Not so brave!

Marlene_K
Marlene_K Member Posts: 508
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Well it's happening... my hair is starting to shed. Funny story... I told my 11 yr old boy and he said 'oh really?' and he grabbed my hair and took out a BUNCH of strands. He stood holding them in his hand, feeling bad, and said 'hmmmm, well can we put them back in?' It did make me laugh! Only out of the mouth of babes. Anyway, I'm not dealing too well. I've had a few panic attacks since realizing that it's really happening. I'm a very positive person, and I truly thought I was prepared, but I'm starting to feel like this might be the hardest thing yet. And I feel ashamed because I should be focusing on the fact that I came through my 1st chemo treatment with flying colors... barely any side affects and feeling quite healthy actually. I guess I'm just really scared that any self-confidence I have left is going to be shattered! Breast cancer seems to have taken every feminine part of me away, starting with the boob, can't tan, can't have my nails done, and now I will lose my hair. I want to focus on the good... I have three beautiful and healthy kids and I thank GOD for that. But I can't help but admit that I can't seem to shake this lump in my throat now that my hair has begun to fall out. Oh, and the clincher is, I just hate the wig I ordered and the company I ordered it from is a total rip off. They want to keep $45 for a restocking fee and I lose out on shipping costs. Leave it to me to make a bum deal. Ok, so I vented a little and it feels a little better. Anyone have any stories of how they got through this?
«1

Comments

  • elizarose
    elizarose Member Posts: 124
    courage
    First of all, bravery isn't the lack of fear, it's moving forward in spite of the fear! Secondly, I think you have to grieve the loss of your hair and it's normal. I never wore a wig. I tried some on but I hated how they felt. I tried wearing hats and scarves but didn't like that either. Eventually I did what was comfortable for me and just went bald. (I would wear a hat outside if it was cold.) I bought lots of cute, big earrings as one way to help me feel feminine. I understand how you feel about cancer taking away your femininity, and I hope it helps to tell you it gets better.
  • Dawne.Hope
    Dawne.Hope Member Posts: 823
    elizarose said:

    courage
    First of all, bravery isn't the lack of fear, it's moving forward in spite of the fear! Secondly, I think you have to grieve the loss of your hair and it's normal. I never wore a wig. I tried some on but I hated how they felt. I tried wearing hats and scarves but didn't like that either. Eventually I did what was comfortable for me and just went bald. (I would wear a hat outside if it was cold.) I bought lots of cute, big earrings as one way to help me feel feminine. I understand how you feel about cancer taking away your femininity, and I hope it helps to tell you it gets better.

    you're going to make it!
    Marlene,

    I'm so sorry. I haven't had to deal with the loss of my hair, but I've been with my mom when she has lost hers several times. And when her hair began to hurt and fall out, we buzzed it. And she felt so much better! I think it's easier just to have it all gone once it starts to fall out then have it come out in clumps.

    I'm sorry too about the wig. Have you gone to a wig shop to actually try them on? You may pay a little more, but ask your onocologist's office about where to go, and they'll direct to a good wig shop.

    [hugs]
    dh
  • Cat64
    Cat64 Member Posts: 1,192
    Hi Marlene
    One day at a time to answer your question. It's tough, you think you are prepared because you KNOW you're going to lose your hair, but then it actually does happen.(Even after you had that small glimmer of hope that it wouldn't!)Unfortunately there's nothing we can do except accept it and make the best of it. After my strands starting falling out,it wasn't long before the clumps came. Then your scalp becomes sore & you know it's time to "do the deed". I didn't shave it bald, just buzzed it down and occasionally run a lint roller over it to pick up the rest. Now I have little bald spots all over my head.(My kids love "rolling my head") Wearing wigs can be a pain in the rear,true,I only wear mine in public. I wear a turban around the house & to sleep in. Who did you order your wig from?(We'll know who NOT to order from!) I'd call or write a letter and ask for the $ back. If not,you can always donate it. The ACS accepted my return.I exchanged it for a hat and was refunded the rest. You can still go to their office for a free one & you KNOW what you are getting. You truly do have alot to be greatful for like you said. You are a beautiful woman with or without hair and your self-confidence comes from within! You are not about being polished,tanned,or what your hair looks like. My family & I have made humor out of this by them drawing faces on the back of my head,targets,etc...they like to try on my hats,turbans,scarves, and throughout it all they tell me I am still pretty(& sexy)! That's excellent about the Chemo! And you ARE brave! Look what you are going through! You're a fighter! You CAN do this! Remember-it's only temporary and you can look forward to the surprise of how it comes back in!
    Hugz,
    Cathy
  • Booberta
    Booberta Member Posts: 61
    OH Sweetie!!
    I don't even know where to start! You are fabulous. How those of you with young children at home manage is beyond me!

