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Hair Loss

kelli1843's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

Lost some big chunks of hair last night for the first time.

Knew this was coming, but it doesn't make it any easier as many of you will know. Boyfriend washed my hair for me as I still can't get chemo port wet. Woke up couple hours ago and found clumps on my pillow.

I ordered a wig that I get to try tomorrow, I just didn't think it would start this early.

Posts: 45
Joined: Jan 2010

How many rounds of chemo did you have before hair loss?. What type of chemo are you on?. I am going for my 2nd treatment of chemo today and was wondering if this is the day i lose my hair

kelli1843's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

I did my first round of chemo Feb 1, 2 and 3. With 2 weeks off and resume this coming Monday, 2/22. Radiation has been every weekday since then.

The chemo drugs I'm on are: carboplatinum and etoposide

I was hoping maybe I'd be lucky and not lose so much this time but so much for that hope. This isnt't just strands but clumps.

kelli1843's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

And, the 2 dogs in my profile picture? Brit,the long-haired Brindle Aussie? Is blowing her undercoat and shedding horribly. Sandy, the yellow lab, always sheds.

Between the 3 of us, we're the House of Hair.

PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

Please keep your sense of humor, it always helps.

My kid sister is in treatment for brain cancer and I'll never forget the day she woke up with a major hair loss. She came out and announced she "went bald last night." I hugged her and told her how beautiful she looks, with or w/o hair. Then I told her the bald head makes her look a lot more like Dad. :-) We all had a good laugh about that. Since then kid sis has acquired all sorts of scarves and hats and she looks very chic.

Bald is beautiful!! I mean that.

Yes your dogs are showing on the web site, they are adorable.

joyzee's picture
Posts: 33
Joined: Oct 2009

I couldn't stand loosing hair little by little so I cut hair off after purchasing a wig that was same color and style as my hair. Only immediate family and my radiation nurse know it is a wig. I get up in morning, shower,dress and put on my wig. When I walk pass the mirror I don't have a problem with what I see. My spirit and attitude are high, and I think my morning regimine helps me.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

I dont mean to invade this post, but I realize after reading it that we men have it made when it comes to chemo and hair loss. No one thinks much at all if we show up one day bald.
I was warned that it might (strong possibility) that I would lose my hair during chemo, so I cut it in a mohawk painted it the Marine Corps colors met the kids and grandkids at Sea World and told them I was getting ready to go to war with this disease. It lasted through 2 treatments and then was all gone, but the mohawk also helped everyone use their humor to deal with what we were going to be going through.
I realize how much a womans hair means to them, and can only say that if the wig fits wear it, but dont be let the head shine, it is the sign of a survivor, someone who wont give up or give in. My Grandmother told me that, after she lost her hair with her fight with cancer, she just let it shine (as she said) and if someone stared she would ask them " havent they seen a female warrir before. she was 83yrs old with lung cacner and God bless her she fought for 10 yrs.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes to you all,
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

No matter what you wear, wear it with pride as you are survivors.

Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2010

Kelli, I KNOW it depends on which Chemo you get, as there are LOTS of different Chemo's. Mine started 2 yrs ago, got Radiation and Chemo at same time. 32 Radiation Days-5 Days a Week, andchemo 1Day a Week for 2 Weeks, then skip a Week, and so on for 3 Months. Off Chemo for 3 Months, then back on SAME routine for another 3 Months. I never lost any hair and for the last Yr., my non small cell Lung Cancer has been in remission. My problem now is Liquid build up around the Heart and Left Lung. Maybe check with YOUR Chemo Doc and ask about different Chemo's. Ron

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

(The following is from an ancient blog entry of mine on this very site):

The above is a line from a song in a Broadway musical of the late 60s or early 70s called Hair. If you are old enough to remember it, you might be old enough to think it was part of the beginning of the end, as Tallyrand put it, the end of the world, the beginning of total corruption and chaos. If you are just a bit younger than my dad (:)), you might recognize it as the same song with somewhat different emotions.

You might, in that latter case, think of it as a song of defiance and non-conformity and living on the edge and all of that crap that young people always believe about that which separates them from their parents, only very little of which is ever true. (I know I did!)

What IS true is that those of us of that latter group really did make a statement with our hair. It is true that those who went before us (including my dad) had ducktails and listened to Elvis and Hank Williams Sr. and were feared as young rebels a la James Dean even before there was a James Dean (I get my history from my dad :)), but I really doubt that ever before us has there been a time when hair was such a, well, 'Freak Flag", as Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young described it so eloquently.

I am not a fashion mogul, so I do not know what the hairdos were called back in the day, but I know that women, young women, stopped wearing their hair in beehives and pageboys and whatever and started just, well, wearing it (pre-Farrah :)). As for us guys, some of us grew our freak flags.

