Hair loss is getting me down

mlmjt1
mlmjt1 Member Posts: 537
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi all.

I had my second ac treatment. 2 more to go and I got thru it ok. Then I start taxol and herceptin. But my paper thin hair which was crappy to begin with is really falling out now. I see my niece at 3pm and she will shave it for me. But you know even with double mastectomy chemo and everything when you have your hair you can still look in the mirror and not see cancer. Now that is all I see. I dont want this to define who I am. I truely feel like I am still grieving some but maybe this will get me into some kind of acceptance stage, I dont know. Anyway the tears are still coming, not all the time but today is hard. I will see my counselor at 5.

Thanks for being there

Linda T
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Comments

  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    Hang in there Linda
    Hang in there Linda ... I'm sure your counselor will be able to help you through this. Just know that you are not alone. Many (most?) of us out here have either lost our hair in the past or are currently bald ... like me. I know what you mean about looking in the mirror and seeing cancer ... but I've trained myself to look at it with humor. Every time I look in the mirror now ... I don't see cancer ... I see my bald grandfather and that makes me laugh. I finished taxol and herceptin the end of May and my hair seems to be coming back very, very, slowly ... and not all over my head. It is also coming back thin ... but I don't really care. I'm just thankful to be here. Many people don't make it far enough to lose their hair ... but I'm grateful I was diagnosed and treated ... and I'm HERE! I guess I sort of look at my bald head as a badge of courage and a bit of proof that I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was.

    You are also a lot stronger than you think ....

    hugs.
    teena
  • cathlinberreth01
    cathlinberreth01 Member Posts: 38
    no hair
    Hi Linda

    I lost my hair from chemo back in 1995 and will lose it again in less than a month. I had very fine hair anyway so for some reason I didn't mind. I figured if I had really GREAT THICK LUXURIOUS HAIR that it would have been more devastating. Since my hair was kind of crappy, I didn't mind losing one of my worse features. My best feature is my eyes and you could see them BETTER when I had no hair. :)

    So I wore a ball cap that said "BAD HAIR DAY" and a floppy denim hat with a flower on it and took it in stride. I was bald about 9 months and it grew back a little darker and a little thicker.

    Let me tell you, washing your scalp in the shower with shampoo and then towel drying it is so NICE that I never went back to having longer hair. I keep it short and it is quick and easy and cute.

    Now I have to have a bilateral/reconstruction combo around October this year and I am much more worried about that. Grieving the loss, dealing with the pain and recovery. How did you get through THAT?
  • mlmjt1
    mlmjt1 Member Posts: 537

    no hair
    Hi Linda

    I lost my hair from chemo back in 1995 and will lose it again in less than a month. I had very fine hair anyway so for some reason I didn't mind. I figured if I had really GREAT THICK LUXURIOUS HAIR that it would have been more devastating. Since my hair was kind of crappy, I didn't mind losing one of my worse features. My best feature is my eyes and you could see them BETTER when I had no hair. :)

    So I wore a ball cap that said "BAD HAIR DAY" and a floppy denim hat with a flower on it and took it in stride. I was bald about 9 months and it grew back a little darker and a little thicker.

    Let me tell you, washing your scalp in the shower with shampoo and then towel drying it is so NICE that I never went back to having longer hair. I keep it short and it is quick and easy and cute.

    Now I have to have a bilateral/reconstruction combo around October this year and I am much more worried about that. Grieving the loss, dealing with the pain and recovery. How did you get through THAT?

    Hair loss and reconstruction
    I had breast cancer on the right side and decided to do bilateral mastectomies. Both had expanders placed right after surgery but I developed a wound complication on the right and had the right expander removed. My reconstruction will be on hold until sometime next year. I have to get the chemo over with and build up some more time at work because I am sure I will have work restrictions after. This whole thing is a nightmare. I am so tired of being down in the dumps. I am actually better when I am working so I will work a few hours tomorrow. Please tell me things will get better. I need something positive

    Thanks for being here everyone. You guys are truely my positive

    Linda T
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    mlmjt1 said:

    Hair loss and reconstruction
    I had breast cancer on the right side and decided to do bilateral mastectomies. Both had expanders placed right after surgery but I developed a wound complication on the right and had the right expander removed. My reconstruction will be on hold until sometime next year. I have to get the chemo over with and build up some more time at work because I am sure I will have work restrictions after. This whole thing is a nightmare. I am so tired of being down in the dumps. I am actually better when I am working so I will work a few hours tomorrow. Please tell me things will get better. I need something positive

    Thanks for being here everyone. You guys are truely my positive

    Linda T

    Linda,
    Things will get better. I can tell you that for sure. Being down in the dumps, depressed, scared, and hopeless is very normal right now. You just have to get through these emotions. You're human and feeling this way is par for the course, unfortunately. But it will absolutely get better. Most of us here were bald at one time or another or are currently bald. I am wearing a wig right now as I write to you from work. I finished chemo in April and radiation in June, and my hair is almost long enough to ditch the wig. When I started this process I thought that I would be depressed, hopeless, sad, bald, and sick forever. Then I came on this site and saw all the wonderful women (and some men) who were getting on with their lives, who had finished treatment and were LIVING. I didn't believe I could ever be one of them. Not me. But, you know what? Now I'm done with treatment, too. Now, I have joy and laughter in my life again, too. This will happen to you, Linda. Now it's a difficult time. Let us help you through it. Soon you will be on the other side of this. Believe it and hang on.

