Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beware, Heather's Hair is Everywhere!

I realize this is the third post where I have mentioned hair, but this losing your hair thing is very interesting.  It is a totally new experience for me, and that is why I am blogging about it.  I know that if I were a reader who had not been through it, I would be very interested in knowing what the experience of losing one's hair was like.  Also, perhaps someone who is newly diagnosed with cancer will find this post and then know what to expect if they begin chemotherapy that has hair loss as a side effect.  So, here I go.

My hair began falling out on Friday, day 16 of my first chemotherapy treatment (AC).  My oncologist told me it would start falling out around two weeks following my first injection, so she was correct.  Initially, I just noticed several hairs laying around in places where I had just sat.  But, it has now progressed to where tons of hair easily falls out if I just touch my head.  Since Saturday, when the hair began falling out extremely easily, I have been so gentle and protective of my hair.  I don't touch it, because when I do, the hair collects onto my hand as if my hand is a magnet for the hair.  When I lean over, hair just falls onto whatever is below me.  Poor Abbey gets a little hair shower when I change her diaper.  Thank goodness my hair is extremely thick, or I would probably already by in one of my new head coverings.

It just falls out in chunks, like this.
I am really liking my new haircut, so I am trying to enjoy it as long as I can.  At the rate it is falling out though, I am guessing I will have two more days before I decide to just shave it all off.  We shall see though.   Right now, I am making it a fun game--I am trying to see how long I can keep my hair on my head before I have to shave it.  I wish there was some documented record of the longest duration of time from when the hair began falling out from chemo to when it was either completely gone or the person ended up shaving it.  The competitor in me wants to beat that record!  Today, Luke lovingly rubbed my head with his hands when I was putting his shoes on.  I scared him as I began making near-screaming sounds like a teenage girl going through a haunted house.  I immediately told him he didn't do anything wrong--I am just a little extra protective of my hair these days.  Silly mommy!

A week ago, prior to my hair falling out, I picked up a wig that I had ordered.  The hair was a long hair wig, as that is what I was used to at the time and thought I would want.  I ordered it prior to cutting my long hair.  So, when I picked it up and tried it on over my new short haircut, it looked funny to me.  I am already used to seeing myself in short hair.  I left the shop a little disappointed, but knew I could always get the wig cut and styled differently.  The following day, I had an appointment at the American Cancer Society (ACS) for a fitting for a free wig--yes, you read that correctly, I said a free wig.  In case you are unfamiliar with the cost of wigs, they run anywhere from $250-350 for a nice synthetic one, and $800 and up for a nice human hair wig.  So, this is a HUGE benefit.  Plus, with the disappointment from the wig I picked up the previous day, I was really excited to have another option. I knew I wanted to get something shorter.  I had a lot of fun at my appointment, and selected a wig surprisingly quickly.

Here is Abbey modeling my free wig.  I needs to be cut and styled a bit once I start wearing it.
I was hesitant to share a photo of me trying the free wig on, but here is a self-photo I snapped to send to Drew as I was trying them on at the ACS.  It is really blurry, but you can tell a little how it might look.  Honest opinions?

Since I am not a teenager and I am inexperienced at taking self-portraits, it is a terrible photo.   But, you get the idea at least.

That picture was taken on Thursday.  I haven't put either wig on since last week, because, again, I am very protective of what hair I have left on my head.  I am in hair preservation mode.   The wigs will not be placed onto my head until after the hair is gone.

I still can't believe the wig was free.  For those of you who are going through chemotherapy, or if you know someone who is, there are SO MANY wonderful organizations who offer free products or services for cancer patients.  These organizarions are a God-send.

  • While I was at the ACS trying on the wig, the representative there also signed me up for a $50 gas card (provided for traveling back and forth for treatments), she gave me a beautiful scarf for the head, a cotton turban for wearing around the house or at night, a port pillow that was handmade by a senior citizen volunteer (for use on a seatbelt, which rubs against the port in my chest).  After surgery, they also provide breast prostheses and special bras, free of charge.  
  • I also found an organization, "Good Wishes", which will provide cancer patients with a beautiful, free silk wrap.  
  • A friend ordered some hats and scarves for me through an organization called, "Heavenly Hats".  They also send beautiful headwear to patients going through cancer treatment.   
  • One of my good friends sent me a link yesterday for some organizations that offer free house cleaning services ("cleaning for cancer" and "cleaning for a reason") for patients going through chemotherapy.  There is an approval process and not all applicants are accepted, but I thought this was AWESOME!   
  • Yesterday, I attended a workshop that was offered through the organization, "Look Good Feel Better."   Look Good Feel Better holds group workshops that teach beauty techniques to female cancer patients to help them combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.  Everyone who knows me knows I love "free" anything.  Plus, the changes that are happening to my body from chemotherapy are, of course, new to me, so I know I have a lot to learn.  There were only two of us at the workshop yesterday, so I was able to meet and ask questions of another breast cancer patient who just finished her third round of the same chemo treatment that I am currently undergoing.  It was great to share experiences with each other.  And, look at all of the awesome free makeup I received:

Isn't this awesome!
See, going through cancer isn't ALL that bad!  I am having a lot of new experiences and getting some freebies along the way! 

1 comment:

  1. Love the hair (wigs). It does make you look a bit older than I am used to seeing you. You definitely look great in short hair. I so admire your personality in all of this. You keep me laughing and saying to myself, that's our Heather! You go girl. With your attitude, you can beat anything.