Tag Archive | hair loss

The Unveiling

So 2012 is drawing to a close which brings us to a new year.  It’s probably a good thing that no one ever knows for sure all that will happen in the coming year or we might not want to face it!  Just because the date changes we somehow feel we are entitled to a fresh or new start but isn’t that true of each new day?  I ‘m not real good with resolutions and have a feeling many others aren’t either.  Rather than making a New Year’s resolution I thought that I would just make a new start in some areas.

Sue 12-12

Bringing in the new year with a new look

I told myself that at the start of the new year I would uncover my head.  Since I lost my hair in May exactly two weeks after my first chemo treatment I have had it covered with a wig or a scarf.  I actually liked how I looked in a wig but didn’t really enjoy wearing it.  It was itchy, sweaty at times, hot, and felt unnatural.  Nothing felt better than taking it off after wearing it all day although I felt good in it.  Cotton scarfs were more comfortable and I had fun with them but at the same time was getting tired of wearing one.  I wanted my hair to come in long enough that I could do something (anything) with it.  Now it has reached a point where I can gel up the top so it isn’t plastered against my head.

Knowing I would finally “go naked” and expose my covered skull I figured Christmas break would be a good time to get use to it before going back to work.  After the “unveiling” the first day I easily got over my lack of self-confidence and now actually enjoy having the freedom of nothing on my head.  It probably isn’t the greatest time of year to be doing this…in fact it’s the worst as even a person with a full head of hair needs a hat!  Then again, it wasn’t like I planned all this to happen either.  I joked with someone and told them that I had told the hairstylist to “Just take a LITTLE off and THIS is what happened!”

I’ve had some comments that it looks like Halle Berry’s hair style.  It may be a similar hair style but it’s obvious that the similarity between us stops there!  Oh how it would be nice to be compared to her body and beauty instead of her hair. Speaking of similarities, once one of my daughter’s friends whom I had never met before was introduced to me while I had my wig on.  He said he could see the similarity between mother and daughter, especially in regards to our hair.  I said, “Really?” and proceeded to pull my wig off.  He almost fell over with shock as my daughter and I laughed.

After having had a “covering” on my head for the last 7 months or so I feel exposed and almost vulnerable, especially with the cold weather.  It reminds me of how God is our covering, like an umbrella over us, protecting us and keeping us safe and warm.  Psalm 91:4 reads, “He will cover you with his wings. Under the feathers of his wings you will find safety.  He is faithful. He will keep you safe like a shield or a tower.” (NIRV)   “His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.” (Message)  In Luke 12:34 we see the picture of Jesus like a mother hen longing to gather us under his arms and cover us, take care of us, love us, and protect us; “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (NIV)  Now that is one kind of covering that I don’t ever want to get out from under!

Like I said, resolutions are not my thing.  I am happy I went through with my unveiling.  Some of my other “new starts” also began before the new year like enjoying life daily realizing that none of us knows how much time we have.  Laugh much…I started putting a joke a day as my FB status, even if I’m the only one to laugh at them!  Don’t sweat the small stuff and hand the big stuff over to God.  How about you?  What new starts will you add in your life?

Say goodbye to bad hair days

I ended my first blog posing the questions of “What is it like to have your hair fall out?” and “Do you have to shave your legs?” I decided to dedicate this blog to answering those questions. And by the way, I really do mean feel free to ask any questions you may be wondering.

Matthew 10:30 says, “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Imagine that. God has the hairs on your head counted and numbered! Well in my case I gave God a break lately and made the job easier for Him. I think I could even count the hairs on my head but would have a little trouble seeing the ones in the back since my eyes are in the front.

When I first found out that I would have to undergo chemo I immediately thought of hair loss. Not all chemo drugs have the same side effects but the next sentence out of the doctor’s mouth confirmed what I feared. Yes, one of the drugs I would need would most likely cause my hair to fall out within 2-3 weeks after my first treatment. It wasn’t so much a vanity issue or that I loved my hair so much as that I didn’t want to “look” like a “chemo patient.” To me it would be like wearing a name tag that said, “Yes, I have a cancer” and I wasn’t ready for that.

A few other cancer survivors I spoke with said that it was no big deal when their hair fell out. I thought to myself, “no big deal” for you maybe but for me it is. I went out and purchased a wig to have on hand for the day it happened. As two weeks neared, each time I showered there would be a little hair in the drain or on my pillow. My hair was beginning to thin out. Exactly on my two week due date, clumps came out in the shower. There was no way I could go to work (in a school) and risk having it continue to fall out in clumps (possibly) throughout the day. I got out of the shower and 1-2-3 chopped off my hair, threw on the wig and ran out the door. I didn’t give it much thought and surprisingly it really didn’t bother me. It was just something that had to be done.

The funny thing is both the faculty and the students thought I had my hair cut and colored. Everyone loved “my” hair. I had decided to buy a blonde wig and get something different and fun and I am so glad I did. I realized that the” thought of losing” my hair was much worse than “actually losing” it. It really wasn’t a big deal after all like other survivors had said. How many things in life do we dread or put off or worry about and live possibly in fear of when in reality if we just did it or said “yes” to it and got it over with, we could move on? Don’t get stuck or hung up on something because of fear. It probably isn’t half as bad as you think it is.

I didn’t realize that not only the hair on your head falls out, but hair anywhere on your body. This means REALLY QUICK showers!!!! Imagine taking a shower that involves NO SHAVING of the hair on your legs or underarms and using NO shampoo or conditioner. Add to that getting out of the shower and NOT HAVING TO COMB, BRUSH, STYLE, BLOW-DRY, SPRAY or use additional products on your hair! It’s a big decision of wig or which scarf to wear. By the way, even the wigs now have a memory in them so you don’t have to style them. No spending time coloring your hair or worrying about the roots showing either.

OK, now that YOU are jealous that I have no hair and you have to spend time on yours I guess I will share the negatives. Let’s see…there are none. Well, I guess it sucks that I have to draw my eyebrows on. When I wake up and don’t have my contacts in I really have to search for my eyes on my face without those eyebrows guiding me. They are kind of like the lights along the runway framing your eyes. It also stinks when midway through the day you look in the mirror and realize that you wiped off an eyebrow or part of one and wonder how long you’ve been walking around like that! People sometimes are polite enough to tell you that you have something stuck in your teeth but don’t know how to tell you that you are missing an eyebrow! I guess the only other negative is that the hair around your face hides the fat on your neck and chin and now that I have no hair and a short wig, the fat’s all exposed.

This has been a hot summer. I can usually take the heat but with chemo I have been indoors most of the summer with the air conditioning on. I was able to go away and spend a few days at the ocean. If I sat by the water’s edge where there was a breeze it was relaxing. This was the first sun I had been in all summer. I tend to tan easily and made especially sure to keep my head covered. After the first day at the beach when I took a shower and removed my head scarf I burst into laughter. It looked like I was wearing a white bathing cap!!!! My entire scalp was white…never having seen the sun…plus my hair growing back is white contrasted with my much tanned face.

Getting back to “God numbering the hairs on our head,” if you look at that verse in context it’s really saying that He cares about each of us and knows every detail of our lives.  Matthew 10:29-31 in The Message translation of the Bible says,”What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.”   He knows what each of us is going through and we matter to Him.  That’s why I can go through chemo (or really anything) in life.  I know that He knows everything about me and cares. He has my back.  I’d say that’s pretty reassuring and encouraging!