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To Shave or Not To Shave

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Well, I had my first chemo treatment on april 10 (Cytoxan & Taxotere) with the Neulasta shot given the following day.  I did have my hair cut about a week ago (it was about 5 inches past my shoulders).  Surprisingly, I have gotten a lot of compliments on my new bob and I'm actually starting to like it too.  However, my hair is now starting to fall out (and pretty quickly).  I am struggling with shaving it and am really irritated with myself.  I told myself that I needed to do this this past weekend but couldn't.

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5504
Joined: Oct 2010

I do not have any advice...I did not have chemo-only radiation...I am sure you'll get great advice from others...

 

thinking of you..

Denise

camul's picture
camul
Posts: 2133
Joined: Dec 2010

I rwmember the first time on chemo
I debated, then, it started just coming out in handfulls. Once I shaved the bit that was left, it was actually quite a relief. Showers were fast, and getting ready to leave the house was a breeze. Of course I missed it, but knew it would grow back.
Ihad a harder time with the eyebrows and lashes. However, I went to Look good, feel better. They showed how to put on makeup to look natural, yet not look so washed out from the chemo.

In some ways, being bald is liberating! Check with your local Cancer Society Chapter for the Look Good program in your area. Mine here even had new wigs for those who wanted them, and stylists to help you get fitted.

Best to you,
Carol

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Carol/Denise - thank you for replying back so quickly to my question.  Great advice!  I actually did attend the Look Good Feel Better class and it was wonderful!  Such a generous and nice way for ladies to bond and get some tips on how to apply makeup and looking beautiful.  I also have purchased a couple of pretty wigs, hats and scarves so I am ready.  I just need to do this.  The hair falling out is annoying and agonizing.  Decision made - doing this on Wednesday!

Dee5678
Posts: 37
Joined: Feb 2014

I'm right there with you!   I had shoulder length hair, cut to chin length bob. I was surprised how much I liked my hair short! Then one week after 1st chemo, got it cut in a short Pixie. Now, I am 26 days out from 1st chemo and my little Pixie cut is so thin.  Truly, I need to have it buzzed right away. I definitely look like a cancer patient.  It's not a good look.  It's hard to lose the hair.  I totally get that. 

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Hi Dee.  It is a tough decision and I feel that each person should do what is right for them.  I just can't stand it anymore.  I'm not sure which is the more traumatic - having clumps of hair fall out or just getting it over with and getting it buzzed.  I am going to get mine trimmed down with a electric shaver guard of #2 (I think that is the number she gave me) tomorrow.  Was cautioned in getting complete buzz (shaved bald) due to potential nicks.  So I will still have hair falling out but will be teeny tiny hairs as opposed to clumps.  Yell This is so hard.  Thanks for the support ladies!    

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 471
Joined: Oct 2012

By the time I had my second dose of chemo, my hair was starting to fall out.  I quickly tired of finding hair here and there because it was as if I were shedding -- plus my husband and I were going out of town to a family reunion -- so, I had my friend Becky come over and give me a buzz cut.  I think that mentally it was easier to lose my hair doing it that way versus dealing with clumps coming out.  Bristles did eventually wash off, and I would find some in my hats I wore; but that was not going to startle me nor would I be plugging drains.

I know each has to decide what she wants to do, and it may take a few days or so to realize that the the hair is indeed going to flee the head. 

I am sure you will come to a decision and then be content with it. 

coco2008's picture
coco2008
Posts: 406
Joined: May 2013

I got my hair buzzed one week after I started the same chemo you are on.  I saw hair was missing. but I didn't have to watch it fall out.  To me that would have been too hard to take.

Hugs and love to you on your journey.

Sandy

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Decision Made!  I am keeping my appointment and getting my hair buzzed tomorrow.  I can't stand this anymore.  I actually think it will be a relief.  Thank you all for your suggestions and support!

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5504
Joined: Oct 2010

popped back in for an update...

Denise

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5504
Joined: Oct 2010

Wilderness girl? ( LIKE the screen name) must be a camper? hiker?

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Hi Denise.  Yes, I did have my hair buzzed yesterday!  It was very difficult but glad I did it - couldn't deal with the clumps coming out and realized that eventually I was going

to lose it all anyway Cry  

Had 2nd chemo this morning and so far not feeling too bad, just really tired.  Requested that the Cytoxan go in slower since with 1st chemo had severe headache 1st night 

after infusion.  Took 5 hrs. (Cytoxan and Taxotere) but pray that I don't get the bad headache this time.  

