New Chemo - Hair Loss Wigs, etc. ?

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clight
clight Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello, I'm 51 yrs. old and had my first Adriamycin and Cytoxin chemo 11 days ago, so hair loss in a few more days! I have long hair-below my shoulder, light brown ?, (maybe a few blond, or auburn, and a very few grey). Do wigs hurt your head? How can you prevent the irritation and get wigs, hats, scarves, etc. to stay on? I tried some on and they made my forehead feel like a light sunburn. Very, very little $, so trying to figure this out before next chemo on Tuesday. All info appreciated. I'm not sure how this discussion works as I just joined. I expected an e-mail list, but can't find that?? Can e-mail me at craftycritters@sierratel.com if needed. Feeling a bit out of control today. Thanks, Carolyn

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  • LorettaB
    LorettaB Member Posts: 51
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    Hi, Carolyn,

    I just finished chemo 3 weeks ago. I hated wearing my wig because it just kept moving around, it itched and it was hot. So I opted for cute hats...and I got cheap ones at Target.

    Now here's a real kicker...I was watching tv last night and saw a commercial that had this gorgeous, bald model in it. Wow! Then I thought, hey, maybe now it's hip to be bald! Heck, Natalie Portman has been walking around with a bald head for a few months because she had to shave her hair off for a role in a movie! And something else I noticed is that I can really turn heads if I have make-up on, no eyebrows and no eyelashes...for some reason people just stare into my eyes and notice them instead of my hairless head!

    You can get e-mail through this board...go to "Your CSN Start Page" and you should be able to send and receive e-mail. I'll send you a test e-mail.

    As far as feeling out of control, you are certainly not alone and this is a great place to come for support. I have depended on it when I was feeling lost, sick and needed information on all the things I was experiencing.

    Keep us posted...this is a great group of people!

    LorettaB
  • Ellison
    Ellison Member Posts: 68
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    Good Morning Carolyn,

    I remember trying on wigs. It seemed important for me to have one before I started chemo treatments. That way they can match the color of your hair if you want. I also bought scarves and hats. I would suggest you buy some things that are soft and will not irritate your head. Depending on how the Wig is made they can irritate also. I shopped around and found a shop that made wigh that did not have that irritating hardness under it. The one I have breathes underneith, it is made of a light mesh. Comfort is the name of the game. As far as cost I paid 100.00 for mine. I was working at the time and could afford it. Most insurances do cover a cost for a wig for cancer patients. My insurance did not. I suggest you contact the American Cancer Society in your area and ask where you can find free wigs and or let them know what you can afford. I know they will ge glad to help you.