    Mimi
  • faithandprayer
    faithandprayer Member Posts: 177
    Bench Mark
    I'm so sorry & I hope your counselor helps you find peace with this.

    From another angle:
    Your hair loss is an awesome bench mark for you! A couple of weeks ago you were preparing, dreading, waiting for it to happen. Now, it's here & soon to be behind you.

    I had myself so psyched up about losing my hair that by day 14 when I wasn't, I wondered why not and was relieved when it went. And, then I checked it off the checklist and focused on the next.

    Benchmarks have been a great tool for me, maybe they can help you, too.
    It's not about how many are left.
    It's about how many I've left behind.
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    mlmjt1 said:

    Hair loss and reconstruction
    I had breast cancer on the right side and decided to do bilateral mastectomies. Both had expanders placed right after surgery but I developed a wound complication on the right and had the right expander removed. My reconstruction will be on hold until sometime next year. I have to get the chemo over with and build up some more time at work because I am sure I will have work restrictions after. This whole thing is a nightmare. I am so tired of being down in the dumps. I am actually better when I am working so I will work a few hours tomorrow. Please tell me things will get better. I need something positive

    Thanks for being here everyone. You guys are truely my positive

    Linda T

    Yes Linda ... it will get better
    Things will get better ... it just takes some of us longer than others. And we all have to travel the "journey" at our own speed. Just try not to look too far down the road and just take it one little step at a time. It isn't easy ... but you can do it. We're all here for you ... 24/7. You'd be amazed at how many night-owls are out here posting at the strangest hours ... and we're not all in the United States ... so we've got a lot of time-zones covered too.

    Hang in there ... just try your best not to look too far ahead as far as treatment goes or it will seem overwhelming. Baby steps will work just fine.

    hugs.
    teena

    P.S. Like Mimi ... I am also posting from work ... and I'm sitting here with my little denim hat covering my bald head. See ... we're all hanging in here ... and you can too!
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    mlmjt1 said:

    Hair loss and reconstruction
    I had breast cancer on the right side and decided to do bilateral mastectomies. Both had expanders placed right after surgery but I developed a wound complication on the right and had the right expander removed. My reconstruction will be on hold until sometime next year. I have to get the chemo over with and build up some more time at work because I am sure I will have work restrictions after. This whole thing is a nightmare. I am so tired of being down in the dumps. I am actually better when I am working so I will work a few hours tomorrow. Please tell me things will get better. I need something positive

    Thanks for being here everyone. You guys are truely my positive

    Linda T

    Hairs Looking at you, Kid!
    Cancer is not just an assault on our bodies, but an insult as well. And for women, hair, thick and luxuriant or thin and wispy is such a defining part of our feminine personality. And yes, we can cover our missing breasts with clothing, but not having sideburns, and wearing hats or scarves on heads which now seem to be the size of softballs really doesn't fool anyone! LOL Here is something which may help though: When YOU see a woman wearing an obviously chemo-induced bandana as a fashion statement, how do you feel about her? Sickened? Repulsed? Disgusted? Wish she would stay home and hide? I have never met you, but I know you feel no such thing! You probably feel compassion and empathy just knowing she is a Sister in Arms. And you can give each other "the look"! a bald or scarved head isn't a sign of weakness, it is a sign of a Kindred Spirit not giving up, but actively engaged in killing the Beast! Just as other women ( and men!) recognize this strength when they see YOU!

    It is part and parcel of taking charge of your treatment, and knowing that you will go from Bald as a Cueball to Newborn, to Baby Chick, then Chia-pet, then Finger in light-socket, to finally a semblance of what you had pre- cancer! It happened to all of us, and you absolutely will get through this too! We promise!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • Noel
    Noel Member Posts: 3,095 Member

    Bench Mark
    I'm so sorry & I hope your counselor helps you find peace with this.

    From another angle:
    Your hair loss is an awesome bench mark for you! A couple of weeks ago you were preparing, dreading, waiting for it to happen. Now, it's here & soon to be behind you.

    I had myself so psyched up about losing my hair that by day 14 when I wasn't, I wondered why not and was relieved when it went. And, then I checked it off the checklist and focused on the next.