Yes!  Wilderness Girl is for a lady who loves hiking, fishing, camping, etc.  - everything outdoors!  And the more extreme camping and hiking the better Smile

 

NannaJan3's picture
NannaJan3
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2014

I was lucky, I had 4 TCH combination chemos before mine started to fall out - with a vengeance !

Had it shaved down to a #2 (it was already quite short) and felt very concious of it.

Now shaved it all as it was very patchy and feel so much better for it - liberated !

Just go for it, it will grow back. Plus it's one less thing to struggle with when feeling sooo tired as I am.

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

My first chemo way back in 1987, I let it fall out and cried and cried.

Fastforward to 2013 nd I felt I would take things into my own hands.  First I got a very short haircut and, when that was falling out, my husband and I shaved the rest off.  It looked weird but was empowering.  If that makes any sense.  Anyway, it was a lot less messy than cleaning up those clumps!

I always have a hard time with losing my hair.  I don't think it is vanity, but I do not like others knowing or wondering if I am sick.  Somewhere here said they usually can figure out you're sick anyway, so now I am who I am.  Stage 4 but always with my dukes up, ready to fight just as long as I can!

Good luck and big, big hugs!!!

1blessedmom
Posts: 14
Joined: Apr 2014

It took 12 days after my first chemo treatment when  my hair started to fall out. I did the same and went and got a short pixie like cut. By the next day it was coming out so much my son just shaved it all off for me. It was amazing what a feeling of relief I had when he shaved it! That anxiety of seeing it come out in handfuls was gone. I actually felt so much better! And yes, showers are alot quicker too, lol. I went and had bought this expensive wig that matched the bob cut I had before treatment and I'm actually sorry I did because I never wore it. It was during last summer and even though the wig was pretty airy, I felt uncomfortable with it on. I ended up going to Walmart and buying bandanas in every color to match my tops. The bandanas were only $1.00 each and I bought soft wide elastic hair bands to wear under the bandana so my whole head was covered. It actually looked good. I wore the bandanas until my hair started to grow back and even though it was very fine and short I was done with looking like a "cancer patient" and just wanted to move on. I stopped wearing the bandanas and figured everyone around me will eventually get used to seeing me with a little bit of hair. That was around the holidays and now my hair has come in and it's curly! I'm just so thankful to have hair again. It'll be back before you know it!  

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Thank you for much for your support!  You have helped me so much with this and I feel so much better.  You are all such brave ladies and I appreciate you encouraging me to be strong but

not judging me either.  Hugs and prayers!

 

pamcb3
Posts: 33
Joined: Apr 2012

Hi, I am a survivor two years out of treatment, I am also a hairdresser. My advice is to shave it. It's going to grow back. Another thing I give to my clients/friend that have gone through this is a bottle of Moroccan oil. Apply the size of a dime to your head twice a day. It really helps with scalp sensitivity. I never experienced the sensitivity because I was already using the product for a long time. Two other products I give is a bottle of Nioxxin shampoo(cleanser) and nioxxin conditioner(scalp therapy) the products are for fine thinning hair and problem scalp. It comes in different numbers 1,2,3,4 four being the most extreme. 2or 3 is fine. It is important to take good care of your scalp during this time. In face two of my friends that I had follow this regimen never ended up with the "chemo curl" when your hair first grows back! They both had beautiful controllable waves and better hair than when they started! I thought I was onto something until I had my journey..... I did end up with chemo curl at first but it was soft....another good tip is to purchase a good Nail buffer and do your fingernails and toenails as often as you can. My oncologist told me my nails would most likely discolor and possibly fall off......I was determined not to let that happen and it didn't I did get a few ridges in a couple of nails but I was on a mission to prove him wrong!! He was so good at telling me exactly how I would feel and what was going to happen and that prediction was not happening!!:) another motivator is to get yourself the book called "Crazy sexy cancer" it is motivating, funny and uplifting. The author/survivor has a great documentry about her journey. Go to the website, crazysexycancer.com, very cool. Good luck and stay positive!!!! I was also very glad I found this network!!! It can definitely help!!!  :)you can do this!!!

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Hi Pam.  I did shave it and glad I did.  The whole hair coming out in clumps was agonizing!  Thank you so much for this wonderful advice.  I am so scared that my hair won't grow back now because I am reading about other women who were on Taxotere and their hair did not grow back.  It's supposed to be rare but I am seeing posts on this.  I asked my oncologist and he said my Taxotere dose is not a high dosage so my hair will grow back.  I pray that he is right!  I will definitely use the tips you gave on the hair and nails.  A couple of my toenails are starting to get ridges and a little bit of discoloration and I don't want to lose them.  Hope I don't....  And thank you for encouraging me too.  I have 2 more rounds of chemo to go.  and then radiation after that for a couple of months. 

