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Chemo start

Posts: 243
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi all,
I am 2 days away from celebrating my 46th birthday with the start of my chemo treatments. I am very confident that this is the road to take, but of all things, I find myself getting very anxious about the hair loss thing. I have looked at wigs and hats, and scarves. Then I look again. I even bought some costume wigs to see what colors I liked. I guess I've been thinking that I've handled so much of the "hard" stuff...surgeries, radiation, etc., that I thought the hair loss would not so difficult. But it's been heavy on my mind (no pun intended). I am planning to shave it off when it starts to fall out. I guess I'm more nervous about starting school (7 - 8th grade) with a smooth pate than I thought I was. I will probably wear something, but I am not sure how to approach the kids with this. I've kept my sense of humor about it, but I think I'm sort of using that as a cover up. I will have a major visual reminder that I was invaded by the breast cancer. It's not as easy to ignore as the scars on my chest. I know this is not a major problem or anything, but I just needed to share this with someone. Thanks for listening. God bless you all.
Love, Jayne

Posts: 58
Joined: Jun 2001

HI there Jayne,
First of all HAPPY BIRTHY =). And as for your feelings about your hair loss its perfectly natural to feel the way you are, it allows you to somehow prepare for whats about to happen. It all comes in stages. Ive been there so i know the feelings your having. While i didnt have breast cancer, I had brain cancer, so not only was i bald but had a huge scar. There are some really nice wigs out there i could not wear it was to tight on my scar but i know alot of people that have and looked really nice. Stock up on the eyeliner while your out shopping because the lashes and brows go to. It is hard.. im not gonna tell you it isnt but were out here for you when you want to talk and need reassurance and comfort. I wish you wellness as you are about to start your chemo my thoughts and prayers are with you. As for you students... i think they understand alot just give them a generic overview and I think they will adapt well. Let them know so they can cope with you along the way. They may handle it and be more understanding they we give them credit for.

Posts: 270
Joined: Jul 2001

Jayne It is a major problem ...it's huge... it's hard and it totally depressed me. Now that I made you feel really bad ... I got over it after many tears. Then I realized how much time and money I saved on hair styling and hair products ... and all your hair can go ... no leg hair, facial hair, so cool ... no shaving or waxing. I actually miss that now that it's all coming back. I bought one wig (a synthetic) and wore it from December through July and many people at work never new it was a wig!! Around home I wore hats. My husband who is mostly bald anyway shaved his head to the skin and was very jeolous when my hair started growing back and he still had a crome dome!! The kids will be cool ... they have big hearts! It's hard to say don't worry ... but please don't let it get you to down!!! I sorta did and that is not healthy for recovery. I to started chemo with a birthday ... my 43rd ... happy birthday ... and thousands more. Jamie

Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

Hi Jayne,


I think you'll know how to handle the hair situation once it's time and you have to. I worked in a middle school too before I retired. I love 7th and 8th graders.

The hair thing I thought would be the least of my worries, but I found it not so trivial - and annoying too - because I don't like hats, found wigs not that comfortable, etc. but it does get easier - which is good because the situation will be with you for more than a few weeks.

The chemo along with working an often strenuous and stressful job may be more daunting than the lack of hair.

When school starts I'll be thinking of you and sending good thoughts for a good year your way.

What state do you live in? I'm in NY state.

Love, Jean

Posts: 243
Joined: Jun 2001

Hi Jean,
I'm in southern California...greater LA area. I am hoping that I will be able to work. I am so looking forward to it. I appreciate your good thoughts and suggestions!
Love, Jayne

Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2001


Last Tuesday, Aug 7, I completed by second treatment of A/C. My hair started coming out exactly 14 days after the first treatment, at which time I had it "buzzed". I was prepared at the time to be very upset, but did not find it overly stressful. My husband who is wonderfully supportive just kept telling how beautiful I was while they were cutting and continues to tell me the same all the time. Hair is just a trivial thing; health and happiness are by far more important so please just keep that in mind. The after effect of the chemo is not as bad as I anticipated. For a couple of days I feel "punky" and food is not the least bit desirable. Fruit has been great for me during this time. The worst part of it all is the intestinal problems I encounter (severe constipation) but I have learned to take Senecot before treatment. Be happy and rejoice in every day.