    Benchmarks have been a great tool for me, maybe they can help you, too.
    It's not about how many are left.
    It's about how many I've left behind.

    I also am so sorry. I also
    I also am so sorry. I also hope that your counselor can help you.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

    Hugs, Noel
  • LilSister
    LilSister Member Posts: 8
    tgf said:

    Yes Linda ... it will get better
    Things will get better ... it just takes some of us longer than others. And we all have to travel the "journey" at our own speed. Just try not to look too far down the road and just take it one little step at a time. It isn't easy ... but you can do it. We're all here for you ... 24/7. You'd be amazed at how many night-owls are out here posting at the strangest hours ... and we're not all in the United States ... so we've got a lot of time-zones covered too.

    Hang in there ... just try your best not to look too far ahead as far as treatment goes or it will seem overwhelming. Baby steps will work just fine.

    hugs.
    teena

    P.S. Like Mimi ... I am also posting from work ... and I'm sitting here with my little denim hat covering my bald head. See ... we're all hanging in here ... and you can too!

    It will get worse first
    It will get better,but not anytime soon, you have along way. It will get worse first. You will come to realize, the hair will eventually come back. If you are like a lot of us, there are a lot of things that chemo takes away permenatly. In my opinion, they don't focus enough on this when you are making treament decisions. I hope your marriage is stronger than mine was. I thought it was, but 2 years after, he finally had enough and left. Good luck, we all need it.
  • piseminger
    piseminger Member Posts: 35
    Hang in there Linda
    I fully understand where you are coming from. I was always being complimented on how nice my hair look so it was very hard to see it start coming out. My mom cut it for me when it started mass exiting. It was hard, yes I cried and so did she. But the good news is it will come back. Mine started coming in about 1 month after I stopped all chemo. My hair was originally brown. At first it looked like it was going to be all white and I thought oh no Lord not white hair but I quickly stopped myself and said thank you Lord that I am getting my hair back whatever color it might be.
    As I said at first it is hard, I did buy a wig especially since I was student teaching during my chemo treatments. I didn't want my students seeing me bald. Now 3 month out,from the stop of my chemo, my head is covered with salt and pepper colored hair. I don't wear my wig at home and I actually let my nephews see me for the first time without it on July 4. They never said a word. Now I just have to decide when I will go out in public without my wig.
    Please know you are not alone in the quest and you are in all of our thoughts and prayers
  • ohilly
    ohilly Member Posts: 441
    some encouragement
    This is an issue I can definitely relate to: I was upset for a long, long time (as other people on this board can attest to given my numerous posts on the subject) because my hair came back thin. I wasn't upset during the chemo when I actually lost my hair because I was so sure it would come back exactly the same way. It was when it came back thin that I got upset.

    But I want to tell you that there was a happy ending: after figuring out that it was the Femara I have to take that thinned my hair, I went to a hair stylist who styled my hair and was able to camouflage it so well that people constantly tell me my hair looks great and even better than before. I got it cut layered and with highlights, also lightened up the color which hides the thinness. I also use a product that is made of keratin fibers that you sprinkle on your hair and it hides the thin spots - its called Toppik and there is a website: www.toppik.com or it is available at Sally's Beauty Supply stores.

    Hope this post will help you. Believe me, I understand how upsetting hair loss can be. But I am telling you the truth that it no longer upsets me and I look fine despite my thinner hair!

    Ohilly
  • fauxma
    fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member
    ohilly said:

    some encouragement
    This is an issue I can definitely relate to: I was upset for a long, long time (as other people on this board can attest to given my numerous posts on the subject) because my hair came back thin. I wasn't upset during the chemo when I actually lost my hair because I was so sure it would come back exactly the same way. It was when it came back thin that I got upset.

    But I want to tell you that there was a happy ending: after figuring out that it was the Femara I have to take that thinned my hair, I went to a hair stylist who styled my hair and was able to camouflage it so well that people constantly tell me my hair looks great and even better than before. I got it cut layered and with highlights, also lightened up the color which hides the thinness. I also use a product that is made of keratin fibers that you sprinkle on your hair and it hides the thin spots - its called Toppik and there is a website: www.toppik.com or it is available at Sally's Beauty Supply stores.

    Hope this post will help you. Believe me, I understand how upsetting hair loss can be. But I am telling you the truth that it no longer upsets me and I look fine despite my thinner hair!

    Ohilly

    Ohilly,
    It is so good to

    Ohilly,
    It is so good to hear you and your positive attitude about your hair. I felt so bad when you had the issues with the thinning. You are truly a great role model for making lemonade out of lemons and I have such admiration for you. You are truly beautiful from the inside out, with thin, thick or no hair.
    Stef
  • ohilly
    ohilly Member Posts: 441
    fauxma said:

    Ohilly,
    It is so good to

    Ohilly,
    It is so good to hear you and your positive attitude about your hair. I felt so bad when you had the issues with the thinning. You are truly a great role model for making lemonade out of lemons and I have such admiration for you. You are truly beautiful from the inside out, with thin, thick or no hair.
    Stef

    thanks
    Thanks for the kind words, Stef. I think people on this board thought I was crazy for a while. But it just took me time to adjust to my 'new normal.'

