Hair question

don09 Member Posts: 108

I have been off chemo since the 11th of November, while on it I had no side effects what so ever, however after being disconnected I developed such bad mouth sores that my diet consisted of liquids.  They finally went away 2 days before Thanksgiving which made me really happy and I was able to not miss out on all the great food.  Now................My hair is shedding like crazy!  I did read that the 5fu does cause thinning but I am curious if any of you lost all your hair?  Also my white blood count is not quite back to the normal range yet, its a point below where it should be, and I am wondering if this has happened to any of you also.  Thank you all, this truly is a great forum, you are all great!


  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member

    My hair thinned quite a lot all over my head and there were actually a few patches that were almost bald.  However, I did not lose all of my hair.

    Your blood counts usually hit a low at about the middle of a chemo cycle (mid-point between cycle 1 and cycle 2).  This low point is called Nadir.  I experienced extremely low blood counts mid-cycle both times and during the first cycle received Neupogen injections to raise my counts.   I have pasted in the definition of Nadir from the website for Cancer Treatment Center of America for your reference.



    "In cancer treatment, nadir commonly refers to the lowest point that an individual's blood cell count will reach as a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The nadir for each blood cell type occurs at different times. The nadir for white blood cells and platelets normally occurs around day seven to 14 following the last day of treatment. Red blood cells, which live longer, will typically not reach a nadir for several weeks. Because the immune system is weak during this time period, patients are advised to avoid situations which could lead to an increased risk of infection. The nadir usually resolves and counts approach normal levels within about four weeks."

    You might ask your doctor if Neupogen or Neulasta injections are indicated because of your low counts.


  • eihtak
    eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member
    edited November 2016 #3

    I'm glad to hear you were able to enjoy your Thanksgiving! I'm just "ditto-ing" what Martha said, and I too received neupogen injections for low blood counts. At one point my red blood count dropped severly low and received iron infusions as well. My hair is normally very thick but thinned quite a bit....I did get it cut quite short as it had been chin length and the short style just looked better and was easy to deal with.

    Keeping you in my thoughts.....


  • Paris75
    Paris75 Member Posts: 6
    edited December 2016 #4
    Hair question

    Hi there,

    My treatment was finished in late April of this year. My hair started falling out and continued to do so, never completely, but like you it was so thin that my pink scalp was on view. I also had my hair cut short, which helped. I was constantly going around with a sticky roller to pick up the hair, especially on my bed and around there. Suddenly, end of August, hair started growing in!! The new hair is unlike my normal hair, it is fine and frizzy-although growing in thick--and pure white! True, I am 68 years old, but my hair was never that white before. Oddly, my pubic hair grew back in completely dark, whereas it was gray before.

  • Mollymaude
    Mollymaude Member Posts: 431 Member
    edited December 2016 #5

    I used chemo cold caps to freeze my scalp during the mitomycin C infusion ( about a half hour infusion). You can google it. At first my oncologist said no but I pushed the issue and did my research. I think it really helped. I did not lose all my hair, but I did shed a distressing amount. I didn't stop excessive shedding until months after chemo was over. But you can really shed a lot of hair and not look bad. I started taking biotin 5,000 units too. For some reason I really focused on the hair, I think it gave me a sense of control to not lose my hair- when I didn't have control of much else!! Good luck

  • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch
    Ouch_Ouch_Ouch Member Posts: 508 Member
    edited December 2016 #6
    Sans hair.

    During my 1st nadir, after I thought I avoided hair loss, it came out by the handful during my 2nd hospitalization. I had only a few wisps left. I shaved at that point. It grew back in tight Shirley Temple curls over the next year. Shocked the oncologist! But after that, it returned to my normal straight-ish texture, though it was darker and remains so.

    The blood counts were something else. I was hospitalized three times during treatment for low white counts and neutropenic fevers. I was on multiple iV antibiotics to prevent infection. I had about 3 Neupogen shots the first time. The fever returned in a few days, though, so I was sent back to the hospital for a few days of IV antibiotics.

    The 2nd nadir was much worse. I was hospitalized for 10 days and got Neupogen each day. I also received 2 units of platelets and 2 units of packed RBC. My WBC count was too low to be detected by the lab. I had fevers and again, antibiotics. I was in a private room and told not to leave it during visiting hours when all those people were around. There were days when I wasn't allowed to have my husband visit.

    Exactly 4 months after receiving the last dose of Mitomycin, my platelets again plummeted. I was put on high doses of Prednisone for a few months. It now stays at about 100,000, but never did returned to normal range.

    Most people do not have such bad reactions, though, thank goodness! Occasionally, someone may have worse reactions, like anaphylaxis from the chemo, but that's rare. The big majority of people seem to go through the 6 weeks of treatment without needing to stop or be hospitalized, the lucky ducks!

    I hope that your course went smoothly.

  • Mollymaude
    Mollymaude Member Posts: 431 Member
    edited December 2016 #7

    Wow! I thought my treatment was a nightmare, but it was nothing compared to yours! I did get sepsis at the end of treatment but did not require transfusions, multiple hospitalizations, or permanent changes to my blood count. You sound like a very strong person. I think most of us came through treatment learning we were tougher than we thought. I hope your health continues to improve.