    The fact that you can find humor and joy with your children over your hair loss is such a great thing.

    Your positive attitude will get you through in the end, but it doesn't mean that you can't feel sad or afraid or just plain pissed off because nobody deserves to go through this.
  • mickeymom
    mickeymom Member Posts: 117
    You're very brave!
    I've been through surgery, chemo and am doing radiation now and I think next to the diagnosis, losing my hair was without question the hardest thing. When it really started falling out I started wearing scarves to keep it from getting everywhere. If you decide not to wear a wig, you could try some colorful or silky scarves that might add a little feminine side to things.

    I was completely opposed to shaving my head and had planned to just let it fall out. After spending six days crying my eyes out and mourning every hair that fell out, I finally gave in and let my husband use clippers on it. We left it about an inch long and there was a bit that never did fall out. I did feel relieved once it was gone, sad but glad it was over. I got a wig too but I've never worn it. It didn't look like me. I decided I like scarves and have stuck with that the whole time.

    You're being very strong to try to keep your focus moving in a positive direction. You did a great thing getting through your first chemo!! Hang on to that confidence. You can and will beat this whole thing. I know it doesn't seem like it. I know I didn't believe it when I was where you are, but one day this will be behind you. Hang in there!
  • Marlene_K
    Marlene_K Member Posts: 508
    Truly Amazing!
    This site is really such a God send. I can jot down any feeling I have and come away with your replies with such a better outlook! I have tears in my eyes that there are such very caring and genuine people here. And, Dawne, I actually did go to a wig place but they only tried two wigs on me... and they were very expensive! I didn't come away happy so I decided to go the cheaper route and bought one online. The site is www.headcovers.com. I don't mind smashing them as I feel they take big advantage of people in our position. You have to figure that their clients are a good 90% cancer patients. How dare they! If they come through, I will be sure to post it, but I doubt they will. I will take it one day at a time and see what I decide to do with cutting or shaving it, but dang... it sure is scary! If only we could all look as sexy as "Pitt", we'd have nothing to worry about :)
  • MyTurnNow
    MyTurnNow Member Posts: 2,686 Member
    Marlene, I know where you're
    Marlene, I know where you're coming from. I have recently finished my chemo and can honestly say the hardest part, so far, for me was losing my hair. It's kind of amazing that we're so attached to our hair, but it is a big part of us. I finally just had it buzzed by my hairdresser. I won't lie to you, I sat in her chair and boo-hoo'd through the entire process. It was very hard for me. That was around 2 months ago and just like anything else, you get used to it. It's actually very liberating too. I never bought a wig because I just didn't like them on me. I guess I'm not a wig person. I bought some very nice headwraps, they are called beau-beau's, and I ordered them through 4women.com. You may want to check them out. I wear one of these to work everyday and usually ball caps on the weekend. Best of luck to you!
  • patti anne
    patti anne Member Posts: 101
    same
    Losing my hair was also very difficult for me. My husband shaved my head for me and I bawled the whole time. (He won't admit it, but I think he was in tears too)

    You get through it, like with everything else....with time. I didn't leave the house for a week after I shaved my head. My first outing was to church. After I made that first step outside, the rest seemed so much easier. Your kids and family will keep you laughing and before you know it, this too will be behind you.