    Ohilly
  • cathlinberreth01
    cathlinberreth01 Member Posts: 38
    mlmjt1 said:

    Hair loss and reconstruction
    I had breast cancer on the right side and decided to do bilateral mastectomies. Both had expanders placed right after surgery but I developed a wound complication on the right and had the right expander removed. My reconstruction will be on hold until sometime next year. I have to get the chemo over with and build up some more time at work because I am sure I will have work restrictions after. This whole thing is a nightmare. I am so tired of being down in the dumps. I am actually better when I am working so I will work a few hours tomorrow. Please tell me things will get better. I need something positive

    Thanks for being here everyone. You guys are truely my positive

    Linda T

    it will get better
    Hi again Linda

    It will get better. It just doesn't seem like it will right now. But I have been through A LOT of crap in my life (cancer, divorce and later modifications, cancer AGAIN) and it always seems like it will never end. There are times you think you just can't do it. Then you say, "God, I just can't do this" and then you realize that NO ONE could, and you let it go or give it up to God or something. And then you feel better. And then you strangely have the strength to do it anyway. It seems so impossible at the time, but then you get through it and it is over...

    I have been relying on work as well though to keep my mind of things. And your hair will grow back! So sorry they have to postpone your one reconstruction though. Complications are NOT fun. Here is mine...

    I have been trying to heal from my sentinel node biopsy two weeks ago and my armpit is swollen like I have a chicken's egg under my arm. It has been getting worse so I called today to find out that that isn't NORMAL. THe nurse told me it was fluid accumulation and when I go in tomorrow they are going to numb me up and take the fluid out. I will also get my PET scan results to see what stage I am.

    Part of me is discouraged from the complication but the other part is relieved that they can do something. I think unmanaged pain is one of the most discouraging things about this process. They told me to go back on my Percocet to be comfortable and I already feel better. I just hate taking narcotic pain pills because I don't want to get addicted to them.
  • fauxma
    fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member
    ohilly said:

    thanks
    Thanks for the kind words, Stef. I think people on this board thought I was crazy for a while. But it just took me time to adjust to my 'new normal.'

    Ohilly

    I don't think that anyone
    I don't think that anyone thought you were crazy. You had a tough time with this issue and needed us. We all have different issues and we all work at supporting each other through them.
    Stef
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
    ohilly said:

    thanks
    Thanks for the kind words, Stef. I think people on this board thought I was crazy for a while. But it just took me time to adjust to my 'new normal.'

    Ohilly

    It is great to see you
    It is great to see you sounding so good Ohilly. I am so happy that you finally got some medicine also that is helping. We all need help sometime or another.

    Hugs, Diane
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    ohilly said:

    thanks
    Thanks for the kind words, Stef. I think people on this board thought I was crazy for a while. But it just took me time to adjust to my 'new normal.'

    Ohilly

    "New Normal" After Cancer Treatment
    Sometimes, I think this is the most difficult segment of the journey...

    If we're lucky to have excellent medical care, we can get through the treatments with lots of assistance. Then, BOOM! We're on our own, left to figure out: what now? what IS my "new normal"?

    Thank goodness for this site, thank goodness we have each other here.

    Kudos to you, Ohilly, for coming to terms with your "new" hair! I bet you look fabulous! :-)

    Kind regards, Susan
  • leticia13
    leticia13 Member Posts: 6

    "New Normal" After Cancer Treatment
    Sometimes, I think this is the most difficult segment of the journey...

    If we're lucky to have excellent medical care, we can get through the treatments with lots of assistance. Then, BOOM! We're on our own, left to figure out: what now? what IS my "new normal"?

    Thank goodness for this site, thank goodness we have each other here.

    Kudos to you, Ohilly, for coming to terms with your "new" hair! I bet you look fabulous! :-)

    Kind regards, Susan

    soooo true....
    I had my last treatment in September and it wasn't until like march that I kinda started feeling great. I think you go through a period of being well, shell shocked... Your told you no longer have cancer, your told everything will be great, but you just don't feel quite right.. Its an odd phase to go through.
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
    Hi Linda. I am so sorry
    Hi Linda. I am so sorry about what you are going thru. I hope your counselor can help you to feel better.
  • Kylez
    Kylez Member Posts: 3,761 Member
    So sorry Linda. I have no
    So sorry Linda. I have no idea what it must feel like to lose your hair. But, I know it must be awful. But, it will come back. Just focus on treating and getting rid of the cancer now, and, once that is done, your hair will come back and you will feel better!

    Hugs