We let it grow.

I had hair at one time that reached past my nipples. A foot long or more. The cops would beat you up for that alone. And did! Hair was important, but we tried to act like it wasn't. I am not trying to brag here. You all do more with your hair today, and your lips and tongues and noses and navels and genitals, than almost all of us would ever have DREAMED of doing, and had we dreamed of it and spoken aloud of it to our friends, we would have lost them as well as our freedom. I grant you that and salute you for it. :)

But we did have hair and I like to think we started the trend that allows you to look like morons today if that is what you want to do. Pre-mullet, I'm talking :).

And I have always had hair. When I was a kid, I had curly hair. My mom loved it for some reason and was really bummed out when my dad was away at sea and she cut it herself and sent me to school and they sent me home for a second try, this time by a professional :). Talk about being embarrassed. Scarred me forever. That's probably how I eventually got cancer, now that I think about it :).

Chunks. Splotches. She didn't know what she was doing, although she meant well. So at least I'm used to it.

Now, I am losing my hair.

I mean, yeah, I was sort of losing it slowly even before this chemo treatment, due to, um, well, um, old age! But it was a slow thing, something I could do gracefully, you know, like Harrison Ford :).

Now, it is coming out. This time I am doing the carbo and taxol and I am told the taxol will take it right out. If I have not said this before, OncoMan told me there was a 50% chance that I would lose my hair and I said, you mean now the other 50% is gone too?

So I was ready for it, right up until it happened. Started to happen.

I spent some time in the CSN chatroom when there was one, and there, and other places, I would try to placate women who were concerned about losing their hair by telling them that bald-headed women can be quite sexy. Not that they paid any attention to me, but it's true. I won't even go past Sigourney Weaver. I rest my case.

And I always suspected that some of it was vanity. At LEAST some of it.

The thing is, I have some background here. My mom, second go-round for her, with the ovarian, lost her hair and so my dad shaved his head in support. Let me tell you what is obvious: you have to love my dad for doing that. Let me tell you what is less obvious: my mom looked rather fine with a bald head, while my dad looked like a goofball. I never mentioned that to them, of course.

But it was true. My mom looked fine. She looked like an alien come to save us from ourselves the first time I saw her that way, I'll admit, but it was really easy to adjust to her with that look, and she actually remained an attractive woman without the hair.

My dad, on the other hand, looked like a goofball, and I love him for the gesture, but he looked like a goofball and looked like a goofball for as long as he was a bald guy. Some heads are not meant for baldness. His was one.

Again, I love him for it, and I am not trying to critique here. I am saying that I am losing my hair.

I wondered about it, frankly. When other people talked about it, I imagined that they just pulled huge clumps of hair out of their heads, and maybe they do, I don't know. I imagined there came a time when, like the teacher of my youth after my mom's failed haircut, someone said, hey, time to trim that down to stub, my friend!

And the truth is that I had chemo and rads back in late 2005 (cisplatin) and nothing happened to my hair. Why DO I feel immune?

This time, I was told that carbo and taxol gave me a 50% chance of losing my hair. I joked, I said, you mean the other 50%? OncoMan smiled, hesitated, and when he got it, said, Yeah.

Okay. Joke is over. The 50% is here.

I am losing my hair.

It started when I began this danged chemo of course, but the realization happened when a couple of nights ago I ran my fingers through my hair (if my wife loved me enough to do that, I would never have known, but more on that later) and out came strands of hair. Not clumps or clods. Just strands.

Maybe 30 or 40 black and sometimes grey ones. And each time I did this, more came out.

It got to the point that I was fascinated by it while my wife and son were screaming at me to QUIT DOING THAT!!!

Of course, I kept doing it.

I am not yet bald, by the way. It appears, in fact, that I have lots of hair, if you are me and just looking at me in the bathroom mirror (I don't recommend it, I'm just saying). Even after a shower and a brisk combing with a very unforgiving brush, it seems that I still have quite a bit of hair up there. I am not bald.

My daughter, who lives in another place and is pregnant with my first grandchild, asked if I was losing hair everywhere and I said, and I quote, "I don't know. I haven't scratched my b*lls lately." Fortunately, she has her dad's sense of humor. She laughed. I love to hear my daughter laugh :).

And I don't know. I'm afraid to check. Thing is, I still have quite a bit of hair on my head, so let's deal with that, you know? For the time being.