    good luck
    elli
  • hillbillycat
    hillbillycat Member Posts: 79
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    Hi,just want to say hi and that I remember hunting for wigs when I had chemo. I also had long hair.Now my hair is almost to my shoulders and it came back curly.The wigs I had did not hurt my head unless I wore them consistently. You Know ? like not taking them off at night. I have done that but very rarely. it felt so much better to have nothing on my head but I was not the type to bare all my scalp for just anyone! haha.
    A lot of people I know wore their wigs alternatly. I wore mine everyday as that is my personality.So who knows ? You may be like me or want to do something different.As time goes on you will know what you want as it really is up to the person who has to wear the wig.I hope the best for you and hope you tell about yourself .....Shirl
  • Idalia
    Idalia Member Posts: 76
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    Dear candothis, I got a free wig from the American Cancer Society. They let you try on different styles and colors and teach you how to care for your hairpiece. The first time I went bald, I let nature takes its course and woke up to a hairy pillow for weeks! This time, when it started coming out in clumps, I went ahead and shaved it off. Much nicer! A hair hat is perfect for work since they have the air conditioner cranked up, but for private use, I love scarves and hats. Get scarves that have some cotton or texture and they won't slide. I wear my wig over a thin nylon cap (looks like a knee high stocking!) and it is pretty comfortable. A well fitted wig or hat shouldn't hurt your head. Your head will be smaller without hair so either cut your hair or wait until it falls to get hats or a wig. I got more compliments from hats then I ever did from having hair so I never stopped wearing them! Good luck, remember this is just an inconvenience in the grand scheme of things.
  • DiO
    DiO Member Posts: 51
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    The American Cancer Society also has a catalogue with low cost wigs--I paid $40 for mine and it was so close to my own hair at the end of treatment co-workers and church members were still asking me when I was going to lose my hair! They also have some little knit pieces that you can wear under the wig to prevent scratching and irritation. I used them and never had any irritation. I'm not a hat person, and just couldn't get into wearing a hat, so I wore the wig almost all the time and at night had a terry knit cap that I wore to bed during the winter when it was cold, also from the ACS catalogue. Good luck with the rest of your treatments, and God bless! Di
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 242
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    Hi Carolyn,
    I think we've all been there,I went into wig shops-several couldn't find anything that looked right.Finally went on the internet to www.wigs.net found a Raquel Welch wig that I adored,it ended up over $100. but to have something comfortable that didn't look fake mattered to me.Of course one of the reasons mine was more was because I bought the styling products too.My wig of choice was called 'breathless',don't get me wrong I sometimes wore hats or scarves,but mostly my wig.It was so easy-it was already styled every morning-just pop it on and out the door,ha-I couldn't do that with my real hair.I will keep my wig --just in case-- but I donated my hats and scarves to the chemo dept at the hospital where I had treatments.They also have these thin little caps,stretchy You know to wear under Your wig-I didn't usually use mine,my wig was pretty light and breathable.
    My thoughts and prayers are with You as You go through all of this,be good to Yourself-You'll be beautiful what ever You decide to do,Your comfort and peace of mind are much more important than what anyone else could think.
    God bless you!
    Sue
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 242
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    mssue said:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I think we've all been there,I went into wig shops-several couldn't find anything that looked right.Finally went on the internet to www.wigs.net found a Raquel Welch wig that I adored,it ended up over $100. but to have something comfortable that didn't look fake mattered to me.Of course one of the reasons mine was more was because I bought the styling products too.My wig of choice was called 'breathless',don't get me wrong I sometimes wore hats or scarves,but mostly my wig.It was so easy-it was already styled every morning-just pop it on and out the door,ha-I couldn't do that with my real hair.I will keep my wig --just in case-- but I donated my hats and scarves to the chemo dept at the hospital where I had treatments.They also have these thin little caps,stretchy You know to wear under Your wig-I didn't usually use mine,my wig was pretty light and breathable.
    My thoughts and prayers are with You as You go through all of this,be good to Yourself-You'll be beautiful what ever You decide to do,Your comfort and peace of mind are much more important than what anyone else could think.
    God bless you!
    Sue

    It's me again--I missed some of Your post originally-chemo brain-hehe,but I did find this web sight , they had some very beautiful headcoverings-I wish I'd known about them sooner,their prices aren't bad either. The address is www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/home.html

    Hope this helps.Take care!
    Love
    Sue
  • Kathy1108
    Kathy1108 Member Posts: 62
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    Hi Carolyn, I had the a/c treatment and lost my hair 2 weeks after starting treatments. I did not wait until my hair fell out, I had my stylist cut my hair very short. Then when I notice that it was starting to go I had my husband shave the rest of my hair off. I never looked at myself when I was bald because I knew that would upset me too much. I did wear wigs when I went out I brought them at www.paulayoung.com. I worn a nylon cap under the wigs and that made it comfortable. But when I was home I just worn a terry cloth turban, and even slept with it on. Your hair will start growing back about a month after your last treatment. When my hair came back it came back very curly and darker color. Good Luck with your treatments.
  • purplepugs
    purplepugs Member Posts: 2
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    mssue said:

