Monday, February 27, 2012

Hair Evacuation

How to handle when the hair on your head decides to leave because of chemo honestly it one of the toughest things to do early on in chemo treatments. Not all chemo makes hair fall out but it is a reality that you probably want to think about early on in treatment because it is emotional. Up to this point in my cancer journey my hair has evacuated my head twice.

June 28, 2010 I took a shower and while washing my very thick and curly hair I was brushing out gel and hair products when my brush kept filling up with hair. I usually maybe filled my brush half way up by the end of the shower and that was "normal." On the 28th I filled up my brush twice full and it would have kept coming but I stopped brushing I could not and would not deal with it that day, and at that moment I knew I had to take the bull by the horns and cut it and shave it because if I had woken up with it all on my pillow I knew my level of emotions could not handle calling my mother to come home and get me out of bed.

July 29, 2010 I had decided it was the day for it to come off. I had 10 inches of hair so I was able to donate hair to Pantene Good Lengths which was another reason I felt I needed to take the bull by the horn and cut it off because along with wanting to be in control of the loss I did not want my length to go to waste.

Here are the weekend before picture and the soon after pictures 
I am in the black before my best friend's wedding

A few days after the shave, I still had fuzz since it all hadn't fallen out
I will say I may have over reacted the first go around about my heavy shedding of hair by shaving it but honestly at that point I COULD NOT HANDLE THE EMOTIONS. I cried myself to sleep every night it seemed for a month dreading the possibility of my hair falling out on my pillow in mass one night and waking up to an empty house while my parents worked to find the shock and horror of a pillow covered and bed full of my hair. With ABVD(my first chemo regime) my hair grew back slowly but it continued to grow throughout treatments.

This was my hair 2 1/2 months after I shaved it
Now let me explain to you the second time my hair evacuated my head April, 2011. Once I started intense chemo which mandated 4 days in the hospital to receive I had been warned that my hair would fall it, it was just going to be a matter of when. This go around I decided to be passive and experience my hair falling out on its own and it was definitely an emotional roller coaster.

April 20, 2011 I left the hospital after my 2nd round of ICE chemo and my hair was definitely loose. I told my parents and my mother said to stop touching it because she didn't want it to fall out (this was a bad theory overall and I should have just shaved it but I didn't want to). April 22nd my parents left on a cruise and I had friends staying with me and keeping me company for the weekend until my brother came into town on April 24th to stay with me for the week and he was bringing his beard trimmers to take care of the hair. On April 23rd I took a shower and honestly it was worst shower of my life, my hair was so loose and apparently most had evacuated its roots by then that it was just ready to fall out. I stood in the shower and clump after clump just kept coming as I was trying to wash my hair. Thankfully I had a small plastic bag in my bathroom so I hopped out of the shower soaking wet to grab the bag and I saw myself in the mirror and broke down. I spent probably 30 minutes sitting in my shower with the water flowing and a comb filling the bag with hair and crying.  I then realized some hair was still getting down the drain so I grabbed two paper towels (we don't use hand towels for sanitary purposes) and covered the drain to try to lessen the pipe back up issues and surprisingly it worked. Again this was THE. WORST. SHOWER. EVER. My brother got to town the next afternoon and finished up with the little bit of hair that didn't come out in the shower and I was thankful when it was all gone because I felt so terrible about myself with a few chunks of hair left. It was just awful and so emotional and possibly even worse than the first hair loss. And if my hair falls out again on the chemo I start this week I really don't know how I will handle it a third time. **I also did not photo document this time period very well because of hospital time and what not**

My hair took almost 6 months to grow back after ICE chemo, a SCT, and 3 weeks of radiation. This just proves how all chemos and cancer treatments effect not only hair evacuation but hair growth. My hair has been growing faster though since October and in 4 months than it did for almost 10 after ABVD chemo so the growing back is always an interesting experience.

Hair loss is just terrible, it is so emotional. Honestly there is NO WAY to make hair loss easy I wish there was but it's difficult no matter what you do. My best advice is to deal with it how ever you want. If you want to wear wigs, wear wigs or if you want to wear a hat buy 20, if you want to flaunt your gorgeous bald head go for it, and if you want to wear scarves learn how to tie them. I will have a post on head coverings to follow this up because there are a wide varieties of things that you can do to cover your head but the key is do whatever makes you feel comfortable.


No comments:

Post a Comment