Back to my wife: now, she doesn't run her fingers through my hair; she pats me on the head instead, like I'm being a good dog. :) She is afraid if she touches my head, hair will fall out, even though she doesn't say that. I think she is more worried about me going bald than I am. She was the one who suggested it was fine for me to grow a pony tail (see the above re my early days and long hair) because she knew that it was falling out anyway. Now that it is happening, I think she is wishing for the pony tail instead.

I will be bald soon. I am wondering how you do that, and beginning to understand for once how it is not just vanity for women.

Here is the deal, at least for me: I have had cancer pop up twice in two different places and had some serious work done, and even so, it was never so real that I could not laugh about it and even ignore it to some extent. But losing all of your hair tells the rest of the world and even YOU that you have had cancer. Does that make sense? It is not about vanity. It is about reality slapping you in the face.

Really weird, I know. I don't speak well because of the tongue thing. I mean, we are talking about someone who spoke VERY well, and who could sing with the best of them, and now I can do neither 'with the best of them'. I have issues with eating. Now, I have problems with breathing on occasion and one of the few musically-related things I thought I could still do well before this last episode, playing the harmonica, is now also a nebulous proposition, at least for now.

STILL, only losing my hair makes me really, truly realize, hey, I have friggin' cancer! In a grand sense. Weird, I know.

I think it is the human condition to some degree. Maybe it IS still vanity in some form. Just not in the way I used the word (because it's me? :))

I'm crying, and I haven't even really lost my hair yet!!!

And I'm a dude, dudes!

Here's the thing: it is hard to imagine a bald-headed woman being ugly, with one exception, and I think we know who THAT is, but that is a personality issue for Britney, don't you think? Women seem to retain their beauty without hair. I should advise that I have hardly ever met an ugly woman, while I have met many ugly men. But you catch my drift, right? A lack of hair does not seem to adversely affect women. In fact, it sometimes, maybe often, seems to add some appeal.

A bald woman, well, she seems to have some sort of independence and spark and defiance. You know?

Okay, I'm not suggesting that I have a bald woman fetish. I'm just saying.

Men, on the other hand, they have to be of a certain type. It worked for Yul. It worked for Telly. It worked for Michael.

But I have never met a woman who was bald that I thought looked like a pinhead, and I have seen a lot of men who looked like pinheads with no hair.

No hair on purpose, I mean.

I am going to be a pinhead.

I don't have the heft and the big head. I am going to be a pinhead.

That is fine, of course, but no more imagining that women dig me.

I will have to face the facts: I am a pinhead. It is coming soon to a theater near you. And near me. Too near to me: I am a pinhead.

A lot of my friends can get away with being bald, and choose not to (:)). I can't get away with it. People will notice :).

And they will know it wasn't on purpose when their first thoughts are "He looks like a pinhead! Why did he do THAT?"

I'll be fine. But I'm not scratching down below. I don't EVEN want to know. :)

Posts: 8
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Kelli,
I had my first round of carboplatin and etoposide on January 20,21,22 and my hair started to fall out in big clumps on Feb. 5th. I was shocked at how fast it deserted me. I managed to cover the bald spots enough to make it through work that day and the following evening My daughter and a few close friends came over and shaved my head for me. I refuse to let this thing be in control! We spent the evening looking on line and learning how to tye scarves. Everyone brought one or two scarfs and I got to experiment. I now have a wig that I purchased but I find the scarfs more comfortable and save the wig for special occassions. My biggest complaint is that I have to wear a hat to bed because my head gets too cold.
PS The kids at school think I look "cool"

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

You go girl, you are my hero

Prayers to everyone
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

kelli1843's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

I ordered a 2nd wig for work. I got a few hats at the cancer society that ppl make and donate. I came out of bedroom with one on and my aussie dog growled at me, LOL.

Guess she didn't like the hat!

We got whomped with snow since last Thursday and first I've ever felt my neck, ears and head get cold.

I'm looking into scarves now. Take care everyone.

Posts: 45
Joined: Jan 2010

I am losing my hair but my head is also sore, especially if I wear a wig or hat. Is this normal?. My hair was cut short but I am still devestated to know that i will soon be completely bald. When will it re-grow? Any info or comfort on hair loss will be appreciated.

kelli1843's picture
Posts: 72
Joined: Jan 2010

My scalp hurt when the hair began falling out. I just pictured all my folicles being swept against their grain or something, know what I mean? That feeling went away once 99.9% of my hair was gone. I do have dry scalp skin that I just noticed.

I'm confident my hair will regrow, but no idea when as my chemo won't end til mid-May.

It's weird to get in shower and slap the shampoo on my head and realize there isn't anything there to lather up.

Best of luck to you.

Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2010

I started on Taxol and Carboplatin January 11, and my hair stayed put until about mid-February. I was given a few hats from another cancer survivor, but ordered a wig from ACS. I have worn it once, and people say it looks great. Funny thing.....I tossed it on the table when I got home, and the next thing I know the dog has it in her mouth and shaking it...as the cat looked on. I guess they thought it was another animal. You gotta laugh.

I feel the hair is a small price to pay if I get well!!

Miracle Mama
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

Thank you all for posting...you've all gone thru or are going thru what I have..just differing degrees...and I have to chuckle..because we're a club..something we didnt choose to join, but find ourselves here, with others who are in our boats...hopefully just one thing anyone says can make a difference in our day, life, world...
As for hair loss..that was my biggest hang up...I was always known for my curls...people would come over to me and want to touch them...( I hated them and my curly hair)..but thats what I have unless I blew itstraight.
I started Cisplatin,Etoposide and radiation on Oct 26....walking my 2 goldens a few weeks later..maybe a month...but after the second round....I scratched my head...felt some discomfort...and came away with a several strands of hair...yikes...its starting...
CAlled my daughter..and we went to the wig store...got one, very reluctently, but wanted to be ready...
Within the next 2 weeks...I looked like a cue ball...not fun, not pleasant, and I had a hard time looking in the mirror....bought several night caps, knit caps..but could not bear to buy any scarves...they just smacked of ' you have cancer and lost your hair'...I just didnt need to be starred at....only my kids and very close friends (inner circle) knew.
What I did come to realize...was...this is a process... u can't go from being fine, to having cancer, losing hair and having this total life change...without reactions...and really learning about self...it took time for me to go into the wig store myself..and buy more..early on, I went into the ladies room to try them on..I didnt want anyone to see my cue ball head...but...little by little..I got more comfortable...started to see that just because I have cancer, does not mean I'm a different person...Just have different issues to deal with...
I'm more comfortable with it all now..even let my facial lady see my head...my hair is regrowing fairly rapidly....all white...with some strands of my original brown...I'm waiting to get it organically dyed tho because the white is poking thru the wig...(silly vanity stuff)
I've not had a hard time with the chemo or radiation...Everyone reacts differently...I definitley feel the mind body connection is important...and positive attitude helps alot...
Thanks for this board..feels good to get some of this down on paper...I've resisted keeping a journal...would rather not think about it...but sorry I didn't...forgot alot of the detail...but not enough not to be able to try to help others who might be in my old boat...
Bless every one of you...and thanks for being here...even against your will.

valerieyoshida's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2010

I was completely bald for 3 months after chemo, radiation and surgery. When my hair started growing it came in darker and now after a year my hair has a weird texture and what looks like a perm gone terribly wrong. I never had a perm in my life and I'm very disappointed my hair decided on its own to come back this way.But, I'm really glad to be here (or anyway for that matte) and at least my head is warmer now.

Valerie from San Jose CA

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

Went through 3 chemo treatments before hair started thinning (really fast after it started). Thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones and keep my hair since I had been through 3 treatments and nothing was happening up there, but now I leave a trail of hair wherever I go. Went out and bought a wig, little different from my mousy brown hair color, brown with highlights all through it, makes me look a lot better than my own hair. Plus, I save so much time with not having to wash, blow dry and straighten all the time (then it frizzed up anyway in humid weather), only takes 5 minutes to put it on and a quick swipe with the wig brush and I'm ready to go. Also will be trying the turbans and scarves (which are hard to find) when I learn how to put them on properly. Look on the bright side, I'd rather be bald and here then have a great head of hair and not be here. I think I might keep the wig after my hair grows back!

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2010

I lost my hair about two weeks after the chemo. Iran my fingers through my hair and was amazed at how much was between my fingers----amazed and appalled! It was so itchy that I had it shaved off the second day. I cried the first day, but after it was shaved, it just seemed much easier. I tried wigs. They were hot and uncomfortable. I found scarfs and hats were better for me. Try them all and see what works best for you. Try and have fun with it! Best Wishes!

catcon49's picture
Posts: 398
Joined: Aug 2008

First to Soccerfreaks: My husband lost his hair at 25 because from male pattern baldness. I never even really noticed. He looks the same now at 55 as he did when he was 25. So I think hair is much more important to men(looking at women) than to women ( who look at men).

Secondly, I agree 100% that women with out hair look beautiful. At least all the ones I have met. I can't figure out why but they do.

My mom at 76 lost her hair from chemo. She was still upset about it. She bought the wig, but ended up not using it bought the scarfs and hats but didn't use them either. I also think the wigs are awesome. The american cancer society in your area may help with the cost( it was 75.00 towards a wig) The also have places that will provide them free. I also understand from people I know who have lost their hair, that it grows back nicer than before.

Hope this helps alittle.

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