    It's me again--I missed some of Your post originally-chemo brain-hehe,but I did find this web sight , they had some very beautiful headcoverings-I wish I'd known about them sooner,their prices aren't bad either. The address is www.headcoverings-by-devorah.com/home.html

    Hope this helps.Take care!
    Love
    Sue

    Dear Sue, you might also want to try www.tlcdirect.org. They have great hats and scarves, as well as wig liners (2 for $9.50), padded cotton hat liners to wear under hats or scarves ($14) that help things not look so "flat" on your head, and also very soft and comfortable sleep caps (they call them "lovies"). If you request one of their catalogs, they also have some very nice looking, very inexpensive wigs. I chose not to go the wig route because I don't work outside the home and I live in the south, where right now it is very hot and humid. The catalog also has some neat tips on how to tie scarves, one of which I picked up on....instead of all that fancy knot-tying, just get some of those elastic "scrunchies" and wrap around the end of the scarf. Also found those little clippies to be helpful. A colorful scarf underneath a hat can be a really nice look and a lot more comfortable than a wig. Best of luck, and hey...SPLURGE on different looks!

    PurplePugs
  • BonnieT
    BonnieT Member Posts: 13
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    Hi
    I bought a wig from TLC the magazine thru the american cancer foundation. Most wigs are about 40, I found that the wigs come with alot of "hair" on them , find a stylist that cuts wigs and have them cut it for you.The wigs were less irritating
    after you are bald, I swore I would not shave my head, but after a week of finding hair every where I had my girlfriend buzz it. I would take off my wig when I was at home, in the evenings after my kids went to bed. I have 3 little ones, and they didn't like to see me without hair !! Honestly that was one of the hardest thing to deal with for me, I
    wasn't comfortable in hats.I know it is crazy I just didn't want everyone to know and treat me differently. I went thru alot of emotions.I was crying when it fell out and my 3 year old daughter told me "mom it is just hair, your eye's aren't falling out !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" from the mouth of babes !!!
    My hair didn't fall out until about day 17
    I went to the american cancer foundation you can get free wigs and prosethisis if needed, but the wigs they had at our center were very old !!! But it is worth checking into.
    best of luck
    stay in touch
    Bonnie T
  • Shibui
    Shibui Member Posts: 1
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    Carolyn, my experience was very different -- though I assumed from the start I would do the wigs, spiffy hats and head-wraps thing. But I ended up choosing to go WITHOUT wigs or hats -- to go topless, you might say. For someone who has always been very concerned with what people thought and not wanted to be thought weird in any way, it was quite a choice! But it ended up being one of the most powerful parts of that year! I don't remember ever being looked at as weird, except by some very young children in the grocery store... with whom I would stop, and with their mother's permission, explain why I had no hair in a way that wouldn't be frightening to them. More often, I had cancer survivors come up and offer assurances, or remember their times of treatment; as I was talking to one in the grocery store, an older man wheeled his cart by, smiled and said, "The wife's been there, done that and is doing fine."
    I cannot tell you how sensuous it is to go without! You feel the mists of rain, and breezes, and even stroking your own head feels wonderul! Bald men are lucky, I've decided!
    It was winter when I was being treated, and the only time I wore something on my head was a soft, pretty rose stocking cap when I needed to keep warm, including at night in bed sometimes.
    Sometimes I wore little tattoos. I found some little silver flower ones at Michaels and would stick them above the nape of my neck, behind my ear. A saleswoman there who was so supportive has told me she's sorry I let my hair grow back, because she thought I was more beautiful without it!
    My minster wrote me, the first Sunday I sat in church bald, with what I thought was the greatest compliment: He said he had looked out from the pulpit and though how I was "his favorite black woman"!
    That year was rich with meaning and learning, but I think more than anything, my choice to go topless gave me things I would have received no other way. I am so very glad I made that decision.
    I do commentaries for the local NPR station and did one about the topless choice. I'd be glad to send it, if you would like.

    As a great wise woman once said that no matter what, "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Know it to be true!

