Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Not a bad hair day

Haircut

Today I had my first haircut in ten months! You might think I am crazy, but for me this is a major event and it means a lot to me. When I started chemotherapy in February, I was told that I would lose my hair. Losing the hair is dreadful and something I think most cancer patients fear. It should be mentioned that not all chemotherapies cause hair loss. It depends on the drugs, number of cycles and infusion time.

The old version of me

Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell, which is why many chemotherapy drugs cause complete hair loss. Maybe you have heard that you can use a cold cap to prevent or reduce hair loss from some chemotherapy drugs? Before, during and after the chemotherapy infusions, you wear a closely fitted cap, cooled by a chilled liquid, to slow the blood flow to your scalp. This way, chemotherapy drugs are less likely to have an effect on your hair. In my case, a cold cap was never an option, because of the type of chemo drugs I got.




Hair loss

My hair started falling off ten days after the first chemo treatment. I still remember the moment vividly, as I was taking a shower and putting my hand through my hair, and big chunks feel out. I was sure I would have big bald spots, but that was not the case. Instead of gradually seeing my hair falling off, I asked one of my daughters to shave it all off. It was a surrealistic feeling, seeing myself bald. It felt like a stab at my identity, as I could neither recognized myself nor felt like myself any longer.

The bald version of me
As the treatments progressed, I lost more and more body hair, and at the end I only had two eyelashes on one eye and one on the other. In Switzerland, all cancer patients are offered to try out a wig prior to chemo start, and the health insurance covers the cost. I tried out a wig, but I never wore it. At the beginning, after losing my hair, I used head scarves and hats all the time, but gradually I accepted the fact that I was bald.

The toughest thing with being bald was that it became so obvious for everybody I met, that I was ill and had cancer. I felt that I got the "pity look" from many people. I felt as if there was absolutely no reason to pity me. Cancer is cancer, and I have just tried to endure and to make the best out of it.



Return of hair

My hair started growing back about two months after my last chemotherapy. At first it was just a thin, fuzzy hair, but later real hair starting growing.

The new version of me
I have always had thin, light hair but my new hair is a lot thicker. I have also a slightly lighter color and curls! I know that this difference in hair quality most likely is temporarily but I will enjoy my thick, curly hair as long as I can! I have also realized that I have had my parting in the wrong direction for twenty years! 

4 comments:

Your comments are always welcome!