Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Post-chemo Hair Update!

I debated on whether or not to write a post about my hair.  But, I think it could be encouraging to those who are undergoing chemotherapy and disappointed about hair loss.  So, here I go. 

When I first began chemotherapy, I heard that losing one's hair can be very difficult.  Honestly, what I was most afraid of was not the way I would look.  But rather, my initial fear was looking in the mirror daily at my bald head, which would act as a constant reminder of the cancer in my body (and the poison that was being injected to rid my body of the disease).  I have to say though--it actually was not as bad as I thought it would be.

I have really gotten used to my many head coverings.  When it is just our family around the house, I don't wear any head covering unless my head is cold.  When we have visitors, I just wear a hat or bandana around the house.  When I leave the house, I usually wear a wig.  The biggest reason I wear a wig while out and about is because I don't want to be "something for people to stare at and wonder about".  I mean, let's be real--if you saw a bald young woman walking around the grocery store or wherever, you would probably wonder what was wrong with her.  Not that it is wrong to wonder at all.  But, it would give people questions that they would not have answers to unless they would ask.  And, most people would be too embarrassed to ask me.  So, I figure I will just save everyone the wondering and wear a wig.   It definitely provides a sense of normalcy.

But, now my hair on my head is growing quite a bit.  It began growing rapidly after I stopped chemotherapy.  Actually, during the last 5 weeks or so of Taxol, it began growing, but at a slow rate.  Once I stopped chemo (2/1/13 was my last infusion), it really started sprouting and filling in.  The texture seems to be exactly the same as it was prior to chemo:  thick, wavy and course.  I am perfectly happy with this though.  Before I lost my hair, I desired hair that was opposite of mine: thinner and more fine.  I think a lot of us desire hair textures that are opposites of ours.  I had to straighten my hair with a flat iron to get it to seem thinner and to straighten it.  But, now that I have lost all of my hair, I actually really appreciate what God gave me.  I miss my old hair!  So, I am glad it seems to be coming in as just the same texture and thickness.

This blurry photo is from a couple of weeks ago.  The hair is growing crazy everywhere.
Unfortunately though, my eyelashes and eyebrows have gone through three rounds of hair loss since chemo stopped.  I thought it was so strange that I didn't lose them until it stopped, but apparently it is pretty common.  I think losing my eyelashes and eyebrows was more emotionally difficult than losing the hair on my head.  Perhaps it was because it came unexpectedly, or maybe because it was again a reminder of the poison in my body.  But also, I just didn't look like me.  (During this time though, I did learn some great makeup tricks for creating an illusion of eyebrows and eyelashes.)  On the day of surgery (2/27/13), all of my eyebrow hairs and eyelashes were completely gone.   Here is the great news though:  it has only been 4 weeks since my surgery and my eyebrows and eyelashes are back and growing rapidly!    

This is a terrible photo, but perhaps you can see how much my eyebrows and eyelashes have grown in just a couple of weeks.
Ok, so those photos are pretty embarrassing!  But, if I would have seen something like this when I first began losing my hair and eyebrows, I know it would have been encouraging to me.  So, that is the only reason I share!  :-)

I have a long way to go to get my hair back to the way it was prior to chemo:

July 2012 (I began chemo in Sept. 2012)
But, I will enjoy many new fun hairstyles on my journey back to long hair.  So, will I continue to where a wig in public?  Yes, until I can get to the point where I can get my first haircut, I will probably keep wearing a wig when I am out in public.  My hair is too short for a haircut, and it is growing in in a very jagged fashion right now.  Again, I will just save the public from wondering, "oh! What did she do to her hair?" 

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