I am now in week 3 of my first chemo cycle and I am pleased to say that I have felt relatively well. My life has been fairly normal compared to weeks 1 and 2 in that I have been eating most of my usual meals (not with cheese loaded on to everything!) and I haven’t been as restricted with regard to visiting shops, etc. Having said that, I have still been running away like a mad woman from anyone who appears to have even a minor cold.
What has happened in the last few days is some changes with my hair. The first thing that was noticeable is that I didn’t need to go through my usual routine of epilating hair from my legs as there suddenly were none to be seen. Thank you, NHS for the free hair removal!
Less pleasant was the fact that I was running my fingers through the ends of my hair at the back of my head this morning and promptly gathered a tuft of long hair in my hands! As much as I knew this might happen around 2 weeks after chemo, I was still secretly hoping the cold cap had done its business and kept my hair securely attached to my scalp. As the day went on, it became clear that this was not the case. Each time an episode of tingling in my scalp would precede me being able to run my fingers through my hair and come away with a handful.
It started turning into a weird fascination, where I kept on creating piles of hair all over the place, leading to my husband telling me to stop pulling my hair out! The thing is, I didn’t need to pull – it was just coming away from the roots to the ends. Very strange indeed.
Suffice to say, I am not looking forward to my next hair wash as I suspect I might be blocking the drain! I’m not giving in yet though, as you wouldn’t actually notice any difference if you saw my hair right now. Maybe I can hang on to the rest of it. Only time will tell.
To be continued.
Update to the hairy story
It has been 5 days since my hair started to fall out. Here is what happened next. The day after I wrote this, my hair was still coming out at intermittent times but not as abundantly as it did on the first day. I started hoping that was the end of it. Then after 2 days, it was due a wash and this is what I was dreading as I was certain I would be parting company with the majority of my hair. However, the hair loss I experienced whilst showering was similar to the amount I used to lose when my hair was long, so there was no need to panic. Later on in the day, however, the hair was literally falling out of my head at regular intervals. Oh dear. At this rate, I would be needing that wig sooner rather than later. In fact, that’s exactly what I set out to do that day, by getting on the phone to the salon and ordering a few different styles to try.
Then followed another couple of days where my hair was coming out in quite big clumps at a time. I kept on gathering the hair and showing it to my husband, son and daughter (who was home from uni for a few days). Their reactions varied from telling me to stop pulling out my hair to telling me it was OK and not to worry. I could tell they found it quite hard to witness as much as I was finding it hard to deal with.
Today was my second hair wash after the falling out stage and by far the most amount of hair loss occurred as can be seen in the picture below. This has resulted in my hair feeling very thin and my scalp being visible in places. I am not sure this is a look I can endure for much longer. Not to mention the fact that it feels very vulnerable – I had no idea how much protection my hair offered until now. Nevertheless, I am not prepared to go for the head shave as many other people in my situation would be inclined to do at this stage.
So today my Mum and I went back to the salon where I had tried on some wigs 3 weeks ago. I had seen a couple of shorter styles online and I thought it wise to try them before making a decision. As it turned out, after trying on some quite nice and some not so nice styles (imagine poor quality fancy dress and you’ve got the picture) the one I favoured 3 weeks ago was the most like my own hair and therefore the winning choice. We will return later in the week to make the final decision.
In the meantime, I need to dig out those headscarves I invested in a couple of months ago.