    Peace,
    Beth
  • kbc4869
    kbc4869 Member Posts: 159
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    Shibui said:

    Carolyn, my experience was very different -- though I assumed from the start I would do the wigs, spiffy hats and head-wraps thing. But I ended up choosing to go WITHOUT wigs or hats -- to go topless, you might say. For someone who has always been very concerned with what people thought and not wanted to be thought weird in any way, it was quite a choice! But it ended up being one of the most powerful parts of that year! I don't remember ever being looked at as weird, except by some very young children in the grocery store... with whom I would stop, and with their mother's permission, explain why I had no hair in a way that wouldn't be frightening to them. More often, I had cancer survivors come up and offer assurances, or remember their times of treatment; as I was talking to one in the grocery store, an older man wheeled his cart by, smiled and said, "The wife's been there, done that and is doing fine."
    I cannot tell you how sensuous it is to go without! You feel the mists of rain, and breezes, and even stroking your own head feels wonderul! Bald men are lucky, I've decided!
    It was winter when I was being treated, and the only time I wore something on my head was a soft, pretty rose stocking cap when I needed to keep warm, including at night in bed sometimes.
    Sometimes I wore little tattoos. I found some little silver flower ones at Michaels and would stick them above the nape of my neck, behind my ear. A saleswoman there who was so supportive has told me she's sorry I let my hair grow back, because she thought I was more beautiful without it!
    My minster wrote me, the first Sunday I sat in church bald, with what I thought was the greatest compliment: He said he had looked out from the pulpit and though how I was "his favorite black woman"!
    That year was rich with meaning and learning, but I think more than anything, my choice to go topless gave me things I would have received no other way. I am so very glad I made that decision.
    I do commentaries for the local NPR station and did one about the topless choice. I'd be glad to send it, if you would like.

    As a great wise woman once said that no matter what, "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Know it to be true!

    Peace,
    Beth

    Beth, thank you for your post. I loved reading it. You're right: losing hair really puts things into perspective. While losing my hair (which had always been my staple; the thing I was most known for and complimented on) was the hardest part of treatment for me, it taught me so much about what's important. I was very lucky, as my insurance is exceptional and covered up to $1000 for wigs. I went and bought two with real hair. I thought I would wear them all the time. I couldn't imagine that I could deal with people seeing me without hair. Funny, but I didn't. I actually donated them back to the cancer center along with all the expensive care products as well. I wound up wearing scarves mostly. It just felt more natural and like I was being more honest with myself and others. And when my hair started to grow back a little, I thought I would wear my scarves until it was at least an inch long. Wrong again! I went without, and I can't tell you how many strangers came up to me and told me how beautiful I was.

    My hair has since grown back -- it is darker and curlier. I do miss my old hair sometimes -- it was long and blonde. It is now ash. But what I learned was I used to put way too much stock in how I looked. It's how I used to measure my lovability. If someone didn't love me, it meant I wasn't pretty, skinny, whatever enough. Now I know that people who really love you and care about you, love who you are; not things like how long or what color your hair is. Life and love after being bald is much richer and happier for me than before!

    God Bless,

    Kim
  • eican
    eican Member Posts: 1
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    I found the anticipation of losing my hair to be worse than the actual loss. I bought a Raquel wig, and it looked nice, but was too itchy. I wore it perhaps twice. I bought scarves and hats -- and frequently wore both together. I was bald through Christmas and New Year's, so I needed hats outside, but once in the office, it was just the scarf. One of my co-workers called it my "Johnny Depp look,"(alluding to Pirates of the Caribbean).I enjoyed being bald, and it is an extremely sensuous time. I cannot express how soothing it is to have someone caress your head! I recently had a massage, and it just isn't the same now that I have hair again. When my hair first started growing back, it was like rabbit fur - gray and soft as silk. Now, it's back to normal, no curls for me alas, and it's darker than I ever thought it could be (which allows the ever increasing gray to show up better). But that's ok.