    It sucks, we know!
  • laurissa
    laurissa Member Posts: 773
    It's difficult
    The hair coming out is the worst part, I think. For me it was. But, once it's shaved, it gets to be better than pulling at it all the time. I hate wearing wigs too and have ordered a couple I need to return. It is a rough time. I was a vanity person, too. Now, thats kind of out the window for the time being. Hope you get through ok. I also feel little side effects, I hope that continues for us. Thats a plus.
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Oh sweetie
    Losing your hair is HARD, no matter how prepared you think you are. When I was first diagnosed I was sure that losing my hair would be nothing. After all, whats a bit of hair compared to saving your life, right? Wrong. It's something, all right. It's cancer and now you look in the mirror and can see something you have tangibly lost. No way to sugar coat it, it represents our experience and it's not fair. What also bugs me is this relentless expectation by others (and even ourselves) that we must remain positive and cheerful at all times. This is abusive to our true selves. Yes, we can be positive while going through cancer treatment. But we are not one-dimentional cut-outs or greeting cards. We will also be depressed, angry, sad, ungrateful, combative, silly, joyful, hopeful, hopeless, and pissed off. Denying those feelings doesn't make them go away, it only makes you feel guilty and as though you have somehow failed. I call it the tyranny of positivity. You can truly be hopeful and positive only after you've accepted and processed the other understandable and human feelings.

    You are being so hard on yourself, and I understand that b/c I'm like that, too. You didn't "make a bum deal" for the wig. You thought you would save some money and get something appropriate. What's so wrong with that? If you have the energy, write or call them just to let them know how wrong they are. You might not get the re-stocking fee back, but it might make you feel better and more in control. This disease is notorious for making us feel out of control and powerless.

    There's this Buddhist saying that I really like (though I am not a Buddhist), "maintain an attitude of unconditional friendliness toward yourself." Let your feelings be without judgment. Now, go sink into a nice hot bath or plan a big salon day for when it's all over. Hugs.

    Mimi
  • TraciInLA
    TraciInLA Member Posts: 1,994 Member
    laurissa said:

    It's difficult
    The hair coming out is the worst part, I think. For me it was. But, once it's shaved, it gets to be better than pulling at it all the time. I hate wearing wigs too and have ordered a couple I need to return. It is a rough time. I was a vanity person, too. Now, thats kind of out the window for the time being. Hope you get through ok. I also feel little side effects, I hope that continues for us. Thats a plus.

    Since I don't look like Pitt either....
    Marlene, I'm right there with you having a hard time feeling feminine...and wishing that we could all look as sexy as Liz, with or without hair!

    Like elizarose, I also just decided that chemo was hard enough without making myself even MORE uncomfortable, so I don't wear anything on my head, except when I'm in the sun -- I found hats a lot more convenient to take on and off when I go outside.

    A lot of women have mentioned using this as an excuse to buy cute earrings to help you feel more girly -- I don't like wearing earrings, but I found myself going a little crazy at the drugstore with lipstick, lip tints, lip gloss.... I've never been much into makeup, but lip color is easy, doesn't cost a lot, helps keep your lips from chapping, and really helped me feel more feminine.

    (But I still don't look like Liz -- the drugstore didn't have anything THAT potent....>:-(

    Traci
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Aren't we just the most
    Aren't we just the most amazing group of women anywhere????? To be able to vent, cry, (scream?) celebrate, feel foolish, brave, or uncertain, each of us is always in good company!

    And because we absolutely "get it", these boards are such a safe place to land...

    There is not much I can add to what your sisters here on the boards have said to you. Just know that for most of us, perfect heads or not, losing our hair has been the final blow in our diagnosis. It is a symbol of our femininity, and not having hair is such an outward sign to the universe that we are fighting cancer! On those days that we want to hide and blend into society even at the supermarket, we seem to stand out and glow with a beacon spelling CHEMO-CHEMO!!!

    It usually doesn't help to know that it's "just hair" and that it will grow back...sheesh! What idiotic statment that is! LOL


    Gain strengh and empathy from your sisters here~ most of us have been through it and are none the worse for wear! And even though my eyebrows didn't come in as nice as pre-chemo, I did get a moustache instead! So, I pencil in some brows, and wax my upper lip! sigh.... It's always something, isn't it???? LOL

    Hugs,
    Chen♥
  • lizziejane
    lizziejane Member Posts: 69
    is bald beautiful?
    i'm having second chemo tomorrow and like you, i came through the first really well, am hoping the tomorrow's treatment goes the same. my hair had also started coming out the last few days, i had agreed with my husband to let him shave it when it started, but, now, seem to want to keep it as long as i can....i have bought a wig, but it seems like no one really wants to wear one, i also have baseball caps and scarves, now---just have to get brave for the shearing...
    lizziejane
  • Wolfi
    Wolfi Member Posts: 425
    Getting through....
    Marlene,

    I don't think I can add much more to what has been already said here. My comment was going to be to take it one day at a time (but someone else beat me to it).

