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HAIR LOSS FROM CHEMO TREATMENT


Fun hat from a dear friend

As we all go through our various chemo treatments, we all react differently to the side effects of the chemicals we receive such as: Nausea/vomiting, fatigue, mouth ulcers, poor appetite, memory loss (chemo brain) and of course hair loss.

I knew I was going to loose my hair and did feel a little uncomfortable about this. I made an appointment to visit the Royal Hobart Hospital’s wig clinic and tried on a few wigs and turbans prior to my first treatment. I did find one wig I really liked even though it was a little big on me.

My wig

As I was having my first chemo treatment another patient explained to me about the hair shaving party. I thought what a great idea. She had mentioned some people freak out when they find clumps of hair on their pillow or on the shower floor or hairbrush.

Losing my crowning glory (28th August 2008)

I was fortunate that my two friends wanted to organize my “hair shaving” luncheon, after my first bout of chemo. My hubby came along to enjoy the lunch and record this special event. All hair was gone in two weeks.

When you loose your crowning glory (Hair) and of cause all your body hair you loose all self esteem. Actually I felt like I was a preteen again.

As I said before we are all different some of us may loose our hair quickly while others may take a few weeks.

Some of my hair locks

I did experience sensitivity, hot and cold, itchiness and small pimples after the loss of hair.

Personally for me I like to use natural remedies so I tried: cold water. bicarb soda.” Olive oil when my scalp felt dry all these treatments helped me.

I have a book called “The Wonders Of Baking Soda” by Author/Contributor: Amelie Laigneau a very good read.

Also, this web site is about “How Vinegar Helps Dry Itchy Skin”

http://www.ehow.com/way_5243805_vinegar-helps-dry-itchy-skin.html

There are many natural remedies out there for you to research and try. Again I emphasize we are all unique, what suits one may not suit all.

I booked into the “Look Good Feel Better Program”. What a wonderful day I had. My mother came along to support me. Firstly we were shown to a table laden with sandwiches and cakes and a large urn for coffee or tea. We were then shown to our seats where we were introduced to our make up lady who showed us ways to wear our makeup including our eyebrows. We were given a bag of makeup to take home along with info on how to apply the makeup.

After lunch we were introduced to a hairdresser who went on to explain how to wear our wigs, scarfs and turbans. I was chosen to show off the hats, scarfs etc. My mother cried out with shock when she saw my “bald head”. “Oh my God Rosie, you look like when you were a baby”. We all had a good laugh.

The hairdresser had noticed my wig was a little big and explained she could fix this problem. I made an appointment to see her. I was delighted with the results. She had sewn the inside of my wig together then placed it on my head and trimmed the wig to suit my face “A new me”.

New wig cut and felt hat made by a friend

Whilst there, we talked about when was the best time to trim the hair. She had mentioned once it starts to grow back after completion of chemo to come and see her. She also said that small trims help strengthen the hair and will look a lot neater.

I was so lucky to have found this hairdresser at the LGFB class.

Speak to your hairdresser for guidance on your hair care.

Whilst searching the web I had found many organizations selling wigs throughout Australia. However, this web site caught my attention check it out.

https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/womens-health/sex-and-love/a/14711057/free-wigs-for-cancer-patients/

Tasmanian’s weather can change very quickly in summer and winter. I always went to bed with a beanie on to keep my head warm. During the day when I was lounging about at home I would wear a turban. When I ventured out, on went the wig and hat and makeup.

I did have a few laughs with the wig. One was at a shopping complex. When I bought the wig I was also given a net stocking. This net stocking was to go over my ”bald head” then under the wig. All was good until at the shopping complex the net started to move, next moment there was my wig sitting up high on my head exposing my “bald head”. Embarrassing…Oh yeah.

The second experience was at a friend’s home. We had enjoyed a lovely dinner and now the six of us were watching a movie. I had been laughing when all of a sudden my wig flew off, another “bald head” experience.

This last one was at Port Arthur, I was with three friends and a couple of strangers and we were being driven around seeing the sights when all of a sudden a gust of wind had lifted my wig off my head and there it was flying in the air down the road. Red faced, I quickly asked the driver to stop so I could go and collect my wig. Image this a “bald headed” lady running down the road to retrieve her wig. From then on I never forgot to wear a hat.

I wrote a song called “ Crowning Baldies”

Prior to chemo my hair was wavy strawberry blonde with white strips of hair on the side of my face. Was my hair going to return the same pre-chemo?

As my hair slowly came back, it was like being reborn. My hair had came back extremely curly, they call this chemo curls. My hair colouring returned including the white hairs on the sides of my face. I was impressed.

Chemo curls

My Doctor and Friends, loved to rub my head they said it felt so soft.

As I watch TV my hubby would gentle rub my head it felt so good. I think he enjoyed it too!

It took about a year for me to have a lovely croft of hair. Hubby bought me a hair straightening wand. Felt so wonderful as he played hairdresser the result of straight hair made me feel so normal again.

Not only had my head of hair returned, the rest of my body hair was returning. My legs and arms became very hairy. I also noticed my face had this long white down. If you go back into my site I have written a blog on. "I thought I was turning into a werewolf" This will explain the facial hair.

Every cancer patient who has experienced chemo will have a different story to tell. Some will find their hair growth has taken less than six months, others up to a year. It may come back patchy, or a full head of hair, a different colour, straight or curly.

I felt a little sad when I washed my wig and placed it on the wig block. It had done its job so well.

The wig now sits on my dresser and reminds me of what I had been through and how I came out the other side like a chrysalis I was reborn to enjoy my life with my family and friends.

My faithful wig

I am now in my sixth year of remission. It seems like only yesterday when I had experienced being a “Crowning Baldie”.

Keep Well and Enjoy Life

Rosie:)