my 20 questions. I'm having 5, two times a week. I got a silk pillow case, it does work and it stays cool. 

The shaving

Hugs and best wishes,

Crystal

ConnieSW's picture
ConnieSW
Posts: 623
Joined: Jun 2012

You look gorgeous.  Who needs hair!  FYI, the chin hairs go but they're the first thing to come back.

cheerful
Posts: 127
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi Crystal:

  In answer to your question, how was my chemo treatments - I had 6  treatments of carboplatin and taxol.  I made out fine with both of them.  I had some constipation for a couple of days and I also should have taken some of my nausea tablets for a couple of the treatments, as I only took the nausea tablets (Zofran) for a couple of my treatments.  Before starting chemo, my oncologist gave me a checklist of about 20 to 25 symptoms of other things that can come up that you would have to deal with while going through chemo, and thankfully, none of these happened other than some constipation and feeling very tired (which is normal) after the treatments.  However, after my 5th treatment, my platelets were very low and I had to go through a blood transfusion and Neulasta shot which really helped me to gain some strength back and I immediately felt better after the transfusion. This was in August of 2011.  At the end of August, I finished my 6th and final treatment of chemo and the chemo nurses sang me a really cute song and brought out one or two musical instruments like cymbals and a harmonica. It was really touching and I laughed.  My Mom and my teenage son were also at the treatment with me and they liked it also and thought it was cute. My chemo nurses were so helpful and really very good.

  I then went for 3 brachytherapy (radiation) treatments the end of Sept. until mid Oct. of 2011 and finished all my treatments with the radiologist. I saw the radiologist in mid November of 2011 and he wanted to check and see that everything was okay.

  Will you be buying a wig or a scarf for your head?  Now with the winter here (I live in the Northeast) in PA it will be getting very cold here tomorrow they said more like January weather - the high tomorrow here is about 32 and I believe the high for this time of year is about 52 so it is a 20 degree drop in temperatures.  It is supposed to be cold here for the next several days.  

  I was very tired after the treatments and it took me several months to probably a year before I started to feel better.  Chemo did take so much out of me for sure.  

  You only have 3 treatments so you should make out really well.  I wish you good luck going through your treatments and I hope you don't have any side effects.  My side effects from the chemo were minimal thankfully.  Your welcome on the advice and support.  

  Anyway, keep us warriorettes here posted on how you are doing with your treatments.

  Have a nice Thanksgiving.

Cheerful

 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 578
Joined: Mar 2013

The ladies here have said so many things I experienced as well.  I was told hair would be falling out 10 - 14 days after treatment, and when I finally got my head shaved, I still had a little peep-peep hair left on my head. It got SO itchy!!  I was at a bar with my friends and had wrapped a t-shirt around my head for the night.  I had to go outside to rub my head with the t-shirt and rubbed a lot of hair out!  I went out two more times to do the same and thing and finally came in without the t-shirt - just my bald-ish head.  By the time I got home I had to take a shower I was so itchy!

I remember the chemo making my nose sensistive as well.   The detergent aisle in the grocery store made my nose burn, and as for my taste buds, sweet became overly sweet too. 

I have to admit, for me, radiation was much more difficult for me to wrap my mind around.  I worry what damage I got from that treatment and since there was radiation to the pelvic area, where a lot of bone marrow is in your hip bones, it really wiped me out. 

Since radiation continues to work for up to six weeks after it is completed I guess I thought I would bounce back faster after that ended but it was exhausting. 

They joke here radiation is the "gift that keeps giving", but I try to put it behind me and not dwell on it. 

txtrisha55's picture
txtrisha55
Posts: 432
Joined: Apr 2011

Unless you feel that you have to wear something, ditch the wigs and scarves.  You are beautiful and have a really good shaped head for the bald look.  Also it is Texas and it does not get that cold here and you are further south than Dallas.  I was bald during the summer of 2011.  No way could you wear a hat/scarf/wig because all you did was sweat.  It looked like I had been swimming or in the shower from so much sweating. One of the hottest summers in decades with over 70 days hitting 100 degrees in 2011.  I just went bald.  Now my hair is back, I keep it short, but I wish I could go bald again becuase it so easy.  You look great.  Praying for easy treatments till you are done. trish

Hybridspirits's picture
Hybridspirits
Posts: 152
Joined: Nov 2012

I also didn't have a port and had 6 carbo/taxol infustions.  All six lasted all day.  for the radiation I had bractherapy as well.  It is internal.  My gyno/oncologist fitted the cylinder and did it each time so that was helpful. The only thing that was not uncomfortable but just there was the first time where they do all the measuring.  You can't move for a long time but you get through it.  I found after the first time to drink lots of cranberry juice after and wish I knew that the first time.  Get the non sugared real stuff.

just do what they say about all the drinking after.  You will be through with it before you know it.

I am al little older than you but tried to stay active during the treatment.  If I was tired I took care of my body and rested.    I started yoga weekly at the beginning of the treatment and that helped. I also joined the LiveSTRONG program at the YMCA and exercised twice a week during chemo.  This program is designed for Cancer patients/survivors.  It is free.

If you like Vinny the vacume, I used to go to my infustions and tell them that my party of two was waiting for me:

Joe Chemo and Ivan the IV.  For some reason I always got a private room.  Wasn't sure if the nurse liked me or was afraid of having me socialize with the other patients,  Either way I liked my private room.

 

Hang in there as before you know it the treatments will be over.

Let me know if I can help out at all

Sharon

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