    I didn't need to have chemo but I did go through preparing for it (mentally) before my surgery since my surgeon told me chemo was going to be the next step (I ended up with radiation instead). I tried to have fun with it and got prepared by reading as much as I could about chemo and the different head coverings that are available. I really liked the things in the TLC catalog - very cute and not very expensive.

    If you haven't gone yet, please try to go to a ACS Look Good, Feel Better class. I went to this and it was great to be there with a bunch of other woman going through cancer and dealing with skin and/or hair changes. I took my daughter with me and I think it helped her to see other women having some fun even though they had cancer.

    Good luck and keep posting here. This is a wonderful site for support.
  • KeriLee
    KeriLee Member Posts: 25
    Hang in there!!
    Marlene,
    I remember when I started, my hair was very long so my middle sister came over and cut it about shoulder length (like my wig was), then as things progressed by oldest sister came over with a bottle of wine and she, my daughter, my husband and I sat out in the back yard and shaved my head. That gave me a little since of power because it was my choice and I didn't have to see it a little at a time. Kind of empowering. I remember the first day I went into work with my wig I was so nervous, but people who didn't know (and not everyone did) had no idea and I got so many compliments on my new hair style. Hang in there and try to grab onto the things you can have some control over be they few and far between, it's a long battle but you will make it through. The American Cancer Society also has a program where they will reimburse up to $75.00 towards your wig, maybe you just need to find another one. I know in Sacramento there is a great wig store, just shop around you'll find something your happy with, I would highly recommend going to a store where you can try them on and not try to order one from a catalog. Best of luck and keep us posted.
    P.S. your family is beautiful.
    Keri
  • BELIEVEx3
    BELIEVEx3 Member Posts: 24
    The WIG!
    I remember the moment when it started I was in the hospital with febrile neutropenia, the housekeeper was horrified by all the hair everywhere. I think losing my hair was the most difficult part of this journey.....I do not have any words of wisdom just know you are not alone and that I think we all have some silly or crazy or maddening story about the WIG or lack thereof.......I hated it, it was so cancerish. But yet I thought I had to have one and that I would not be able to bare myself bald...........Behold, my oncologist told me to find something beautiful and focus on that, I thought he was crazy and then.......I looked in the mirror and fell in love with my smile and focused on that and not my glistening bald head. I always wore earrings, lipstick and nail polish, keeping my femininity alive...........I wore the wig to comfort other people but always felt like cancer in it!!!Just know your hair will come back. The growth starts about 4-6 weeks after your last chemo treatment..........................
  • Marlene_K
    Marlene_K Member Posts: 508
    WOW!
    It just never ceases to amaze me all the wonderful replies that are posted. Whenever I feel like I need just simply someone to 'understand' what I'm going through, here you all are! THANK YOU ~ THANK YOU ~ THANK YOU!!

    Well, I couldn't bare another day with strands of hair falling out. This morning I showered and pulled a big blob of hair out. Oh, I cried... I bawled like a baby! But a good friend of mine came over and we went to a local wig salon. The woman there was very understanding and said she would try every wig on in her salon if she had to until I found one that I felt good in. I finally found it and I'm very happy with it. The kids liked it too. I'm posting a pic on my expressions. I also had them buzz my hair. I didn't quite buzz it ALL off, and left just a bit of peach fuzz on top. I know it's all gonna go, but thought it would be a little less devastating if I left a tiny bit and the tiny pieces won't feel nearly as horrible falling out as the giant clumps did. And if I am so inclined, I may decide to buzz it all off. So I feel soooo much better and coming here to see all these posts from all your WONDERFUL ladies has just topped my day off! On a good note, I haven't felt my legs feel so smooth in as long as I can remember, and I don't have to worry about those ungodly hairs that grow above my lip or on my chin! Woo Hoo... there IS a good side to this!

    And Mimi I did mouth off to the company, but they feel like they already offer a huge discount on their site for chemo patients and that if they didn't charge a restocking fee, they would take a major loss???? HUH? Oh well...a lesson learned! I'm still returning it and getting something a little cheaper and more trendy. Hopefully I'll like it, if not, either way I'm out the $$.

    With love & gradtitude, Mar
  • TraciInLA
    TraciInLA Member Posts: 1,994 Member
    Marlene_K said:

    WOW!
    It just never ceases to amaze me all the wonderful replies that are posted. Whenever I feel like I need just simply someone to 'understand' what I'm going through, here you all are! THANK YOU ~ THANK YOU ~ THANK YOU!!