pamcb3
Posts: 33
Joined: Apr 2012

You mentioned taxi tree and your hair not growing back. That is a rare one. My concern with taxotere and I am on a mission to change the warnings, or add to them.i was told that it might cause my eyes to tear but that would go away when the chemo stopped. Well it did stop for everyone I know but me. It ruined my tear ducts and I have had to have 3 sets of jones tubes put in in two years. They are basically fake tear ducts. The eye specialist I go to  Dr.Steven Covici in springfield Massachusetts, told me he has at least a dozen patients with similiar trouble from taxotere. He said if I had visited my eye Dr.  or him at the first sign of tearing he would have irrigated my tear ducts and I would be fine right now. I am not one to alarm someone and tell them every little discomfort I had with my journey because everyone's experience is soooo different!! But if something could be prevented then why doesn't the drug company add that to recommendations . Just like before I started chemo I was told to get my teeth cleaned and keep an eye on my gums.so if you have any tearing go and see your eye doctor just to be safe! I had 4 chemosynthesis of adriomycin/cytoxan every other week. Those were tough. I was told the taxotere wasn't as bad, I had 12 treatments at once a week followed by radiation. I don't think it was much easier but the eye situation was awful. My hair came back like I mentioned before very curly at first now two years later it is pretty much what it was before. The top of my head took the longest, if I hadn't seen my drained go through it the year before I would have been nervous but it's all good! Just watch your eyes!!! Good luck and stay positive!! Your almost there!!! :)

CypressCynthia's picture
CypressCynthia
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

My hair has grown back after 6 treatments of taxotere.  It is thinner, but I believe that is probably due to my continuing herceptin/perjeta treatments every 3 weeks because I am Stage 4.

Also, I did lose some fingernails, but I did not lose my toenails.  When the fingernail would get very loose (often with a small blue hematoma under the nail), I woouls apply a little neosporin and a bandaid.  That protected it and seemed to help.

But I hope you don't lose anything!

My oncologist warned me that I would lose my hair, have facial rashes, lose my fingernails, etc.  This 9 months before my only daughter's wedding.  I told him, "Anotherwords, I won't win the mother-of-the-bride beauty award."  Ha ha.

But, as you can see in my photo, I made it as mother-of-the-bride and I couldn't have been happier just to be there! 

Your hair and nails will come back; I am betting the farm on it! Wink  Hang in there and fight, fight, fight!

marycurbelo1204
Posts: 39
Joined: Jan 2014

MY HAIR STARTED FALLING AFTER THE SECOND WEEK OF CHEMO.  I WENT TO BED ONE NIGHT WITH A HEAD FULL OF HAIR AND WOKE UP WITH ALMOST ALL MY HAIR ON THE PILLOW.  VERY TRAUMATIC.  SHAVING FOR ME WAS A BIT PAINFUL CAUSE THERE WERE CLUMPS OF HAIR ON SOME SIDES BUT COMPLETELY BALD ON OTHER SIDES.  I AM COMPLETELY BALD NOW AND FIND IT VERY COMFORTABLE AND COOL.  EXCEPT THAT I HAVE NO HAIR IN ANY PART OF MY BODY INCLUDING THE VAGINAL AREA.  THAT CAN BE VERY UNCOMFORTABLE.  IS ANYONE GOING THRU THIS?

WildernessGirl
Posts: 55
Joined: Apr 2014

Thank you ladies for all the support and advice you are giving me!  It is so appreciated!  I am so terrified that my hair won't grow back (because of the taxotere) but your encouragement means the world to me.  I know it can be rare for hair not to grow back and I have heard of this happening to some ladies (and my heart goes out to them).  I have one toenail that is black (and probably will fall off) but I will try the neosporin and bandaid.  The rest of my nails are looking good.  

I have very little hair left on my head now (got a buzz cut several weeks ago when it started falling out in clumps).  No hair on arms, legs or in nose (which I wasn't expecting).  Eyebrows and eyelashes still hanging on - not even sparse yet.  But I've been told that I will lose them too.  Getting ready to do infusion #3 (which I'm dreading) this Thurs.  Then I'll have one more left - can't wait for this phase to be over with.  This is so hard.  I couldn't get through this without the support of my BC Survivor and BC Sister friends.  You are all so brave!

 

desertgirl947's picture
desertgirl947
Posts: 471
Joined: Oct 2012

No hair anywhere, eventually, and areas in addition to what you listed:  arms/underarms, legs, brows, lashes.  What I also noticed was I had no nose hair either.

I had enough hair grow back that in 2.5 months after my last chemo, I quit wearing hats or a wig.  My head was covered, and covered evenly.  Had my first trim at four months.

 

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