Lydia from Georgia

Posts: 243
Joined: Jun 2001

God works in such amazing and wonderful ways! Here it is, a mere 7 hours or so after I posted the first note and so much has happened. My daughter (who is leaving for college on Saturday) took me shopping with her for some school things. On the way, she took me to a wig place and we tried on some and laughed and had a great time. She loved one and I loved another, so we ended up buying two of them! I feel so much better. I guess the Lord knew exactly what I would need...and what my daughter would need. She's felt torn about leaving, but now she said she felt good that she could do something for me! I feel like a huge burden has been lifted! Thank you all for your encouraging notes. Praise God for His goodness! What would I do without you?
Love, Jayne

Posts: 81
Joined: Jun 2001

I am glad to hear that you are doing better. I just finished my A/C treatments at the end of July and my hair started growing back in the middle of July. There isn't much there, but hey, it's something. A friend of mine told me this when I was feeling down about my hair falling out. He said to me God gave very few of us perfect heads, the rest of them he put hair on :) Hang in there, it will grow back soon. Just find the humor in it. My friends complain about their bad hair days and I tell them just be thankful you have them :) They all get a good laugh out of it. My son shaved his head for me. He told me he didn't want me to feel left out for not having any hair. He's only 4 and loved every minute of it and is upset with me cause I am making him grow it back for school. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. Love, Carrie

Posts: 33
Joined: Oct 2000

Emotional trauma is just as tough as physical! You are doing the right thing to take off your hair once it starts falling. I waited until too late and it was more traumatic. Better to let all know you will be without hair then to hide in my opinion. The kids will be supportive. Just educate them. Good luck.

Posts: 11
Joined: Jul 2001

Happy Birthday, Jayne!

The ACS has a program called "Look Good, Feel Better" which might be able to offer a lot of great beauty tips and ideas to help you get through this aspect of your treatment.

I have heard from so many people that losing your hair is almost worse than dealing with the treatments themselves. But I'd like to offer you a couple of stories that might give you a little different perspective.

I remember when my aunt's hair started to fall out after about her second treatment. She decided immediately to just get it all cut off at once. "Let's just get it over with", she said. When she went to the beauty shop, she thought she would be a lot more upset than she was. As it turned out, the hairdresser went home and cried instead. My aunt, on the other hand, plopped on her pretty new scarf and went to the grocery store on her way home!

You said you are concerned about how your students will react when they see you. One of the teachers at my son's junior high school continued to teach while she was undergoing treatments. The kids didn't "shun" her or treat her as an object of curiosity. If anything, they loved her even more because she maintained (in front of them at least) such a positive attitude. The other day I was looking at a picture of her during that time and was awestruck by her radiant smile. I'm sure that's what the kids saw, too. Not the wig or the scarf - just that radiant smile.

Not having had this experience personally, I don't mean to trivialize what you're feeling in any way. Its just that I've seen the difference a positive attitude makes and how it affects not only the patient, but those around them.

God bless you, Jayne, and good luck. My thoughts and prayers will be with you.

jbeardslee's picture
Posts: 76
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Jayne,

Best wishes for your birthday tomorrow and good luck with the treatment. I haven't been through chemo so I don't have as much to offer as some of the others, except my prayers and concerns for you and your family. It's always tough to see the children head back off to college and I'd be less than truthful if I said the phone and emails were enough. Nothing replaces the hug and having loved ones close to us. You are a strong person, you've gotten this far and you will get through this. Tell your daughter hello from us and we are thinking of you all. God Bless you and your family. We are here for you, keep posting the messages so we know how you are doing.

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Posts: 20
Joined: Jul 2001

Thanks for sharing! I am finally getting my hair back after chemo and believe me losing the hair was harder than losing my breast, however, I made it and feel good about where I am now. I chose not to wear a wig. I did wear hats to work because I work in a school too. The kids never really noticed that much, but when parents came they sure looked at me. Now I look like I have a crew cut and wear nothing. The kids could careless. All will be fine.

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