    Well, I couldn't bare another day with strands of hair falling out. This morning I showered and pulled a big blob of hair out. Oh, I cried... I bawled like a baby! But a good friend of mine came over and we went to a local wig salon. The woman there was very understanding and said she would try every wig on in her salon if she had to until I found one that I felt good in. I finally found it and I'm very happy with it. The kids liked it too. I'm posting a pic on my expressions. I also had them buzz my hair. I didn't quite buzz it ALL off, and left just a bit of peach fuzz on top. I know it's all gonna go, but thought it would be a little less devastating if I left a tiny bit and the tiny pieces won't feel nearly as horrible falling out as the giant clumps did. And if I am so inclined, I may decide to buzz it all off. So I feel soooo much better and coming here to see all these posts from all your WONDERFUL ladies has just topped my day off! On a good note, I haven't felt my legs feel so smooth in as long as I can remember, and I don't have to worry about those ungodly hairs that grow above my lip or on my chin! Woo Hoo... there IS a good side to this!

    And Mimi I did mouth off to the company, but they feel like they already offer a huge discount on their site for chemo patients and that if they didn't charge a restocking fee, they would take a major loss???? HUH? Oh well...a lesson learned! I'm still returning it and getting something a little cheaper and more trendy. Hopefully I'll like it, if not, either way I'm out the $$.

    With love & gradtitude, Mar

    Marlene, you nailed it!
    Marlene, if I didn't know any details about the new photo on your expressions page, I seriously would have thought that you just cut your hair -- it really is just PERFECT for your face and coloring.

    I personally hate to see women fuss with wigs -- I wish it just didn't matter to us or anyone else whether or not we have hair, but of course, it does! But girl, if you're gonna look THAT good in a wig....I say WORK IT!

    Traci
  • Marlene_K
    Marlene_K Member Posts: 508
    TraciInLA said:

    Marlene, you nailed it!
    Marlene, if I didn't know any details about the new photo on your expressions page, I seriously would have thought that you just cut your hair -- it really is just PERFECT for your face and coloring.

    I personally hate to see women fuss with wigs -- I wish it just didn't matter to us or anyone else whether or not we have hair, but of course, it does! But girl, if you're gonna look THAT good in a wig....I say WORK IT!

    Traci

    Traci
    You are just SOOO sweet! Thanks so much for the compliment! We all need them these days :) You really make it a point to address so many issues on here and are a God send!

    Mar
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    Marlene_K said:

    Traci
    You are just SOOO sweet! Thanks so much for the compliment! We all need them these days :) You really make it a point to address so many issues on here and are a God send!

    Mar

    i went to a place that does
    i went to a place that does your wig colors it etc,, and thn buzzes it for you in aprivate area. I just decided I wanted a stranger to do it (she was awesome) because I didnt want the association with it later and I am very self concious person. it took me a while to look at my self. I am slowly getting to letting my husband see me. I wear the cotton sleep hats and scarves mostly. I unfortunately had a rough go on the AC so have been slow about dealing with the bald issue. I do know that I wanted to buzz it before the hair started coming out and I did . I had BC 15 years ago and did not lose my hair but it thinned and Ihad a baby and it just came out in her fingers (you know how they like to grab hair) so iknew ihated that. I 'm glad I didnt wait. But my husband kept saying you should do it this day or that day and i definately did it WHEN I WAS READY he was going by when you predictably lose it on day so and so. Anyways I still have a little stubble. still have my eyebrows and lashes although i hear that may happen still. and a little in other places. My husband is so good to me even though after a double mastectomy, bald, sick I do feel markedly less feminine My family never makes me feel that way. so it helps.
    Songs help me too. as far as feelings go, remember the late Dan Fogelbergs song Part of the Plan? "I have these moments a all steady and strong feeling so holy and humble the next thing I know i'm all worried and weak I feel myself starting to crumble..." love whenyou can cry when you have to be who you must thats a part of the plan await your arrival with simple survival and one day we will all understand.....I also love Stand bt rascall flatts and somedays its Welcome to the jungle by Guns and roses, on angry days i like the song I hate everyone its a song on Greys Anatomy soundtrack and it just makes me laugh!!!